A case study of Gregory Stott & Associates, also known as CatsTax, Sydney, Australia
CatsTax is an Accounting firm providing accounting and tax services to SME and Micro Businesses in Sydney.
Going back 4-5 years I was using MYOB and they were the market leader. They rolled out an upgrade and my IT people said my server wouldn’t run on the new software – this meant I needed to spend a fortune on a new server and I didn’t want to do that.
I’d already seen CCH iFirm and I’d used Acclipse products before – I knew Mike Chisholm and seen him demonstrate it. The only thing missing was the cloud tax product. So, in the end, I switched to CCH iFirm to run my practice as a cloud-based product.
About 6 months later our file server went a bit bananas. At that point I decided to take out all my hardware and move to the cloud. I have always been an early adopter and I believe the cloud is the way to go.
I saw the impact and benefit of always updating IT to the latest version with a lesson learned from a client. I can now run my office from any laptop sitting anywhere and I only need a browser.
I am now hardware agnostic – MYOB and Accountants Office won’t work on a mac but that now doesn’t matter at all because it’s run from a browser.
I had been looking for a filing system for some years. At ATSA a few years ago, I saw the Nimbus CDM (Cloud Document Management). After a detailed review, the more I thought it was the right answer – our directory-based system sitting in the cloud.
Getting clients’ documents filed is a pain to do – getting them to sign stuff is clumsy as they have to download, print, sign, scan and upload back to us. Nimbus has digital document signing and it is a proper client filing system. This attracted me.
The upgrade was basically a start again from scratch. Our old server was going to keel over and we knew this 3-4 years ago.
We copied our old server database out into the cloud and we now leave this as a legacy system – if we need anything, we download, print, and save into Nimbus.
We chose a start date and made the switch. We actually implemented Nimbus in mid-July and backdated all our documents to the first of July.
We have been loading stuff up there ever since. Whatever a client brings us we put up there – all our copies of their client tax returns and assessments. The upload is now part of business as usual – it’s an extra job. We have had to get ourselves into the habit of putting stuff up there. Nimbus has given us first-class support on the implementation.
At ATSA Nimbus announced a handshake deal with CCH to get API access, without this it’s impossible to switch. I was their first CCH iFirm customer.
The biggest issue you have is getting the discipline to move stuff up into the cloud as you do it. The process is easy, open file, click the button, and boink it’s done.
Clients will all be using it for the first time – and this needs managing too. Nimbus has a standard welcome email to send to clients.
It’s all about getting the clients and the groups in CCH iFirm set up in the right way so that when they come through, you set up with the access you want, and the way you want, and understanding the way the two systems work so they load through properly.
Get someone to put in charge of the project. You need to get a proper understanding of how these things link together before you go ahead. It needs to be a process of slow-and-steady wins the race. A big bang isn’t going to work – it will create too much drama.
Just go and do it!