Edwards Chartered Accountants

“Today’s clients expect us to do more – and more quickly, too – while keeping our fees down. Automating our processes at every stage adds to the bottom line by helping us to run an efficient, profitable business.”

Adrian Stevens, Director, Edwards Chartered Accountants

At Edwards Chartered Accountants a team of 40 professionals assists clients with audit, tax and accountancy compliance services, business advice, turnaround support and project management for business IT implementations. Based right at the core of the enterprising Midlands region, the practice has particular experience in working with technology companies, including university spin-outs, incubator funds and high-growth businesses backed by venture capital.

Running a streamlined practice

Expertise in supporting the growth ambitions of tech companies is matched by a commitment to innovation within the business itself, according to Director Adrian Stevens, “We’re forward-thinking in our approach to IT. As the pace of business quickens, today’s clients expect us to do more – and more quickly, too – while keeping our fees down. Automating our processes at every stage adds to the bottom line by helping us to run an efficient, profitable business.”

The practice has been using software for compliance since the early years of the century, when it adopted a predecessor of the CCH Central suite from Wolters Kluwer. “We’ve been along for the ride ever since,” says Adrian, “adding solutions for practice management, document management and audit automation. Our Wolters Kluwer account manager keeps us up to speed on anything in the pipeline that could help to further streamline our working practices.” He notes,

“While we generally train our users in-house, we don’t hesitate to book a Wolters Kluwer consultancy day for any major innovations or upgrades. These days have always proved very useful in showing us the tips, tricks and shortcuts that will save even more of our valuable time.”

Keeping all the team on the same page

Adrian values the consistency that Wolters Kluwer software brings to the business. Taking audit automation as an example, he explains, “Having standard file structures and templates brings consistency between assignments.”

CCH Document Management has been another major contributor to individual and team efficiency, in enabling the rapid search and retrieval of information in emails, softcopy documents, PDFs and scanned originals. “It delivers all the advantages of paperless working in reducing paper-related costs and saving precious minutes that would otherwise be spent hunting down documents.”

With resources at a premium in any practice, it’s essential to monitor how time is spent. Adrian says, “We used to use a stand-alone system to record time, but it was convoluted and burdensome, and the reporting was poor. The time-keeping functionality within CCH Practice Management allows staff to easily record their activities, while helping managers to monitor performance and assess the profitability of a job.”

Easy interaction with clients supports move to Making Tax Digital

The practice was an early adopter of CCH OneClick cloud tools for communicating and collaborating with clients. The team finds that clients are happy to access documents via a secure portal and sign them electronically. “We tend to get a prompt response from clients to electronic communications, simply because we’re making their lives easier.”

The practice is currently helping clients to make the switch to quarterly VAT reporting under Making Tax Digital. The ‘open integration’ between Wolters Kluwer software and SME bookkeeping systems will be key here in enabling the import of financial data from clients’ bookkeeping systems into the CCH Central suite. “It all comes together and, as no rekeying is necessary, it’s going to save us a lot of time when quarterly reporting comes into force,” says Adrian.

Key benefits for Edwards Chartered Accountants

  • Automating routine processes helps the team deliver service at a profit

  • A secure online portal accelerates client communications

  • Easy-to-use time-keeping supports monitoring of performance and profitability

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