Oct 29th 2013
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Since opening the doors of his Tampa, Florida, accounting and audit firm in 1985, Kevin Krueger, founder of Krueger & Associates, P.A., has been busy helping clients while keeping a close eye on technology to help grow his business. With every firm searching for ways to squeeze more productive minutes out of each day and more billable hours per week, Krueger discovered a path to greater efficiency with CCH Axcess - the Cloud-based, modular and integrated tax, audit, compliance, and complete firm management solution. CCH, part of Wolters Kluwer is a leading global provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services.
Krueger is joining professionals from across North America this week who are attending CCH Connections User Conference 2013 in Phoenix. In the following interview, Krueger provides background information about his firm's success and reveals key strategies on how he's leveraged the latest technology to boost his firm's efficiency and productivity to create a competitive advantage for his entire staff.
Krueger & Associates:
- Founded in 1985
- Based in Tampa, Fla.
- Four full-time and three part-time staff members
- Specializes in construction and real estate as well as BP oil spill claims
Krueger's firm provides audits, reviews, and compilations as well as tax preparation, payroll, and other services for businesses and individuals. The staff needs all the time it can save in order to meet client demands during busy tax seasons. This year, the firm is also helping clients prepare and file damage claims related to the BP oil spill.
Krueger has always handled the IT side of the business himself. He has consistently adopted new, world-class technologies that provide Krueger & Associates with a competitive edge over other firms. After implementing CCH Axcess solution modules, CCH Axcess Tax, CCH Axcess Document, CCH Axcess Workstream, CCH Axcess Practice, and CCH Axcess Portal, he has seen firsthand how each has helped his staff increase the amount of high-value work performed for clients.
Q: What was one of the immediate benefits of moving to CCH Axcess?
A: Right away it removed a significant IT maintenance burden. I used to spend about 15 percent of the time performing software updates, coming in to the office on nights and weekends to update the server and each individual PC when no one was using the system. CCH Axcess does not require firms to perform manual updates; they occur automatically.
It's nice not have to worry about any of that anymore. When an update comes out, it happens at night. CCH sends me an e-mail ahead of time. When I come in the next morning and open the system, it is ready to go. It takes literally no time out of my day, which is a huge advantage for me.
Q: Can you describe how it has improved workflow and integration, particularly benefits you've noticed for the firm and your clients?
A: There are so many to talk about. It has a common client database where there is a client profile and everything is centered within a client dashboard - that was really one of the things the office grabbed on to very quickly. I like only going to one place, and we are starting to put all kinds of notes in there and use that as our go-to dashboard for client passwords, QuickBooks, and filing sales tax reports for the state of Florida.
It just provides one central location where everyone in the office can go and see what is going on with a client. You can change phone numbers and change addresses. It is really nice to go to one place and make one change - you know that the next time you open that tax return, the change is going to be there.
Q: How has CCH Axcess boosted your efficiency? Any specific examples?
A: The synergy among the products, having everything in one spot where I can finish a tax return, electronically file it, publish it to Document, and then post it to the client's portal has made a huge difference.
I have many of the clients' bankers and bonding companies set up on portals. I have a separate folder in the clients' Document section. It is just labeled Banker's Documents. Every time I push a document there, the banker or the bonding company will get an e-mail alerting them that there is a file there. That has proven to be really invaluable because literally the second the client gets the document, the banker or bonding person has it as well. It keeps the client from having to forward it. It takes the client out of the mix.
I don't print anything anymore. I do not involve the post office anymore. For the most part, it has been a really nice transition for me to get people to use the portal. I really expected a lot more push back living here in Florida with many older residents not that familiar with using computers, but I simply have not gotten it.
Q: What's been the overall difference as far as turnaround time on client needs?
A: What I would say is that it has allowed me to service my clients more efficiently and faster. It allows me to integrate new clients much more quickly and easily than I have ever been able to do it in the past. I can set up a new client up in Document and Portal in only five minutes. They are ready to interact and exchange documents. That is just priceless in today's world.
Q: Focusing on the CCH Axcess Document module, can you explain how that solution alone has made a positive impact?
A: I really honestly would not know how to run my firm without it. We all live in it every day. Everybody accesses it. Every machine right now has Document open. It is constantly used, no matter what we are in or what we are doing. It is always open. The ability to right click on a file and publish something to Portal and know that the client's just gotten an e-mail that the file is there is tremendous.
This last season we were not allowed to file tax returns until March 5. Tax season was compressed already, and being able to rely on Document and other CCH Axcess solution modules took away a lot of headaches. Just like with Tax, Workstream, and Practice Advantage, Document continues with the automatic updates. What I also love is the assistance whenever I have a question for the CCH customer support team and the designers.
Q: How has the ability to get things done via mobile devices changed the way you and your staff get things done?
A: Five years ago, there was no possible way to update documents, get clients answers, and do many other things outside the office. I would have had to wait until the following Monday. With CCH Axcess, I can already have it done. It's off the desk. I do not have to worry about it. More importantly, you get them answers. That's really what clients are after.
It's important to try to answer a client question as quickly as possible and if I am watching the kids at the park, it is nice to be able to flip open the CCH Mobile app and open Document. I've even answered client questions at the ballpark watching Tampa Bay Rays baseball games, during weekend getaways, and even waiting in line at Disney's Magic Kingdom® Park. These brief moments of additional productivity really adds value for me, our staff, and for really impressing our clients.
Q: What advice would you offer peers who are considering CCH Axcess or some specific CCH Axcess modules to improve their firm's performance?
A: Once you use Tax, Document, Portal, Workstream, and Practice together and see the synergy that they create, you are not going to look back. I joke that if I pulled into my parking lot one day and someone said they took away all of my CCH Axcess products, I would probably get back in my truck and drive home.
About CCH Axcess
CCH Axcess is the industry's only Cloud-based modular tax preparation, compliance, and firm management solution built from the ground up to support today's accounting firms. With groundbreaking technology, tight tax workflow integration, common data, and an open platform, CCH Axcess alone offers firms the highest levels of integration, security confidence, and speed. CCH Axcess Cloud-based modules include CCH Axcess Tax, CCH Axcess Document, CCH Axcess Workstream, CCH Axcess Practice and CCH Axcess Portal.
Now you can take CCH Axcess anywhere with newly named and improved mobile versions for both Apple and Android devices.
To learn more about CCH Axcess, please contact a CCH sales representative at 1-800-PFX-9998 (1-800-739-9998) or visit CCHGroup.com/Axcess.
Follow what's happening this week at the 2013 CCH User Conference in Phoenix on Twitter: @CCH_UC, #CCHUC13, and on Facebook.