How Leppert Group saved time, increased productivity, and streamlined procedures
As a family-owned-and-operated accounting firm, Leppert Group understands the importance of building long-lasting relationships with their clients.
“When we started, we would just take anybody–we were that general accounting and tax shop,” says Joe Leppert, Director of Operations. “You could walk in off the street, and we’d take you in.”
Things have changed since then. Today, Leppert Group helps business owners achieve long-term growth and success.
But what hasn’t changed is their people-first mentality. “It’s a people business,” says Joe. “It all comes back to communication, being upfront and honest with our clients.”
Technology is the key
When asked to describe the values driving Leppert Group, Joe is quick to highlight the importance of transparency.
“Part of our mission statement is to reduce friction with our clients. That means no surprises–no procrastinating or hiding anything from our clients, even if it’s bad news,” Joe explains. “That’s a big thing in this industry, because we’re dealing with people’s finances and their livelihood.”
The key to putting this into practice? Technology. As the world has become increasingly tech-driven, so has Leppert Group. “No more shoeboxes [of receipts],” says Joe. “That’s not how we work anymore.”
And as a result, their clients have reaped the benefits . “We have a client who opened up his business with us and just thrived, he listens very well to what we advise, and uses the tech. He went from employee, to manager, to owning the business, to now branching off into other businesses.”
“Technology folds into communication, if you use it right.”
It’s all about the team
This tech-driven shift brought an increased focus on collaboration for Leppert Group. Gone are the days of “the old mentality, of one guy doing everything in a silo,” says Joe.
He describes excellent accountants as more than knowledgeable workers. They’re also team players, good communicators, and they “buy into the systems we’re using.”
But increased collaboration comes with its own set of challenges. For Leppert Group, one challenge was a lack of visibility across the board, especially with some team members working remotely. “You couldn’t see work statuses, emails, or comments,” explains Joe.
To address the growing need for collaboration and visibility, they began exploring various tech solutions. After a six-month search, they settled on Karbon.
Implementing Karbon has enabled the Leppert Group team to collaborate more efficiently, while individual team members maintain responsibility over their assigned tasks.
Karbon is their central hub, combining emails, discussions, tasks, and workflows into one single place where teams can collaborate in context.
“Instead of changing the assignee, pushing the due date, or leaving a general note, we use Karbon mentions to say, ‘Hey, can you give me input on this?’,” explains Joe.
“That speeds up the process more than anything. It’s the biggest time saver because employees can collaborate without having to redo everything.”
Collaborating in Karbon also means that when there are changes in team members, nothing is missed in the handover: “Team members who embrace Karbon can pick up the slack, without anything falling through the cracks.”
Increased productivity and profitability
Karbon has helped Leppert Group’s team get work done quicker. “Productivity is definitely up. We’re able to get work done in a more timely fashion because Karbon is more organized,” says Joe.
And staff are spending more time on work that matters. “If I see a team member has 40 hours booked and 27 are non-billable or internal, I’m going to red-flag that. But that’s not the case here.”
“Our team is booking eight hours a day, seven to seven-and-a-half are billable. They’re working on the work, not non-billable work.”
Complete visibility with the click of a button
Joe describes being able to see “the status of everything with the click of a button” as a key advantage of Karbon.
Timelines in Karbon have taken their client management to the next level–easy access to client details, correspondence, and work items for each client means that everyone knows what needs to be done and when, and who’s responsible.
“Karbon timestamps everything,” explains Joe. “Even if you change a due date or status, you can see when it was changed.”
Team members can be confident that nothing is missed, and no longer rely on memory or Post-it notes to keep track of work. “If you come back [to a work item] in 30 days and you don’t remember anything, you can go to the timeline [and see its status].”
This visibility has had a positive impact on Leppert Group and its leadership, freeing managers and employees to focus on the meaningful activities that strengthen client relationships.
And being able to do it all remotely with Karbon’s cloud-native technology is an added bonus.
Work from anywhere
Speaking of his father, Joe says, “He can be anywhere on his iPad, and click through work items instead of calling people. He can go to a timeline and view its status, throw in his two cents or post a note.”
This has saved time, and enabled managers to lead their teams more effectively, and allowed team members to stay on top of their workloads.
“Karbon enables the managers to make sure the work gets done. You can literally sit at home and do it.”
Streamlined onboarding and offboarding
With Karbon, Leppert Group has streamlined their client onboarding and offboarding processes. Purpose-built and customized templates suitable for “every situation you can think of” equips anyone at the firm to onboard a new client.
They use a similar process for offboarding. “Most of the time people just call and say, ‘I don’t need your services anymore,’ and then their stuff sits there and nobody cleans it up, and the database gets polluted. So, the offboarding checklist has been just as important for us.”
To build these processes, Joe took inspiration from his experience onboarding with Karbon, and tweaked Karbon’s templates to suit their firm.
“Karbon uses its own software to onboard, so I had homework to do. That’s what we want to give our clients. When I missed the homework, I got a reminder. I don’t know what else you could ask for as far as onboarding goes.”
Using Karbon for client onboarding has also enabled Leppert Group to determine whether potential clients feel the same way about technology as they do.
“If we have a prospect that comes in and there’s no client email, then I know they’re not a fit.”
Not just for clients
Joe has also been using Karbon to standardize internal policies and procedures. “Karbon is becoming a ‘ticketing’ system for our firm. We have a system where we write out policies and procedures for the firm—like what to do when you have a prospect on the phone.”
This has reduced the clutter of internal messages. “There’s no Teams/ Slack message, no sticky note—it’s all in Karbon. It’s our hub.”
Joe also takes advantage of Karbon’s extensive help and support when training staff.
“Karbon has a deep bench of support. If someone doesn’t know how to do something, they don’t have to send me a message,” explains Joe. “I can just copy and paste an article, or assign them the training checklists in Karbon or the help resources on the website.”
This has provided a strong foundation for staff to get to work with Leppert Group’s systems quickly, and has given them a scalable solution for future growth.
“I have a guy working for me who just joined, and I can’t sit with him and show him the ropes. So I’m using internal work templates, and tasks in Karbon,” says Joe.
“We have a lot of young staff accountants. When they run into a roadblock and they tag a partner with a question in Karbon, the partner can write out the answer. They don’t have to walk into their office, schedule an appointment, sit and watch them point to their computer screen.”
“So it’s been good for educating staff as well.”
“The onboarding, the follow-ups, the help and support resources, the feedback, the template library. Nothing compares to Karbon.”
Increased productivity, with more time spent on billable work
Saved time with more efficient collaboration processes
Streamlined onboarding and offboarding for clients
Reduced clutter of internal communication with standardized policies and procedures