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Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

Case study – Streamlining office procedures and going paperless

In 2019 we were instructed by an organisation within the construction industry to assist in streamlining their office and administration processes and begin the transition from paper to online. The requirement for change was initially instigated as a result of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital plan, but the business also wanted to take the opportunity to review its current paper-based processes. As such, the business required a strategy and we agreed a phased project prioritising accounts and inbound sales.

The organisation selected a cloud based accountancy software and we sourced a local approved trainer to provide training for the team. This initially began with the bookkeeper and Managing Director. In the meantime, we provided an administrator to begin inputting all the data that needed to be uploaded to the new system. We agreed a strict process for uploading the paper-based data to the new accounts system and agreed all current data, such as sales invoices must only be produced or processed using the new system. It was crucial to ensure that all new data was strictly added to the new system and people did not attempt to utilise the ‘old systems’ in order to process the accounts. Whilst this did take some time, it was an exercise worth pursing to ensure all records were maintained in one place going forward.

Once training had been completed, and the current year was brought up to date, the Managing Director, bookkeeper, and accountant began the reconciliation to bring the online accounts up to date.

In the meantime, we also began looking at other paper-based systems in place. As a 40 year old business, all client records were all paper-based. We elected to use a cloud-based CRM system and began inputting all records, with scanned copies, to the new CRM. This freed up 10 filing cabinets of paper and records in one office space. In due course, we will move to the main office and current work in progress.

Whilst our colleague was in situ inputting data, she also undertook a range of general office and PA duties such as vetting calls and taking detailed messages, being the first point of contact for all visitors to the office, and assisting the directors with any other office administration tasks. This allowed the directors to focus on business management and planning.

The benefits identified thus far;

Benefits

• A compliant, real-time accounting system

• A robust record system where client details can be found immediately

• In time, both systems could be fully integrated and ‘talk’ to one another

• Initially freeing up 10 filing cabinets of office space

Praise

At a recent review with the MD, we discussed how he had been concerned about meeting the HMRC making tax digital deadlines, and how he would find the time to input all the data and undertake all the work, in addition to maintaining his current workload. Over the years he had not replaced office staff once they left, electing to undertake the work himself.

He also had reservations about the level of input and time required of him, even with support in place, to undertake the work. He was equally concerned about the costs that would be involved. However, he was surprised that once the process was agreed how little input was required of him, save for specific queries, and how we simply got on with the work in addition to providing extra support too. He, and other staff members also adapted much quicker than expected to the new process and commented on how much needed time and space was being saved, and how easy it was locate a file online rather than wading through a paper-based index and filing system.

They also enjoyed having our colleague, Jayne, join the team supporting the MD with additional PA duties such as fielding calls and greeting visitors, and organising appointments among other things. This enabled the MD to work on and in the business more effectively and share his time with his colleagues more freely.

When asked if they would recommend us, the MD said;

I would 100% recommend Treen Coward Associates because of what they helped us to achieve and ultimately future proof our business. Whilst we were daunted by the amount of work to be undertaken and ‘how’ we would do it, Treen Coward Associates supported us with a structured plan, a dedicated employee to undertake all the work, and connect us to approved trainers. We can now confidently move on with the next phase of our project utilising the right technology for us. At no time have I questioned the investment due to the value added to our business in terms of saving time and space.

Summary

We have thoroughly enjoyed working with this organisation, undertaking critical work to streamline processes and free up some much needed time and space. We look forward to the continued work with the existing paper-based items and moving to phase 2!

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash