HJS had been using IRIS software for many years, so what prompted you to consider moving?
The main issue we had was that IRIS wasn’t able to give us the management information we needed in order to run our practice efficiently. When we saw a demonstration of CCH Central we realised what we’d been missing.
The Wolters Kluwer software gives us much better visibility of all the key metrics we use for monitoring performance and managing the business. All this information is now right at our fingertips on the CCH Central home pages. I can see bills awaiting my approval, aged debt, WIP, top 10 debtors… it’s all right there on the screen and I can configure it and personalise it how I want. Directors and managers can also view information for their team, for a particular client or even for an individual member of staff.
The important difference is that CCH Central gives us instant access to real-time information, not just a static report on our performance last week or last month. This live information is what allows us to take control and manage the practice in a way that we really couldn’t do before. CCH Central really is fantastic for that.
Of course there was a learning curve when we installed the Wolters Kluwer software because we’d been using IRIS for a long time, and a certain amount of disruption in the conversion process, but I can honestly say that with all the extra management information we have now, the change was definitely worthwhile.
Were there any other reasons for moving to the CCH Central suite?
To take a strategic view of our business, we needed to be able to plan ahead. What will be happening a year, three years, five years from now? We didn’t feel that IRIS were putting in the investment they needed in order to keep improving their software so over many years there had been a lack of updates and added functionality to take the products forward.
We’re continually looking to innovate to make our practice more efficient and to improve the services we offer to our clients and we could tell that Wolters Kluwer shared this vision. They knew where they wanted to be and they were committed to making the investment that would get them there. We treat this as a long term partnership and we’re convinced that over 10 or 15 years our money is better spent with Wolters Kluwer than with any other software supplier. We believed they would be more likely to keep us at the forefront of technology in that timeframe and we’ve definitely experienced that already: in the last three years, we’ve seen enhancements and developments which have delivered measurable benefits to the firm.
Apart from CCH Central itself, what other software in the CCH Central suite stands out for you?
I particularly like CCH Document Management because it’s so easy to use. That’s very important in a document management system – you have to be able to find information quickly when you need it.
To encourage collaboration and information exchange with our clients we’ve just started implementing CCH Portal. Initially the roll-out is to our tax clients but we will be using it with our accounting clients in due course as part of a strategic vision of dealing with clients online more and more. That’s precisely the kind of long-term project for which we need a strategic partner like Wolters Kluwer rather than just a software supplier.