How Jeffreys Henry LLP is leading the way through digital customer and employee experience
For more than 100 years, Jeffreys Henry LLP has provided accountancy, audit, tax and advisory services to individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses across the United Kingdom. The mid-tier firm is also a founding member of JHI (formerly Jeffreys Henry International), a global network of independent accountants, tax specialists and corporate advisers.
Although much has changed since they were established in 1880, they have always had a desire to innovate and empower their clients to achieve their ambitions.
“This idea of always wanting to progress is in our DNA,” says Joanna Alpe, Chief Digital Officer at Jeffreys Henry LLP. “We are always looking for ways to deliver better products and services to our customers and collaborate better as a team in order to make life easier for both clients and our people. To do this we strive to keep technology and innovation at the centre of the company, and this really is led from the top.”
“There must be a better way.”
The Jeffreys Henry LLP team pride themselves in the strong relationships and trust that they build with clients. But the value they place on innovation meant they were always looking to improve.
“We have a general desire to always be delivering excellent client service. . . There was nothing essentially wrong with how we developed our client relationships and built trust, but we felt like there was a bit of lag and friction in our current process,” says Joanna.
“We were doing very manual processes like sending multiple reminder emails asking clients for their information, quarterly VAT, or the required details for onboarding a new client. We were using email the slow way.”
Managing Partner, Justin Randall knew that they could do better.
“Justin is very technology-focused, so he was on the lookout for something that could help us. He just had this innate feeling that there must be a better way.”
A hub for it all
Justin came across Karbon at Accountex London in 2017. Amongst the features and benefits Karbon provided in its workstream collaboration hub, Justin saw the potential for his team to automate parts of their ‘client chase’.
Justin shortlisted Karbon, along with with several other options, as potential solutions for his team. He tasked Joanna with the job of deciding on and implementing what she determined to be the most suitable new tool.
“I looked very critically at what Karbon offered against the competitive landscape. After a thorough investigation into what Justin and the team wanted to achieve, and comparing those objectives with everything else in the market, it became clear that Karbon was the best option.”
While Karbon had the potential to automate a lot of the team’s client communication and the collection of information, Joanna also saw other ways that they could benefit.
“The big standout for me was seeing the collaboration and visibility potential. From my background in UX and technology business, I could see direct parallels with software developed for technology companies to manage teams to achieve laser pointed effectiveness. The idea of providing channel style communications for internal teams, the ability to comment on anything, being able to group emails around work items, and create the equivalent of Trello cards (task management software) on the Kanban view really impressed me. Karbon could be this hub for it all,” she says.
“I could instantly see some of the efficiencies that we could make through the implementation of Karbon. I knew this would bring our internal practices and processes up to a whole new level.”
Automating the low value
Prioritizing innovation has always kept Jeffreys Henry LLP ahead of the curve, and this comes through in the willingness across the team to adapt to new tools. In early 2018, Karbon began being systematically introduced across the business, with Joanna acting as the implementation champion.
“If you don’t have an internal champion, it’s hard to get full uptake on any new software,” she says. “This has been integral. The combination of an internal champion and close support from Karbon’s side has made all the difference in getting 100% of staff communicating and using Karbon every day.”
Initially, the internal benefit of automating client requests and reminders was clear, but they wanted to ensure they could uphold their high level of customer service.
“The client relationship is paramount for us, and the last thing we want is for our clients to feel like a number. We needed to maintain and uphold that real personal relationship that sets us apart, and still make efficiency gains,” Joanna says.
“The busy work and tasks that were taking up time are now automated, so we are freed up to prioritise maintaining that personal relationship through the high-value activities and parts of the service that make our clients feel secure, safe, well-guided. This is exactly what we should be focussing on."
“With Karbon, we can automate the repetitive, low-value tasks. Our clients are ultimately getting better service and better value because we are more focused on the activities that add the most value.”
The power of standardization
Being able to automate client collaboration is just one of the many benefits the Jeffreys Henry LLP team have felt.
The ability to document all their workflows and processes has had a big impact on their internal operations. Joanna refers to this as the power of standardization.
“We previously had every staff member doing the same thing a little differently, but by developing templates in Karbon we now have a base for all our work process,” she says. “Everyone might still want to do something in their own unique way, or need to customize it to suit a specific client or activity, but now they’re all starting off from the same reference point. This has been really powerful for us.”
The benefits are also being felt at the very top of the business, with senior management now able to see a much clearer view of where things stand at any given time.
“The visibility Karbon provides has been such a big win. Managers and Executives can get a clear birds-eye view of the work that is done across the business. For management, this has been something that has really moved the needle,” says Justin.
With the entire team now working and communicating in Karbon every day, Joanna says that the way the team collaborates has gone up to a whole new level—thanks largely to the ability to add comments anywhere.
“Karbon works really powerfully to bring communications clarity when people add comments directly in the platform where they will be most useful. If they’re talking about an email they can put a comment directly on the email, or if they’re discussing a task or a work item, that’s where it goes. Whoever the comment is for can get straight to the specific task, see what’s required, and action it immediately. We don’t waste time wading through emails, trying to interpret what we have just been asked to do,” says Joanna.
“The collaboration potential that Karbon provides us has been massive. Commenting alone has definitely eliminated a whole lot of one-line emails amongst the team.”
A more meaningful work experience
The Partners at Jeffreys Henry LLP place a high value on creating an enjoyable work experience for their staff.
“The value of enjoying where you work has been a massive push for us,” says Joanna. “Happy staff are good for business. It means higher staff retention, less churn, and ultimately, greater profit.”
“This involves asking what are the most frustrating tasks that you have to do, and finding ways to reduce or even eliminate these. It could be a futile email trail with another colleague to try and locate another document, or trying to track down a client to get the information you need.”
Joanna says that Karbon has been a “massive win” in that area.
Automating repetitive and low-value tasks, allowing staff to focus on the high-value tasks that provide a better service to clients
All common processes standardized across the business
A more enjoyable and meaningful work experience for all staff
About Jeffreys Henry LLP
Services: Accounting, Audit, Tax, Business Advisory
Location: London, United Kingdom
Firm Size: 51-250 Employees
Karbon User For: 4 Years, 9 Months
- Automating repetitive and low-value tasks, allowing staff to focus on the high-value tasks that provide a better service to clients
- All common processes standardized across the business
- A more enjoyable and meaningful work experience for all staff