Who: HB&O Head Office: Coventry, UK Firm Size: 114 staff FYI Users Since: April, 2021
- HB&O offers a comprehensive range of accounting services to its loyal customers, and has been a proud member of DFK International for more than 6 years.
- Prior to using FYI, HB&O used server-based IRIS Open Docs for Document Management and a CRM system provided by one of the larger UK accountancy software providers.
- The firm adopted XPM and FYI at the same time, a powerful combination.
- The impact on HB&O has been huge. The XPM integration has made it easy to maintain a single source of client data, eliminated rekeying errors and improved data accuracy. They have vastly improved their time recording processes, and now have a document management solution that talks to their time recording and job workflow system.
A trusted partner for UK businesses
From its two UK offices in Leamington Spa and Coventry in the West Midlands of the UK, HB&O offers full accounting services including tax, auditing, compliance services, corporate finance and other related activities to its loyal customers. Sister company, HB&O Financial Services, also offers investment planning, inheritance tax advice, assistance with pensions, retirement, and mortgage advice, and more.
Running as HB&O since 2004 and before that for many years as two separate companies, DA Owen and Harrison Beale, HB&O has grown to become a trusted partner for many UK businesses, priding itself on its team who genuinely care about their clients, and offer a wide range of services. This has enabled HB&O to provide the same level of services as larger firms, but with a less ‘corporate’ approach.
HB&O has been a proud member of DFK International for over 6 years. Recently ranked as the sixth largest association in the world, DFK International’s 229 member firms share knowledge, ideas and best practice to support their clients doing business internationally. This includes ensuring members are kept at the forefront of the latest technology.
Prior to using FYI, HB&O used server-based IRIS Open Docs for Document Management and a CRM system provided by one of the larger UK accountancy software providers. Clunky and very inefficient, the software was not cloud-based and wasn’t compatible with the firm’s other software solutions. This lack of integration caused numerous issues with data management and data not being up to date
The need for change
“The team needing to work remotely as a result of COVID was the real driver to change our systems.
We knew there were better ways of working but we believed the transition was too big a job. COVID happened and that was the push for us to move everything into the cloud,” said Mark Ashfield, Managing Director at HB&O.
“There was a general frustration at the lack of flexibility of the existing system and seeing other, more tech-savvy, practices operating much more flexibly and efficiently meant we needed to change and improve.
“Probably our biggest fear was the efficient transfer of such a large amount of data from our legacy systems to FYI, in a format that would make the transition simple for the team and have the new system as familiar as possible. The onboarding team at FYI were extremely helpful in overcoming this challenge. Our second hurdle was dealing with the resistance from the team themselves, a lot of whom had worked with the previous systems all their working lives. But again, the training and support from both FYI and our own IT project consultant, Jeremy Hyman & Associates, was invaluable for the transition.
The juice was well worth the squeeze
“FYI took time to understand our needs and the product development trajectory for the business as a whole seemed to be very exciting. We could see this lasting us into the future. FYI offered a product that met our requirements, but it was the automation features that really stood it out from the competition.”
Mark continues, “We adopted both Xero Practice Manager and FYI at the same time because it’s a powerful combination. We needed a central database for our client records and a document management solution that would interact with the CRM system. All had to be cloud based, easy to use, and have open API’s for further development so we could future-proof our business.
The seamless integration between XPM and FYI means firms can maintain a single source of truth for their client data and get instant access to emails, documents, recent interactions and outstanding tasks, all via a dedicated workspace for each client, and all is shared across the team.
Teams have the capacity to view documents, tasks and jobs by client or client group, record meetings or phone calls, file notes quickly and easily, and have instant access to current information with documents automatically captured from external sources and auto-filed to the client file.
Naturally this makes collaboration far easier and each team more productive.
FYI was built around a deep integration with XPM and its open architecture means firms can connect to a growing number of best-of-breed specialist apps in the cloud-based ecosystem for future growth.
“The impact on HB&O has been huge. The XPM synchronisation has improved data accuracy and eliminated rekeying errors by maintaining a single source of client data. HB&O’s clients, client groups, jobs, and team information were all imported into FYI from Xero Practice Manager and are continuously synchronised,” Mark said.
Improved time recording capabilities means any document in FYI can be selected to create a timesheet record. This includes emails, documents and client interactions which can all be chosen to make time recording easy. Relevant information is pre-populated, meaning HB&O’s team can complete their timesheets in just a few clicks. And everything is synced back into Xero Practice Manager.
Xero Practice Manager Jobs can be managed without having to leave FYI. Teams can access Jobs workspaces in FYI to find key XPM data alongside every email, document and task related to the job.
The Jobs List lets you view estimated versus actual time spent on each job, and to add comments to share with your team. And the Jobs Board makes it easy to visualise work, and to update job states with a simple drag and drop, with any changes syncing back to XPM.
“The sync to XPM is great. We now have a document management system that talks to our time recording system and our job workflow system. We have only just scratched the surface of what the automations can do; we intend to fully utilise these features in the period to come,” Mark added.
“Other benefits have included raising invoices and issuing these to clients via the sync of FYI, Xero and XPM all working together. This has vastly improved this process for us. Filing our timesheets used to be a real chore, but it’s now far more pleasurable and flexible than it was. This has improved the accuracy of the time recorded and made the process more efficient so we can spend time doing other work.
“FYI is a gem of a product. Its sync to Xero Practice Manager makes it a no-brainer for practices already operating on XPM. The efficiencies gained by having integrated systems are countless and the product is constantly evolving and developing which excites us all at HB&O. If a firm is looking to improve efficiency in an ever-changing industry, and to work with a software provider that cares and listens to their needs, then FYI is for you.”