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Integrated Software Solution CCH Axcess™ Allows International CPA Firm with Multiple Offices to Operate as One

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Thomas St John Group needed a single integrated technology system in order to adopt the same processes across all offices and access client data and files from anywhere. The solution for this international firm so that staff members can work as one unified team was utilizing CCH Axcess, Wolters Kluwer’s cloud-based software solution. To learn more visit CCHGroup.com/Axcess today!

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Integrated Software Solution CCH Axcess™ Allows International CPA Firm with Multiple Offices to Operate as One

  1. 1. Tax & Accounting US Integrated Software Solution CCH Axcess™ Allows International CPA Firm with Multiple Offices to Operate as One Case Study: Thomas St John Group When you have to be right
  2. 2. Integrated Software Solution CCH Axcess™ Allows International CPA Firm with Multiple Offices to Operate as One2 Challenge: Thomas St John Group needed a single integrated technology system in order to adopt the same processes across all offices and access client data and files from anywhere. Solution: Staff members can work as one unified team because of the firm’s use of CCH Axcess, Wolters Kluwer’s cloud-based software solution. Many CPA firms choose to migrate to the cloud as part of a disaster recovery plan. But the Operations Managers at Thomas St John Group, an international tax, business management and accounting firm with offices in Los Angeles, London and Amsterdam, chose to move to the cloud in order to adopt a unified workflow and better serve their clients. “The firm’s main goal is to operate as one office and not three different companies. CCH Axcess enables us to operate in that way. That is invaluable to us and to our clients.” — Laura Skinner, Operations Manager, Thomas St John Group Because of the nature of the firm’s clients, which are mostly international entertainment individuals and businesses, the firm’s 50-plus staff members often work on the same accounts from more than one of its offices. The cloud-based CCH Axcess software makes that possible. “We explored many different options, and we chose CCH Axcess because it allows us to do everything we need to do so that each office can operate on the same system. Its look and feel is more user friendly than other platforms, and the functionality went above and beyond.” — Skinner The firm also chose CCH Axcess in order to become more efficient in its processes and provide global service better than any of its competitors. Andrew Stepp, the Operations Manager in the Los Angeles office, says that the firm has been able to accomplish all of these goals because of the integration of Wolters Kluwer’s software solutions. Andrew Stepp Operations Manager Thomas St John Group Los Angeles Laura Skinner Operations Manager Thomas St John Group London
  3. 3. Integrated Software Solution CCH Axcess™ Allows International CPA Firm with Multiple Offices to Operate as One 3 “CCH Axcess has put us ahead of our competitors. We can help any client from any office and answer client questions while on the go. In terms of productivity and efficiency, we have saved thousands of hours of time.” — Andrew Stepp, Operations Manager, Thomas St John Group Better Organization, Easier Tax Preparation, More Automation To meet its efficiency, operations and client service goals, the firm rolled out several of the modules within CCH Axcess in January 2012, including CCH Axcess™ Tax, CCH Axcess™ Document, CCH Axcess™ Practice and CCH Axcess™ Workstream. It then added CCH® ProSystem fx® Engagement in the fall of 2014, as well as CCH Axcess™ Portal, a secure portal for communicating with clients. The time savings, efficiency gains and workflow improvements have been huge. For instance, the firm can quickly organize files, prepare returns, review them, and deliver them to the IRS with CCH Axcess Tax, which is Wolters Kluwer’s cloud- based tax preparation and compliance module. CCH Axcess Tax works with CCH Axcess Document, Wolters Kluwer’s cloud-based document management solution, to further improve efficiency. Together, the software modules save the firm time by automating tasks, organizing information in the tax return and including a bookmarked PDF file with client source documents with each return. “We can turn over a project with all support documents, which is unique to Wolters Kluwer. That’s a huge time saver that’s hard to quantify.” — Stepp To further improve efficiency, the U.S. office uses CCH ProSystem fx Engagement to set up binders for every tax engagement. The software automatically populates the templates and links reports, saving the firm about two to three hours per report per quarter. Efficient Project Management and Time Tracking The firm uses CCH Axcess Workstream, to manage deliverables, and CCH Axcess Practice to easily track the workflow, time and billing on all client projects. “CCH Axcess Workstream helps us with the way we set up projects and the way work moves through our systems. Our client-facing team creates the project. Our production team goes into the drawer [electronic file folder in the cloud], picks up the projects, looks at the budget and due dates, and assigns it to the right department and people. It’s a very seamless process.” — Stepp
