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How Smith + Salisbury, PLLC Increased Revenue and Profits without Adding Staff

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Challenge: Smith + Salisbury, PLLC needed a way to increase
revenue and reduce/eliminate unnecessary procedures
without adding staff.

Solution: Implementing CCH Axcess™ software, which
resulted in a 22 percent increase in revenue and a 29 percent
increase in profits for the firm from 2009 to 2014.

Published in: Business
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How Smith + Salisbury, PLLC Increased Revenue and Profits without Adding Staff

  1. 1. Challenge: Smith + Salisbury, PLLC needed a way to increase revenue and reduce/eliminate unnecessary procedures without adding staff. Solution: Implementing CCH Axcess™ software, which resulted in a 22 percent increase in revenue and a 29 percent increase in profits for the firm from 2009 to 2014. How Smith + Salisbury, PLLC Increased Revenue and Profits without Adding Staff Smith + Salisbury, PLLC, a tax and consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina, uses Wolters Kluwer technology to save time on tasks and maximize efficiency. With these efficiency gains, the firm has been able to grow revenue and the bottom line without adding staff. Since 2009, the firm has held steady at six employees (two partners, two CPAs and two support staff) but has increased the number of tax returns completed from 900 to 1,100, without adding more work hours. The firm has increased revenue by 22 percent since 2009. More impressive, the firm has increased its bottom line profits by 29 percent in that same time period. Our being able to grow the firm has been all about using efficiencies in the technology through Wolters Kluwer software. That 22 percent is a result of more revenue streams, not from charging more per hour or per return. — Christopher M. Salisbury, CPA/PFS, CFP, CSEP, Partner, Smith + Salisbury, PLLC Substantial Efficiencies Since 2009, the firm has implemented several software solutions from Wolters Kluwer. The firm started with CCH® ProSystem fx® Scan, then began the migration to the cloud, adding CCH Axcess™ Document and CCH Axcess™ Portal in 2013, followed by CCH Axcess™ Tax in 2014. CCH ProSystem fx Scan does some of the manual things where we had to organize workpapers ahead of time, streamlining the process. CCH ProSystem fx Scan with AutoFlow Technology eliminates even more manual tasks by extracting information from scanned documents and populating it into the tax software. The addition of CCH Axcess Document resulted in even more efficiencies. This moved us from a manualized file folder system where there’s a client’s folder and then folders within it, to using CCH Axcess Document to automatically put the file right where you want it. With those solutions working together, we took a lot of the electronic shuffling out of the process and eliminated a lot of pre- and post-prep from the tax return filing process. Salisbury explains that the time-savings adds up. Take that across 1,100 files. Even if it’s only five minutes per client for eliminating the import of tax information and the electronic shuffling around from folder to folder, that quickly adds up. Do the Math 5 minutes saved per return x 1,000 returns per year = 5,000 minutes saved (over 83 hours) 83 hours per year x $125 per hour (average blended rate) = $10,000+ in savings In 2013, the firm added CCH Axcess Portal, which allows firms to send, receive and store client and firm files quickly and securely. CCH Axcess Portal allowed the firm to create electronic tax organizers for clients instead of paper tax organizers. The firm’s annual costs of paper, folders and envelopes went down 60 percent; postage costs went down 40 percent. In just one year, that alone paid for the software just on the physical supplies and postage, not including the time-savings for our staff. The firm’s invoicing process is to publish the tax preparation invoice separately from the tax return but at the same time. The firm emails clients about what will be uploaded to CCH Axcess Portal as well as action items. The email’s final bullet point references the
  2. 2. All trademarks and copyrights are property of their respective owners. Join us on at CCHGroup.com/Social © 2015 CCH Incorporated and its affiliates. All rights reserved. invoice, which includes “prompt payment is appreciated.” It also includes a link to pay by credit card or through the firm’s website. The firm’s outstanding accounts receivables as of April 30, 2012 (before the firm started implementing CCH Axcess Portal) vs. April 30, 2015 has decreased by 12 percent. Our process is much quicker as far as turnaround time with returns getting done faster. All these pieces together increased billing and lowered AR results, and we can deliver returns and invoices through CCH Axcess Portal quickly. Prior to this past tax season, the firm added CCH Axcess Tax. With more CCH Axcess modules in place, the firm’s growth was even higher. Topline growth was 36 percent, and the bottom line was up 27 percent. Improved Customer Service and Looking Ahead Using Wolters Kluwer’s cloud-based solutions, staff can provide better customer service by being able to access the client’s tax information quickly. I can answer a question right there on the spot. The clients love that. And it’s one less phone call I have to make later. The firm recently implemented CCH Axcess™ Workstream, which helps firms manage deliverables, and will be adding CCH Axcess™ Practice in the fall of 2015, which tracks billable hours to streamline administrative tasks. By next year, I think we will have even more time efficiencies. Wolters Kluwer’s software is well thought out, with everything working together from one common client database. In summary, Salisbury notes that the numbers speak volumes. The numbers don’t lie. I think these growth rates would motivate anyone. Additionally, it removes the monotony of tasks, and the paper or digital shuffling, which improves satisfaction with work. Tips for Implementing Software Solutions 1. Have a strong champion at the partner or senior level, as well as core support champions to make the technology adoption work. This allowed us to figure out where we can change our process to get more efficiency benefits from the software, or where we can customize something in CCH Axcess Document and CCH Axcess Portal to match our process. You have to be willing to change your own process a bit, but software has a lot of customization built into it. You have to find the balance to hit the sweet spot for any given firm. 2. Stagger the software implementation so you can fine-tune and layer in the next thing. The software solutions build on each other. To integrate them all at once might result in the loss of some benefit of focusing on making each product work best for your firm. 3. Don’t overlook the hardware. If you have out-of-date systems, it’s going to make the software solutions clunky and hard to use. Whatever you think your Internet pipeline needs to be to the outside world, go larger than you anticipate. For More Information CCHGroup.com/Axcess 800-739-9998 9/15 2014-0418-9

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