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CASE STUDY

Industry Landscape

Accounting services in the large sense, encompass auditing and accounting records, preparing financial statements, preparing tax returns and bookkeeping. In conjunction with these services, industry companies may also offer business advice and assistance. The Accounting Services industry has displayed modest revenue growth over the past five years, due to positive business confidence and rising demand for industry-specific advisory services. In addition, the industry has expanded its value-added services by incorporating new technology such as data analytics and cloud-based accounting. Industry revenue is expected to increase at an annualized 0.4% over the five years through to reach $20.3 billion by 2020. Accountants are, and should be, positive about the future. It is an opportune time for innovative SME firms to lead the transition and show that accounting firms can be much more than tax agents.

The Client:

The Client is an accounting outsourcing and secretarial firm providing accounting, audit and business advisory expertise to clients with a particular focus on the middle market. They rank among the top ten Accounting firms in Australia.

The opportunity

SBS conducted a process study through a BREW workshop (Business Re-Engineering) to get a better understanding of the pain-points of the firm and defined the core objectives of the workshop. The findings revealed that the takeover transactional work would present the accounting firm with more time to focus on the core activities of the business such as client outreach and business development. Our “extended office” would also allow them to scale the business in that direction.

Challenges:

Low productivity -b> Many of the Client’s end customers were start-ups in the mining and exploration business and much of their valuable time was devoted to numerous repetitive tasks the required verification of compliance documents and certifications leading to low productivity

Time lags – The Client was spending extended man hours in preparing financials for key stakeholders and to fulfil legal compliance requirements. The number of accountants being scarce, the employees were unable to comply with timelines making it incredibly tedious to meet deadlines and handle the repetitive clerical work.

High talent acquisition costs – Hiring and retaining skilled accountants was a huge challenge

Highlight of the Solution

Seamless Process - Business Reengineering

Through our BREW workshop, we were successfully able to reduce the size of the process from 20 touch points to 10 touch points and thereby increase operational efficiency. They outsourced the tasks to SBS and productivity improved by:

  • Current state process mapping - We mapped out the current AP process during the workshop to identify areas of the process that could be removed to increase efficiency.
  • Gap analysis - We provided a detailed analysis to the client on areas that could be outsourced so that the employees could focus on more value added work in the company. We bucketed the different tasks into three categories - knowledge based, judgment based and rule based. This helped us identify and address any gaps in the existing process.
  • Future map processing - We helped mitigate the inefficiencies by removing mundane tasks that did not add value to the productivity chain. We aimed to make the operations of the firm next-level efficient.
  • Greater privacy and security Privacy and security is paramount for every client we work with. The data is stored only on the client server so there is no danger of any external access to the information. User identities and passwords are not visible to employees and further fortified by the Password Management Protocol module. Furthermore, all the information was stored on cloud accounting software, allowing it to be accessed from around the world.

Business Impact

  • SBS set a framework to create a better capacity plan and hence freed the Client’s time to focus on building relationships with clients.
  • Significant increase in Client Base –The Client increased their customer base from 45 clients to 65 clients.
  • Economics of outsourced vs in-house added efficiencies to the client’s customer base
  • Adherence to compliance timelines and lower hiring costs as they no longer needed to deploy full time CPAs for audit services.
  • Shift from a BPO to KPO mindset – Over a period of time, the client began leveraging SBS’ extensive knowledge and the team expertise in complex & non - transactional tasks such as compliance and audit work and SBS began supporting the client in their end-to-end activities. The Client also began seeking strategic value-add financial information from the team at SBS presenting opportunities for business synergies.