From XU Magazine, 
Issue 28

The whole package: Providing clients with an end-to-end cloud-based technology solution

How partnering with a field service management software can help enhance client business succes

Accounting and financial advice firm, Scrutton Bland specialises in advising clients on cloud technology solutions. Discover how partnering with leading field service management software, simPRO, has allowed Scrutton Bland to further this advice to create an end-to-end cloud technology solution for clients.
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Two years ago, simPRO Partner, Scrutton Bland implemented a Systems Advisory team to help its clients transition to cloud-based solutions. Now a main service of the firm, their Systems Advisory team supports clients as they transition to cloud-based accounting software and field service business management software. Through this service, Scrutton Bland is helping business owners and managers use cloud technology to make their business more efficient and generate better business insights. 

Scrutton Bland Head of Cloud, Ryan Percy said the transition to providing advisory service on systems technology came as a result of making tax digital. 

“That has grown into something where we have generated a year on year base around 70,000 additional fees. Purely on helping clients transition onto cloud-based technology,” he said. 

“We do that in a very bespoke way...We have an all encompassing service which we can assess businesses’ processes and advise them on what tech is best for them. 

“That has developed a much deeper relationship with our clients. We are now not only looking and working with them at a year end or at set periods throughout the year, there’s a lot more of a fluid conversation. It has helped us, and our clients, to drive our businesses forward.” 

Ryan says that while this advisory service is very popular for some clients, transitioning to cloud in both accounting and business management can be daunting for others.

“There are clients which are more timid when it comes to change or technology,” he said.  

“A lot of that is actually about change management... 

“There’s also ones [clients] that really value what we do.”

This new service has also prompted clients to consult with Scrutton Bland about other technical questions to ensure their processes continue to run smoothly. 

“From an overall point of view, it has been very positive,” he said. 

“And, the other side of it is we have this as a differentiator now.”

While they started by providing cloud accounting solutions to their clients, Scrutton Bland realised they could extend this service by recommending other software to help their clients succeed. 

If you’re thinking of recommending software, Ryan says finding the right complimentary software to fit your business expertise was key. 

“The best way to work is to first have your finance system as a core...then move into expense management and into reporting,” Ryan said. 

“...Once you’ve done that, niche into some industries or sectors, find a specific industry app that works really well and has a broad range and work with them. 

“That’s what we’ve done with simPRO.”

One customer that is utilising both cloud accounting and simPRO, thanks to simPRO Partner Scrutton Bland, is Fastrack Site Investigations. Fastrack is a site investigation company providing the highest quality service to their clients which include insurance companies, loss adjusters, structural engineers and local authorities. 

Like many businesses, Fastrack was growing rapidly and looking for support to drive business forward. Finance Director Louise Banks said changing accountants was the first step they took. 

“We needed somebody to help us drive that growth. Someone that could help with all the peripheral services and that’s where Scrutton Bland came in,” she said. 

It was on Scrutton Bland’s advice that Fastrack implemented Xero and shortly after that, simPRO. 

Before implementing simPRO, Fastrack was quite traditional in its processes. 

“We had everything on an excel spreadsheet, job management all run through excel, everything was very much paper-based - paper files everywhere,” Louise said. 

“More space was being taken up in the office by files than staff! And that led to quite a few issues with paperwork going missing.”

Fastrack were also facing issues with costly revisits to sites which was further emphasised by the company’s rapid growth. 

“Each job is a minimum of half a day’s work for two team members. So if we have to revisit those, it is a significant financial impact, and that was causing quite a lot of issues,” Louise said.  

“As we began to get busier, balls were certainly dropping left, right and centre.

“At one point, as our turnover and workload increased, we went from going from people being able to carry jobs in their heads - knowing where things were, to that just not being possible.

 “Staff were getting stressed, clients were calling up to ask for updates on their jobs. You couldn’t access the data particularly quickly which meant clients were hanging around on the phone or, we’d have to call them back. We didn’t have any oversight of what the workload was, there was no easy way of tracking diaries and where team members were or what their efficiency was.

“There were quite a few issues that we needed to address.”

But thanks to simPRO, and ongoing support from Scrutton Bland, Fastrack now has complete oversight of its workflow, leaving missing paperwork and chaos in the past. 

“We can now track every single job, every single visit,” Louise said. 

“From the moment it’s instructed through the site investigation process, through our laboratory and testing process out the other side, through invoicing to the client.

“And one of the other huge benefits, particularly having come through Covid, is that it is all cloud based.  

“There are other suppliers in our workspace who haven’t made it through the pandemic because they were not agile enough to adapt. The comments that we had back were that there were no hiccups. That we were able to immediately deal with home working because everything was in the cloud.”

Overall, how has Fastrack found the transition to simPRO? 

“Life is simpler,” Louise said. 

“There is less firefighting going on.”

The Scrutton Bland and Fastrack story is just one example of how partnering with simPRO can help accountants diversify their service offering and support clients to further their business success. Are you ready to strengthen your position in the industry? Sign up to the simPRO Partner Programme and join more than 1,000 simPRO Partners globally enhancing the value of their services.

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