Taking on More Clients.
Jake Grimm, Director of Technology Summit CPA Group, a Division of Anders CPAs + Advisors
As Director of Technology, I implement and create best practices for tech delivery to our clients. I was instrumental in getting the structure and templates set up within Reach Reporting to support our team with financial dashboards and reports they provide their clients.
Backtracking 5 or 6 years ago, we had a pretty robust excel template that we were funneling data through that we would output as a PDF to clients. Our clients were starting to want the online touch and feel of their financial reporting. Being able to customize our template to specific client needs is so much FASTER and more user-friendly to do inside of Reach than anything else we’ve found.
Reach has definitely been a game changer for us from our dashboarding and reporting perspective. It’s my number 1 software that we have in our firm. If I had to pick my favorite one, it would be Reach in terms of what we are able to accomplish for our clients.
Our templated reports are broken down into 3 or 4 main areas. We start with the cash area of the business including the balance sheet and some of the metrics that focus on how much cash they have in the bank compared to their cash reserve goal making sure that they are in a good financial strength position. Second, we get into the income statement. We display net income metrics in visually pleasing dashboards like revenue trends, net income trends, and everything focusing against the forecast making sure that any major variances are being addressed and talked about. Then, we get into production metrics; typically non-financial metrics. We dive into things like billable hours, average bill rate, and utilization, so we can compare where they are at against their goals. At the end of the report, we have just your standard full detailed balance sheet and income statement.
From an accountant’s standpoint, we love the ease-of-use in Reach
Having an excel-based platform is like a native language for us. You need a developer background to use some of the other solutions we’ve tried. Visually, Reach is really sharp-looking and has aesthetically pleasing reports and dashboards. Accomplishing this is really challenging using other systems. We were looking for something that was easy to use so that my entire team could get in and create metrics and dashboards themselves without needing to rely on a developer to create a new metric for them. That is a huge plus with Reach!
When we have a new person come aboard, there is a little training needed to help them get familiar with the product, but it is minimal impact, especially compared with other platforms that would take intensive training to get comfortable. My process for training is having new team members look at the tutorial training videos on the Reach website as a starting point, and by the time they spend a couple of hours at most going through those they have a strong enough foundation that they can follow along and understand how to operate within the platform.
There is a low time investment for how to build out and use the platform which is very important and very unique compared to other reporting and dashboarding platforms that are out there.
Easy to see the return in value from a time perspective
100% it saves time compared to doing it through excel or some other solution. Quantifying it is a case-by-case situation. The more complex the data coming in, the more time we save for a client. When you are doing customizations and getting into layers of data the time-saving adds up very quickly. You can have a balance sheet and income statement in Reach in minutes, vs spending hours manually creating them. For someone who is hand keying data, the savings would be hours upon hours per report. Even for us before when we had an excel template where we would export data from QuickBooks and run it into an excel template with macros and BBA, I’d say we spent 2-3 hours on a financial report in excel, and now we can be done with our process in about 30 minutes.
We have had nothing but positive feedback from clients regarding the dashboards and reports created in Reach.
Most of our clients are very tech-forward and want live access to their dashboards. Especially in recent years, it’s very important for us to give next level, visually pleasing reports to clients which is very different from the traditional excel PDF or PDF from QuickBooks. A lot of our clients really focus on the dashboards. They log in and interact with the financial information to look at different time frames, departments, and a variety of other things to segment their performance and their forecast moving forward. The client portal in Reach allows these clients to get in and see the non-financial areas of the business that they could potentially be looking at weekly or more often based on their needs. It’s not just something they see on zoom when it’s presented once a month and never look at again. Clients are engaged and review their financial information.
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Reach sets us apart from our competitors
In our sales process, we show a sample of our financial reporting in Reach highlighting the capabilities, so Reach definitely sets us apart from other accounting and CFO firms they might be considering. From a financial presentation standpoint, using Reach shows how innovative and forward-thinking we are as accountants and shows in a really refined and clean product.