Garbutt + Elliott LLP brings data to life with visualisation through Business Intelligence and CCH Central
Data has become powerful and meaningful, and we can really get under the skin of the business.
Forward-looking in applying technology to solve business challenges, Garbutt + Elliott was an early adopter of Business Insights integrated with CCH Central. The firm had been looking for a more powerful way to improve internal reporting and gain greater transparency of the data generated in the course of business.
When working with static tables of data, it is difficult to pick up on trends or quickly identify emerging issues and opportunities, as Partner Christian Hall explains: “Accountants are trained to look backwards, but at Garbutt + Elliott we want to extract mindful insight from our data to inform decision-making and drive change, not just review a set of historical numbers.”
Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK worked with Garbutt + Elliott to integrate Business Intelligence tools with the data in CCH Central. Christian comments: “With their deep knowledge of the software, it made sense to seek assistance from Wolters Kluwer to streamline the integration process.” Wolters Kluwer created a set of dashboards to aggregate data from all parts of CCH Central into one place.
Garbutt + Elliott now has the business intelligence tools to support daily decision-making, drawing on regularly refreshed, integrated data.
The effort traditionally involved in pulling together reports means data is usually out of date as soon as it is collated, especially if it is integrated from different sources. In contrast, data coming into Business Insights from CCH Central can be refreshed eight times a day without manual intervention.
Users can, therefore, be confident key performance indicators are being accurately measured and decision-making is grounded in fact.
Christian emphasises, “It’s important to highlight that the data flows in hourly, almost in real-time through a live connection to the CCH Central database. This means reports show how the business stands today, not last week or even yesterday. Previously, to build and populate a report would have involved a time lag of a day at the very least.”
To date, Business Intelligence has primarily been used by the firm’s senior leadership, who are able to drill down easily on big data sets. They can interrogate the data on KPIs such as chargeable/non-chargeable time and work billed/written off.
One of the many advantages is that users can self-serve on reports once a standard template report has been created. Partners can slice and dice the data as they wish. For example, they can look at work in progress at different levels and from different perspectives: team, staff member, client, assignment type, whether billed or not and for different periods. With data presented in easily digestible, graphical formats, they can rapidly grasp the implications.
In this way, the solution helps in running an efficient, profitable and competitive practice. Managers can see at a glance exactly where all the time has gone and which clients take the longest to pay, placing them in a strong position to control and optimise growth.
The next phase is to roll out Business Intelligence capabilities to team members, and this is currently underway. Christian notes, “If you have to scan through lots of tables with lots of numbers, it’s easy to miss what the data is trying to tell you. Now, reports are brought to life, data has become powerful and meaningful, and we can really get under the skin of the business. That’s the power of business analytics.”
Key benefits for Garbutt + Elliott
- Partners and managers empowered to discover insights hidden within practice data
- Management decisions based on regularly refreshed data flowing in from operations
- Multiple sets of data connected for accurate reporting against KPIs
About Garbutt + Elloitt
Garbutt + Elliott is one of Yorkshire’s larger independent firms of chartered accountants, auditors and advisors. Established in 1896, today the firm has a team of over 200 staff, including 15 partners, offering tailored services for personal clients and businesses from its offices in York and Leeds. Garbutt + Elliott uses the CCH Central suite of software for both compliance and practice management.