Achieving work-life balance without sacrificing client service

Business is a world of give and take. Everyone in the tax profession knows that. Firms want to increase client satisfaction, but it often comes at the price of work-life balance. But every once in a while you find a solution that gives you even more than you hoped for.

That’s what Smith & Salisbury, PLLC, a tax and consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina, experienced when it transitioned to CCH Axcess™.

On their wish list: increase client engagement while working fewer hours and enjoying more flexibility.

Check, check, and check.

Working Smarter Not Harder

Partner Christopher M. Salisbury, CPA/PFS, CFP, SCEP, says the firm wanted to shift business from growth to maintenance. So, starting in 2009, they gradually created a fully digital, end-to-end integrated tax workflow using CCH Axcess solutions. It’s a move that got them results:

  • By 2014, they processed 20% more tax returns without adding more work hours or hiring additional staff.
  • Between 2009 and 2014, the firm increased revenue by 22% and added 29% to bottom line profits.
  • They currently save about 15 minutes per return over their 2009 timing, which represents more than $38,750 in savings.
  • After adding CCH Axcess™ Practice and CCH Axcess™ Workstream to the mix, the firm’s overhead rate dropped from 55% to 45%.

“The numbers don’t lie. I think these growth rates would motivate anyone,” Salisbury says. “Additionally, automation with CCH Axcess removes the monotony of tasks, and the paper or digital shuffling, which improves satisfaction with work.”

Need more numbers?

In the three years (2015-2018) the firm used the complete CCH Axcess system, top line revenue increased another 29% — even after adding two new staff members.

Transitioning to Value Pricing with CCH Axcess

The next item on the wish list — work-life balance — was achieved in two ways. Cloud-based CCH Axcess allows the partners and staff to work remotely, which they do about 20% of the time during crunch time and even more frequently during the offseason.

The second important piece was the implementation of value-based pricing. Using CCH Axcess Practice historical data, the firm developed Fixed Price Agreements (FPAs) for every client.

Smith & Salisbury relied on CCH Axcess Workstream as a critical part of the implementation, ensuring preparers weren’t working on client returns before the firm had a signed agreement and got paid.

Now, all team members spend less time tracking hours and more time engaging in one-to-one interactions with clients — in the same number of hours.

With CCH Axcess and value pricing, Salisbury says, “we’re going to do fewer returns and generate more revenue. This was the end game of this whole transition to value pricing. We’re not working as much, and we are still able to enjoy a 14% increase in profit margin with lower overhead percentage. I don’t know that we can get much better than that, but we’re always looking for new opportunities.”

Find out more about how Smith + Salisbury improved work-life balance without sacrificing client satisfaction. Download the case study today.


Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting

Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting is a leading provider of software solutions and local expertise that helps tax, accounting, and audit professionals research and navigate complex regulations, comply with legislation, manage their businesses and advise clients with speed, accuracy and efficiency. Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting is part of Wolters Kluwer N.V. (AEX: WKL), a global leader in information services and solutions for professionals in the health, tax and accounting, risk and compliance, finance and legal sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services. Wolters Kluwer reported 2016 annual revenues of €4.3 billion. The company, headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands, serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries and employs 19,000 people worldwide. Wolters Kluwer shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has a sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt program. The ADRs are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. (WTKWY).

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