With almost 20 years of experience in auditing, accounting, business, and personal tax services, Atkins Ferrie Chartered Accountants is known as one of Cornwall's foremost business accounting experts. But Atkins Ferrie's professional business services were hindered by older technology that made intra-office communications inefficient, and that made it difficult to manage reams of client documents and files. The firm sought applications that would allow quick, easy access to documents and enable sharing and collaboration. With the introduction of Microsoft Office Professional 2010, Atkins Ferrie found the solution it needed. The new Office 2010 suite has enabled the firm’s team to streamline document sharing and scheduling, while providing enhanced email and file sorting capabilities that have boosted productivity to new levels.Situation
Atkins Ferrie Chartered Accountants is the largest accountancy firm in Helston, Cornwall. The U.K. firm has a reputation for impeccable expertise and personal care for its clients' business and finance needs. With 20 employees providing financial services including charity reporting, payroll, bookkeeping, auditing, and personal finance, Atkins Ferrie maintains all client relationships with an ethos of responsibility and practicality.
Because communication is so vital to Atkins Ferrie's business approach, it is always on the lookout for new and improved ways to streamline client communications. Intra-office collaboration among employees is also a top priority, especially given the slow and laborious process of emails and phone calls previously required for collaborative editing and version control.
In order to maintain the level of service its clients have come to expect, Atkins Ferrie needed a system that would allow faster and more efficient document sharing, better information access, and easier scheduling of meetings.Solution
To address its computing needs, Atkins Ferrie deployed Microsoft Office Professional 2010. The firm gained a significant improvement in daily computing efficiency. Thanks to the new and enhanced functionality of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook, and collaboration tools like Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010, the firm has found simple ways to save time and frustration.
"We depend on this software for so many things," says Hannah Collison, FCCA, Partner at Atkins Ferrie. "The new Office Professional 2010 applications have made a world of difference in how we do business."
By upgrading to Microsoft Office 2010, Atkins Ferrie saves time, increases email and calendar organization, and improves client communications.
Timesavings from Easier Collaboration
The biggest improvement for Atkins Ferrie has been the remarkable change in the way that employees are now able to share files and collaborate on accounts.
In the past, employees would have to coordinate closely by phone while emailing shared files in order to avoid editing a document simultaneously and creating more work for themselves. With the improved SharePoint Workspace 2010, those precautions are no longer necessary; multiple employees can now make edits in tandem without worrying about version issues.
"We have a few shared accounts, plus other documents that we all have to dip into now and again,” notes Collison. “SharePoint Workspace gives us the power to collaborate on those without worrying about version mix ups."
The ability to share all kinds of documents in SharePoint Workspace 2010, from Word files to Excel spreadsheets, is especially useful for an accounting firm like Atkins Ferrie that works with many different types of data, saving an estimated 10 minutes per employee, each day.
New features in Outlook 2010 have also enhanced intra-office communication and scheduling, making it possible for employees to share calendars in emails and access one another’s availability—a useful capability for the entire organization.
"Everything is so much more user-friendly than in previous versions of Office," says Andrew Ferrie, FCA, Partner at Atkins Ferrie. "It's a quantum leap forward in terms of efficiency from the 2003 version, and it's very easy to navigate around the new features and find everything you need."
In addition to calendar and scheduling improvements, Outlook has been enhanced with new features that make it easier to organize and access email.
The QuickSteps feature streamlines the process of sorting, filing, deleting, and replying to emails, saving employees a great deal of time each day. Another new feature, Conversation View, displays messages in threaded groups, allowing employees to find and sort messages by their history. It's a change that has made a big difference to Atkins Ferrie employees.
“Conversation View and QuickSteps in Outlook are very useful," says Collison. "The organization on the screen makes it easy to find everything. I save maybe 15 minutes a day in Outlook alone."
Andrew Ferrie also commends the improvements in Word. "With streamlined document creation and access, every version of Word is an improvement over the previous one," he says. "There are so many useful features and tools."
Stronger Client Communications
In addition to improving networking among Atkins Ferrie's partners and staff, the Outlook improvements have made a dramatic difference in their ability to communicate with clients. Thanks to QuickSteps and Conversation View, says Andrew Ferrie, employees are saving time and resolving client concerns with ease.
The changes in Excel 2010 have also enhanced communications. New features like Sparklines make it possible to display information in several different ways, allowing those who aren't accountants—such as the firm's clients—to get a better grasp of financial data.
"Sparklines is useful in analyzing trends, both in our business and in our customers' businesses," says Ferrie. "If we're looking at the bottom line on cash flow, profit and loss, or other analytics, it gives our clients a more visual impression and makes it easier to understand, rather than just looking at a load of figures. It's great for our clients."
Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010 gives your people powerful, timesaving tools to do their best work from more places. With new capabilities and insightful updates to Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook, Office 2010 offers the complete package—with familiar, intuitive tools. Now you can express ideas, solve problems, connect with people, and create amazing results—in the office, at home, or on the go.
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