  4. 4. Integrated Software Solution CCH Axcess™ Allows International CPA Firm with Multiple Offices to Operate as One4 Being able to see where a project is in process is invaluable for staff members, and helps clients, too. Staff members can easily see where a project is in its steps toward completion and update clients as necessary. Another benefit to having the projects in CCH Axcess Workstream is that no work is lost if a staff member leaves or changes roles. For all of the above uses and more, CCH Axcess Workstream has become invaluable. “We know what worksteps a person was working on and don’t miss important pieces of client information.” — Stepp “We use Workstream for absolutely everything. It’s integral to what we do.” — Skinner Additionally, the firm uses CCH Axcess Practice for automatic time-tracking. Staff members start the Clocks function in the software module, which saves at least 10 minutes a day per staff member because staff does not have to manually calculate time spent on individual tasks. That really adds up. The two software solutions are especially helpful for knowing people’s workloads to determine when a team needs to add another staff member, Skinner adds. Secure File Transfers The firm uses CCH Axcess Portal to communicate with clients so that staff members do not have to mail out paperwork or send sensitive documents through email. That protects clients’ data and saves time for staff. It also results in better customer service. “It’s great to publish something immediately to the client. We love that. Clients love that.” — Skinner
  5. 5. Integrated Software Solution CCH Axcess™ Allows International CPA Firm with Multiple Offices to Operate as One 5 Major Time Savings Now and in the Future Not only does the integrated software allow the firm to work the way it needs to, but the efficiency the firm has gained is revolutionary compared to the systems used before the implementation of CCH Axcess. “The time savings is huge. I don’t have exact numbers, but it’s thousands and thousands of dollars of time. It’s days of time saved. It’s invaluable.” — Skinner Stepp and Skinner explain that the firm laid down the bones before the first rollouts but likes the way the modules are set up so that different components can be turned on later as needed. Over time, the firm has put each software module to even more use to gain ever more efficiencies. Putting the ‘Wow’ in the Customer Service Experience Skinner and Stepp explain that the entire integrated system puts the firm ahead of its competitors in terms of customer service. Being in the cloud is key. “If we have a client who is international (a lot are) and they are in Los Angeles, we can print the documents there that we need for a client meeting. Likewise, if a client is in the U.K. for a week, staff members there can print the documents they need. With the cloud, we don’t have hard copies sitting in one place.” — Stepp The firm uses the CCH Axcess™ app to access information on the go, which improves the firm’s ability to quickly respond to clients. For example, Skinner says, a client needed copies of documents that they didn’t have with them while out on tour. It was 10 p.m. in the evening and one of the firm’s Business Managers was able to access the documents via the mobile CCH Axcess app, without so much as turning on a computer. “That was a wow moment and demonstrated the huge value Wolters Kluwer has brought to the service we can provide to our clients.” — Skinner
  6. 6. Steps to a Successful Software Rollout 1. Plan ahead and do the necessary pre-work. “I worked on it [the client databases and workflow steps] for a year before it went live. We sat down and figured how we wanted the projects to work and set up the templates. We did that prep work ahead of time.” — Skinner 2. Make sure the data is good. “You’re only as good as the information that you put in to the system.” — Skinner 3. Rely on Wolters Kluwer’s Professional and Client Services to train staff members on the software modules. “It takes a while to get your head around how the integrated solution is meant to work together.” — Stepp 4. Work with staff members to continually improve workflow. “Be open to suggestions. When we talk to the staff, we hear how they’re using it [the software modules] and then can change the process and further improve the workflow.” — Stepp 5. Work with the Wolters Kluwer support team to continue to improve processes. “The Wolters Kluwer support team is very good at figuring things out. They can show us how to do something that we want to do, or find a workaround. It’s collaborative.” — Skinner Integrated Software Solution CCH Axcess™ Allows International CPA Firm with Multiple Offices to Operate as One6
  7. 7. When you have to be right 2/16 2016-0014-1 © 2016 CCH Incorporated and its affiliates. All rights reserved. Please visit CCHGroup.com/Axcess for more information. Contact information: Wolters Kluwer 2700 Lake Cook Road Riverwoods, IL 60015 United States 800-739-9998

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