Based in Barnsley, GBAC has been established for over 30 years and currently employs around 35 staff, offering accounting and business advice, tax planning, audit and payroll services.
GBAC have been using Wolters Kluwer software for almost six years. As the CCH Central suite has grown and developed, GBAC have looked for ways to exploit the new opportunities it provides. IT Manager, Rob Spedding, talks about the advantages of using this tightly integrated suite.
The first, most obvious benefit of an integrated software suite is that it gives us a single database for client and contact information. We don’t have to worry about data getting out of sync between different applications – two different addresses for the same client, for example.
With the CCH software suite, individual applications integrate through CCH Central, which provides access to each application but also gives us a practice-wide view for things like WIP and outstanding jobs.
The ‘home pages’ in CCH Central are highly configurable. I set people up initially with a home page that reflects their role – director, manager, junior etc. – but they’re able to personalise these themselves. Directors, for example, can get an instant snapshot of WIP and debt and can drill-down from their home page for more detail.”
The advantages of the integrated CCH Central suite don’t end there. Tech-savvy firms like GBAC are using the flexibility and power of CCH Central to capture and use data in completely new ways.
“Above and beyond a single, central database, we get all the advantages of synergy – tools like CCH Central Reporting and CCH Email Management work right across the suite so adding a single module gives us so much extra benefit.
The CCH Central database is allowing us to build what is, in effect, a CRM system. For example, a client waiting in our reception area is offered a drink and asks for tea, milk with one sugar. The staff record that information so the next time the client comes in they can say ‘Tea, milk with one sugar as usual, Mr Smith?’.
That might sound like a trivial example, but what about knowing how many children a client has and their ages? With that information, plus a note of their income, we can put together a highly targeted email or letter advising affected clients about changes to the Child Benefit regulations. It’s all about getting to know and understand clients so we can offer a more personalised service and strengthen relationships.
CCH Central is key to this. It’s very flexible and you can add your own fields to collect whatever information is important to you, but it also has the advantage of having been developed specifically for accounting practices, so you’re not starting with a completely blank canvas. When we first looked at integrated systems back in 2007, we found other databases were very rigid by comparison. That’s one of the reasons we chose Wolters Kluwer as a supplier.
Using CCH Email Management, we can use our client and contact data for marketing emails, newsletters, advice to clients and the like. For example, a few days ago we sent out a report on the Autumn Statement, highlighting items of interest to our clients.”
GBAC have been using Wolters Kluwer software for many years and now use it for most of their compliance and back office functions. “We have CCH Document Management and CCH Practice Management; CCH Accounts Production and CCH Personal Tax. All these run under CCH Central, together with CCH Email Management and CCH KPI Monitoring. We’ve also got CCH Audit Automation and we’re looking to go live with CCH Corporation Tax soon.”
GBAC are always looking for new ways to improve the efficiency of the practice through the use of Wolters Kluwer technology. “One of our major projects for the forthcoming twelve months is to make the practice as paper-free as possible, using CCH Document Management.
It’s never going to be as simple as flicking a switch and going digital overnight, but we have started down the road to a pure paperless system.