An integrated approach: Understanding the value of using CaseWare for Audit and Accounts
Founded in 1926, Dains operates from six full service offices across the Midlands, providing a raft of audit, account, tax and advisory services to owner managed businesses.
With clients ranging from start-ups to companies with a £200 million turnover, Dains has enjoyed significant growth over the past ten years, quadrupling client numbers and expanding the team.
In addition, the firm has a strong position within the not-for-profit sector including both charities and Academies.
During this time, Dains – along with the accounting profession as a whole - has seen client expectations grow. When presenting statutory accounts to a Managing Director or audit committee, the firm needs to ensure the accounts look professional, in terms of layout, appearance and structure. As Andy Morris, Audit Partner, Dains, confirms
After the long audit and accounts production process, all a client sees is the set of statutory accounts alongside an audit memorandum – and the quality of those documents is a critical aspect of the quality of client service.
Dains has been using CaseWare for audit purposes since 2003 and, when Morris joined in 2007, he recommended moving to CaseWare for accounts production as well.
“Having used CaseWare before, as far as I was concerned it was a great product both in terms of its functionality and its ability to remain up to date with changing technical requirements, including legislation and accounting standards,” he confirms. “Plus, CaseWare’s presentation is excellent – from headings to structure and notes, CaseWare is really strong, especially in comparison to other accounts software packages."
CaseWare’s strength within the not-for-profit sector has also helped Dains to win new business. A few years ago, the firm had the opportunity to tender to what was then a registered social landlord (RSL) – an organisation that had previously been told its accounts could not be produced under the RSL SORP using CaseWare.
Mark Gurney, Senior Manager, Audit, Dains, insists, “We were confident and we were proven right: CaseWare could do it. “We won the client – and every year they refer back to the two weeks’ time we save them as a result of using CaseWare. While corporate accounts are fairly consistent, every set of charity accounts looks very different based on the diversity of activities and funds – but I have never found a charity that we cannot manage with CaseWare. It enables easy tailoring of the accounts –including adding graphs and imagery to trustees’ reports.”
The integration between the audit and accounts production software enabled Dains to streamline day to day processes. In addition, the firm has built on a standard CaseWare file with added schedules and documents to create a firm-wide audit template that ensures consistency of audit across the entire six office practice. Since then, the company’s use of CaseWare has evolved considerably – using SmartSync with the AuditAdvanced and AccountsAdvanced templates across corporates, LLPs, charities and Academies, which has proved to be a significant advantage.
“With the adoption of SmartSync the entire audit process is incredibly effective. The files are always live, enabling managers and audit team to co-ordinate irrespective of location, delivering both time savings and an improved service to clients.” Morris adds, “As a partner, SmartSync enables me to undertake a partner review in a timely fashion, which is very helpful. Plus it is incredibly easy to use, from the way the mappings work to the traceability of posted journals.
”The solution has also made staff lives easier - while Dains has provided remote access to its systems for many years to support both staff undertaking audits on client sites and flexible working strategies, the adoption of CaseWare SmartSync has eased the process.
"Staff no longer need to carry network switches and cables to get connected to our VPN; using SmartSync everyone has immediate access, with files running at optimal speed – all down to the beauty and magic of the cloud,”
Transition to new accounting standards
In common with every accounting practice and software development company, Dains has had to address the transition to new accounting standards. As Morris says, “The last couple of years have been the most challenging time for us as a profession to provide a continued quality service for our clients. It has been challenging for all software providers trying to introduce new platforms to support the new accounting standards and still ensure the end product looks as good.”
Throughout the past couple of years, CaseWare has been proactive in communicating with us. Regular communication has been supplemented when required by direct contact from senior management, including both managing director and sales director.
Morris says, “Dains really appreciated the openness and honesty from CaseWare throughout this challenging time. We knew what was happening, from both a development and support perspective, to enable the transition to FRS101 and 102.”
Dains is now optimistic as it enters the second year of FRS101 and 102 accounts that a number of efficiencies are beginning to emerge. As client templates are rolled forward, a lot of the detailed tailoring undertaken last year is in place, enabling the teams to get a number of productivity benefits.
“Whenever new accounting standards are introduced there is always a learning curve with interpretation of those standards. Over time, we will become more confident and best practice will emerge. I think the role that CaseWare can play in keeping up to date with those advancements and making sure the software reflects the best practice efficiencies and changes that will no doubt emerge over the next few years.”
In addition, Dains is also looking forward to exploring CaseWare’s new seminar based training sessions which will provide experienced users with an overview of new product features – as well as quirky functions that can be used to drive additional efficiencies and embrace new best practice.
Despite the current economic and political uncertainty, Dains’ clients continue to perform well, reinforcing the resilience of the owner-managed business market. As deadlines shorten and client expectations rise, CaseWare continues to play an important role for Dains, enabling rapid amendments and accounts finalisation. As Morris confirms,
“The move to the new standards has been difficult, but the continual communication from CaseWare and reassurance that a strong support team has been put in place to answer our questions quickly, has been critical in terms of our efficiencies and meeting client requirements.”
“One of Dains’ values is ‘working together to succeed’ and having a partner in CaseWare enabling us to operate efficiently is crucial.”
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