The season can be a good time to get better organized. A multidisciplinary and innovative tax firm, with Julien Tokarz, expert accountant partner of Emargence (100 staff in Paris) and Beeye user, is a case in point.
The firm and its organization
"We have more than just accounts between us", announces the homepage of Emargence, a consulting and accounting firm of a hundred people on the Avenue de Wagram, in Paris. The group provides a wide range of services, in fact. Accounting, social and HR expertise, auditing and statutory auditing, legal and asset strategy, administration, insurance brokerage, etc. -- to which an activity focused on the use of data has been added recently.
Its clientele is typical of the region, stemming from the tertiary sector, real estate, and some industry. However, Emargence has developed an important activity in the arts, culture and media.
Julien Tokarz is a partner, chartered accountant and auditor, former president of ECF [Association of Accountants and Auditors] Ile-de-France. He heads the accounting and auditing division, assisted by three managers and their teams (55 people in all). He describes his role as follows: "My role is to make life easier for managers. We give them a fair amount of autonomy to organize the work of their teams.” Human resources are his first challenge.
How to regain production capacity
"Like many others, our firm suffers from a dire shortage of human resources, due to the still mediocre image of our profession among young graduates. We are working on our appeal to candidates and on retaining our teams. We organize one thematic workshop per week. We have also just moved to a new building, which offers our employees access to a sports facility and a 300 m2 garden. To complete our resources, we subcontract to young, recently established firms, and occasionally resort to offshore work. But despite our efforts, our growth remains constrained by human resources.”
Planning, a key tool in urgent need of reform
Emargence already had a planning tool to manage its work organization. But it was not fully satisfied. "The ACD Dia tool was working, but it had turned out to be rather rigid and not very intuitive (no click and drop, for example) for employees. As for me, I had trouble getting analysis tables - I had to export them to Excel, and the quality of the data could be affected.”
Managers had difficulty knowing the real availability of their teams, and the staff wanted a better tool to monitor their work schedule, which would be easy to use and would remind them of their deadlines at the right time. Not a simple timesheet reporting tool, but a dynamic solution that would allow them to organize their week, individually and collaboratively. That's how we got interested in Beeye."
Implementing Beeye during tax season: a funny idea?
Every year, the tax season apparently deprives accounting firms of the weekends in May. Only 25% of the French firms indicate that they have automated all the customer-supplier data entry. And there is still the work of revision, the legal aspects and returns... all concentrated on the period. Should we avoid touching anything until the beginning of June?
"Not at all," counters Julien Tokarz. “Quite the contrary, the tax season is a very good time to test a new organizational mode, to see the results that can be expected, and to learn from the experience gained. The feedback from the field enables us to go much further than the training sessions. In this way, we will be able to deploy the system to all users before the summer and have it up and running by the start of the new school year. Since the beginning of the year, Beeye has been tested by one of the managers of Emergence's accounting practice. We have divided the assignments into blocks of tasks, whereas until now we managed time by file. This changes habits, but the benefits are immediate: a better calibration of the time to be spent, and better planning for peak periods. The implementation did not pose any difficulties. The pilot manager took part in the training sessions and immediately noticed the intuitive dimension of the tool. The setting (integrating customers, employees, hourly rates, etc.) was greatly facilitated by the Beeye tool - this workgroup manages nearly 2000 customers!”
Benefits in three dimensions
The benefits of Beeye can be seen at all levels, explains Julien Tokarz:
- For the staff: a better vision of their daily agenda and their workload.
- For the managers: A better vision that removes stress. Anticipate the proper handling of deadlines (VAT, corporate tax, etc.). Elements for engaging in dialogue with the assignment leaders. The ability to react immediately to any unforeseen event by reallocating resources, including between teams.
- For the partners: Visibility on the current and foreseeable profitability (landing) of the files. Follow-up on the progress of assignments and the difficulties of associates. Justifications of additional billing on cases.
- For the customers: "We apply a flat rate a new customer, but the amount is insufficient in two out of three cases!" says the accountant. With Beeye, the prices of assignments are calculated better, based on experience and on intelligent forecasts. They can be justified task by task, for example to help a client understand that it is in his or her interest to provide their documents on time...
The next steps
" We will deploy Beeye at the end of the fiscal year, starting with all employees of our accounting division. This is our core business, and we preferred to start with the most complex. We will move to the social segment, and finally to the consultants. We will have enough data from the feedback from the test phase to create dashboard models, adapted to each function: employee, assignment leader, manager, partner.
At the same time, the firm continues to develop its wealth engineering and transfer organization services, in which Julien Tokarz has become a specialist and which he promotes actively.