CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY: MVA Bennett & Smart Workpapers

This Melbourne accounting firm created $50,000 of annual revenue capacity by automating one of its most time-consuming compliance processes.

MVA Bennett is a full-service accounting and business advisory practice based in Melbourne, Victoria. Lead by 6 partners, the team at MVA Bennett work with clients across a range of industries, providing a host of holistic business services from tax compliance and consulting, through to family office and wealth creation services.

Undergoing a successful merger in 2018 between MV Anderson & Co and The Bennett Group, the team at the newly formed practice faced the complex task of combining two sets of systems, processes, and documents. One area that needed particular attention was their compliance workpapers. Prior to the merger, both firms maintained their own different workpapers internally, and the team were keen to implement a unified and consistent approach across the new business.

Looking for a robust and comprehensive templated solution, the practice chose to implement the Smart Workpapers suite from Business Fitness.

The workpapers are excel based, which everyone was already familiar with, so there was no down time in learning to navigate a new platform or online application. They’re also continually updated by qualified Chartered Accountants (CAs) and Certified Practicing Accountants (CPAs) for any changes in legislation, tax rulings, and calculation requirements. The platform also offered a robust integration with their existing practice management platform, Reckon APS.

While the two merging teams both used excel workpapers they’d developed internally prior to the merge, the documents were clunky and cumbersome; changes made in one location would need to be manually updated elsewhere, and the worksheets had expanded over time to include superfluous sheets, making them difficult to navigate.

Making the shift to Smart Workpapers was an obvious choice for the partners, who wanted to streamline the compliance process, reduce opportunities for errors, and find a more consistent approach for managing updates and changes to legislation.

The impact has been significant, the team at MVA Bennett estimate they save over 45 minutes of processing time per job thanks to the automated workpapers solution, equating to roughly $50,000 of work in progress annually.

“We worked out that implementing Smart Workpapers would lead to roughly 45 minutes in time-saving per job.”

Tim Naylor, Business Services Manage, MVA Bennett

“If you added that to an average charge out rate of $150, you’re looking at some $45,000 to $50,000 of work in progress not being added to the clock – so that was a huge win for the practice.”

The practice also utilises the robust integration with Reckon APS which has significantly changed the way the business undertakes their opening balance roll over process. The integration between Smart Workpapers and Reckon APS allows users to click a single button and instantly generate a trial balance and opening balance summary pages.

“The integration with APS has been a big help in reviewing, and also just getting the work done much quicker.”

Nick Henderson, Business Services Manager, MVA Bennett

“It provides a great snapshot in one place and that’s definitely been one of the biggest benefits of rolling out the Smart Workpapers suite.”  

The Smart Workpapers suite is also constantly updated for changes in legislation, and for new compliance processes. Last year a comprehensive template pack specifically incorporating calculations and worksheets to assist with Covid-19 Government stimulus was released and made available to all Smart Workpapers practices, allowing advisors to provide support to clients quicker, with the knowledge the workpapers were accurate and complete.

“We’ve been really impressed with the level of updates that Smart Workpapers offer, particularly around COVID-19 and things like government stimulus: all the work papers that they provided regarding eligibility and qualification was very handy. We didn’t really expect that was going to be a feature, but that saved us a lot of time when we really needed to be focused on our clients”.

It’s easy to get up and running with Smart Workpapers. As the team at MVA Bennett found when implementing the suite, the familiar excel based documents mean very little down time and training requirements, and they were fully supported by the team at Business Fitness during the implementation phase.

“Implementation was a really smooth process, we had a couple of sessions with the Business Fitness team to get everyone familiar with Smart Workpapers, and we really didn’t feel like implementing the new solution was a challenge at all.”

Having streamlined their compliance workpapers, the team at MVA Bennett are enjoying significant productivity & efficiency gains and have complete confidence in relying on the Smart Workpapers suite for their tax compliance processes.

“Integration and innovation is always helpful and makes things much quicker, implementing Smart Workpapers has been great for our business.”