With 6 branches and more than 160 employees, Baker Tilly Belgium is what you would call a “big” accounting firm, moreover, it is part of an international group. For over a year, the Belgian branch has been working with Silverfin. However, a big firm also means a lot of people you have to convince to make such a switch. So we were curious to see how that process went for them.
Streamlining to provide even more hands-on advice.
Baker Tilly wants to guide and support companies through the various phases of their journey. The company’s strength is that they combine the clout of a major player with quality work at the local level. “We listen carefully to our clients so that we can continue to defend their interests,” says Annelies, partner at Baker Tilly and responsible for IT projects. “In doing so, we work in a very hands-on and proactive way and ensure clear communication without too many bells and whistles.”
At Baker Tilly, they noticed several years ago that the need for advice was growing. “Before, we mainly had to process data,” Annelies continues, “now clients expect us to interpret their figures and advise them on them. We try to provide an in context analysis and communicate and present to our client as clearly as possible, with actionable advice.” Baker Tilly wanted to further streamline its way of working to have more time available for interpretation and advice. But it also wanted to stay in control with a standard approach to reporting and branding. In their search for a system that could meet these requirements, they came to Silverfin.
A clearly defined onboarding process
“On the advice of Cedric, our Customer Success Manager, we followed the Silverfin onboarding process,” says Alexandra, one of the key users. “After that, we gradually involved more and more people in the implementation.” There was also internal training on how the tool works and, at a later stage, a joint Q&A where employees could ask questions. But even now, no one is on their own. “The colleagues know they can come to me with their questions,” says Alexandra, “and if I don’t know it myself, I can always turn to Cédric.”
In this way, the implementation went particularly smoothly, also confirms Pieter from the IT department. “With a change, you always get some resistance,” he knows. “You’re always dealing with different people who each have their own habits. nobody changes just like that. Often people first have to experience for themselves that the new system is more efficient, but of course you only see that when you actually use it. So it’s a bit like the chicken or the egg,” he concludes. Yet in the case of Silverfin, that turned out particularly well compared to other systems already implemented at Baker Tilly in the past. “Exact Online, for example, we have been using for 6 years now. But I think we only had everyone onboard and using the tool 5 years later” he recalls.
The right support has meant the right usage
Annelies agrees that the changeover went smoothly, although it was not without little niggles. “In our Liege office, was a little bit more difficult because they had never actually worked with such a program before,” she says. “So far, they had always worked in Excel, so for them the changeover was the hardest.” But now, they’re using the tool too. “Silverfin responded well to that by sending a French-speaking colleague to support them,” she continues. “It took a while to get them on board, but they too are now very enthusiastic,” Annelies confirms happily.
And what does day-to-day use look like? “The figures prove that there are not only x number of files in Silverfin, but that people are also working in those files,” says Pieter. “Within the IT department, we have a helicopter view of all the software and tools within Baker Tilly so we can actually see that activity.” He believes the ease of use contributes greatly to that.
More success to come
So the progress so far has been a great success, but there’s still more to do. “We are only a year into using Silverfin within our organization as a reporting program,” says Annelies. “But the intention is that we will soon be using Silverfin to gain valuable client insights from the data within the tool and create proactive data-driven alerts which help us advise clients” In addition, steps are being taken to link Silverfin to the client portal. Seems like the the best is yet to come.