Accountancy firm adopts cloud computer technology
Connolly Accountants is now providing clients with access to their accounts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to two Milton Keynes-based cloud computing specialists, Web Office Systems and Celaton.
Milton Keynes-based Connolly Accountants provides over 900 clients with the usual accountancy services including audit, business advice, tax advice and planning. And it recognises the added value that IT can make to both its own business and its clients’.
Declan Connolly, managing partner, explained, “I have been running this business for six years and before that I spent 26 years in transport and logistics. In that industry there isn’t a day goes by when you aren’t thinking about how technology can make you a better business. Since I started Connolly Accountants I’ve put in place that same approach and rigour.”
Web-based IT systems or ‘cloud’ as they have come to be known allow access from any device with an internet connection, so clients can use the system without the need for locally hosted software or special hardware.
One of Connolly’s early initiatives was to put in place a cloud-based FuseMetrix online accountancy system, developed for them by local firm Web Office Systems Ltd. Connolly markets the service under the brand name ‘1ne’ and being cloud-based it allows clients full access to their accounts at any time.
However, there was one area of the business that Connolly had yet to improve by technology – the handling and processing of invoices. Declan Connolly explained, “Part of our service is to handle our clients’ invoices, both accounts payable and accounts receivable. They would come in to us by post or by hand, we then used to manually check and enter them into the clients’ accounting system, store them somewhere or send them back to the client.”
Connolly Accountants can handle over 40,000 invoices and receipts a year for their clients – an enormous task. “We had at least four people who were dedicated to doing this,” said Declan. “It was hugely labour intensive. You also have to remember that these invoices can come in all shapes and sizes from standard invoices right down to those odd shaped till receipts you get from retailers.”
Declan decided to automate the processing of invoices using a system developed by Celaton – inSTREAM – a cloud-based system that seamlessly integrates with the FuseMetrix finance module.
The new system has reduced the time spent handling invoices. With the old manual system invoice details had to be keyed in by the operator; now they are immediately scanned, automatically identified, key data extracted and electronically filed, saving hours of time. Processing speed has increased from 40 to 300 invoices an hour, and retrieval is now almost instantaneous.
Apart from the increased processing speed the main benefits for Declan’s team is that clients now have the same level of access to invoices as they do, and because scanned images of every invoice are held electronically storing hard copies is no longer necessary.