As one of the 25 largest independent accounting and business consulting firms in the United States, Armanino understands the importance of innovation and growth. In the Business Management department, they are also well aware of the challenges that can result from scaling and managing dispersed teams.
Location: San Ramon, CA, United States
Industry: Audit, Tax, Business Management & Consulting
Years of operation: 40+
Number of employees: 1200 employees across 10 offices
Top 25 largest independent accounting & business consulting firms in the U.S.
Karbon customer since: 2018
To overcome these challenges, they are focusing their efforts on continually finding the best, innovative solutions. They are never satisfied with the status quo and look at new technology solutions and specialized expertise to advance their goals and those of their clients.
For years, Armanino had been searching for a workstream collaboration tool that was right for them. They wanted a system that would enable seamless collaboration and transfer of knowledge, drive standard processes but be flexible enough to adapt to the myriad projects their business carries out.
Staff members used different methods to track individual tasks and work — Microsoft Excel, Outlook Calendar or Tasks for reminders and ad-hoc items, Evernote. In a teamwork environment, the challenge with this was to effectively work together and share information.
“I felt as professional service providers we spent too much time managing our emails and double-checking our inbox to ensure we dealt with important matters in a timely manner,” says Catherine Catherine, Principal at Armanino, who oversees the Business Management technology initiatives.
“We knew that to stay on top of our game, we needed a system that would allow collaboration and visibility across team members.”
They knew that to overcome these core challenges, they needed a system that allowed them to work together and replicate their most common processes, while also being adaptable to their unique projects.
Karbon’s centralized workstream collaboration platform allowed Armanino to combine their email, discussions, tasks, and workflows, uniting their team with one single place to work together.
Karbon’s deep integration with Office 365 brought their email out of silos and into a shared team workflow, giving unforeseen visibility to discuss, assign and action.
Rather than working on multiple systems with the possibility of working on segmented information, Karbon transforms email into actionable tasks, providing context to work and communication, something critical to the success of modern, geographically dispersed organizations such as Armanino.
In mid-2017, Karbon was implemented into Armanino’s Business Management group, initially with 5 testers, before growing into 52 users, which represents about 75% of the department. A personalized 7-step implementation plan was developed by Karbon’s onboarding team — including assisted data migration, one-on-one champion training, and ongoing team sessions — to ensure the entire team could transition quickly.
“The Karbon team were awesome and very supportive. They are generous with their time as they understand that having great support made all the difference in the success of implementing this program,” says Catherine.
Karbon has been a great practice management tool for Armanino Business Management and Family Office Services teams. Managers are able to see who is working on what and how their projects are progressing, or hone in to see the status of specific tasks and emails they have assigned to others.
Renee Flekman, a Manager in the Business Management department, says “Karbon gives me the ability to oversee the whole department’s tasks to make sure of timely completion. In addition, it gives me the ability to move workload around easily. If a staff member leaves or comes onto a new account, the entire workload of tasks can be assigned to that person.”
Business Development activities can be tracked in a work item where emails between parties, including other colleagues’ emails with the prospects, and the progress can be seen by the entire team. This has proven invaluable for their prospecting activities.
Privacy level can be customized so that each individual has their own view over what they need to work on today and what’s coming up next. Best practices are documented as templates to allow knowledge sharing and can be delegated to allow effective substitution.
“Karbon is so versatile and fluid. It gives users the freedom to customize it to suit the way they work.”
Rubina Hyder, System and Processes Coordinator of the Business Management & Family Office Services, says that “the ability to view tasks and work items that have been assigned to, or created by me, is helpful because I am able to view this work in a way that makes sense to my working style. I can toggle on different filters and display options.”
Karbon has allowed effective collaboration between the teams in Armanino Business Management department, with the focus on effective email management, team collaboration, visibility, and efficiency.
“Being able to tag my colleagues on a task or an email with a status update or note on the progress of that work is great because it keeps everyone on the same page, while being able to collaborate in real time,” Rubina added.
Karbon supports quicker actioning and assigning of email, and an overall reduction in emails that are sent and received, resulting in an estimated time saving of 20% in email management, or about 2 hours per user per week.
Team members learn new processes faster by using shared templates. Substitution or delegation while staff are on vacation is also made easier using Karbon.
“Karbon gives us greater visibility and accountability. We can now see who owns something and what conversations are being had,” Catherine further stated.
But the most important difference that Karbon has made to their work is something that cannot be measured — the peace of mind that actionable items are being dealt with timely.
“Karbon offers a lot of great features, but I think the number one thing Karbon gives me is the assurance that I am on top of my game and focusing my time on providing value to the clients.”
“With Karbon, as an email comes in, I can act on it, assign to others, and plan ahead. As a result, it enables me to be a much better service provider,” says Catherine.
Greater accountability and visibility across the team
A single, central location for best practices and processes
Email management time decreased by 20%