Heath Shonhan
Bentleys

Our secret to reducing costly rework

Bentleys Queensland is proud to partner with XBert. Implementing XBert across our private client team enables focus on supporting clients increase their data integrity and reduce financial risk

The international Bentleys network has over 700 staff delivering accounting and advisory solutions from 17 offices across Australia, New Zealand and China for connections across 70 countries.

Since 1948, Bentleys Queensland has been supporting local and global businesses to achieve their goals and aspirations by providing specialist tax, wealth, financial and business growth advice. Alongside their clients, they’ve faced almost every business challenge imaginable

XBert helps maintain the high standard of work expected from a global, top-tier practice, has reduced costly rework and delivered the best foundation for the right specialist, strategic and timely advice.

With more than 170 accounting and advisory professionals across Queensland, the innovative firm has built its reputation on delivering tailored solutions, no matter the industry or size of the business. This knowledge and versatility was never needed more than during the COVID-19 crisis when it was vital to identify cash flow and financial risks as soon as possible.

Heath Shonhan is a Business Advisory Partner at Bentleys Queensland. He leads the firm’s Technology and Innovation division to explore new products aimed at improving business efficiency, making better decisions and strengthening business intelligence.

Heath’s risk analysis and forecasting background and his passion for innovative solutions made him sit up and take notice of XBert. After extensive testing and assessment, Bentleys Queensland announced a formal partnership with XBert in September 2019.

The team is finding XBert easy to adopt and use the various collaboration tools to better manage our clients and workflow. They use XBert daily to automate audits and manual checks and ensure data integrity. Partners and senior accountants have confidence in the reports and know their analysis and advice is based on accurate data.

In collaboration with Heath and his team, XBert also created customised client, interactive and shareable Power BI Risk Reports to foster meaningful conversations around financial risk, liquidity and solvency

What was needed?

As a large and leading practice, Bentleys Queensland offers full advisory services including tax, external and internal auditing, finance, wealth, insolvency and restructuring, corporate, strategic and business mentorship.

Auditing a Xero file is timeintensive. Multiply the hundreds of transactions in each file by the number of clients, and that’s a massive undertaking for the Bentleys team.

The team were already using XBert before the COVID crisis’ social distancing laws and lockdowns forced them to work from home. The in-person access to staff, colleagues and managers disappeared, as did the regular face-to-face project meetings and workflow status check-ins.

Heath wanted to expand the implementation of XBert’s bookkeeping AI audit and process automation to alleviate the demands on staff and ensure accuracy during stressful times and remote working. Additionally, he wanted a hassle-free way for the team to prioritise their work and for managers to have visibility over the quality and status of services, team workload and the health of clients’ businesses.

The real-time Power BI Risk Reports are a highly valuable tool for client risk analysis and a meaningful conversation starter.

XBert is like an extra team member to scrutinise all that data and help encourage and facilitate self-review, bookkeeping best practice and data integrity. Senior staff, partners and managers have full visibility and confidence in the team and quality of work

The results – rework reduced, risk reports and better advice

XBert’s drastically decreased time spent on manual checks and processes and has streamlined and standardised Bentleys Queensland’s workflows and output.

Heath and his fellow partners and advisors can move past worrying about the accuracy of the numbers and instead dive into what the numbers mean for each client. They know their analysis and advice is spot on. They’re building deeper relationships with clients with proactive and timely strategic advice.

The reduction in costly rework and efficiency gains across the bookkeeping, accounting and advisory teams are focused on increasing the profit margin and opportunities for growth and additional revenue, while improved accuracy and advisory have increased client satisfaction.

What XBert does for Bentleys Queensland

XBert syncs with Xero hourly, so any errors, anomalies and risks are also discovered hourly.

The bookkeeping team’s target is to spend 50 per cent less time on manual checks thanks to XBert and the ease of fixing surfaced issues directly in Xero.

Working on identified issues without wasting time having to check whether or not there is an issue will help focus on the timely and correct execution of tasks and areas that provide value to the job’s outcome.

In particular, XBert’s scanning of attachments in Xero, checks of imported data from document software, and the continual monitoring of the Australian Business Register for changes to and inconsistencies with a supplier GST (goods and services tax) statuses, business registrations and ABNs are huge time-savers.

"The goal is to work by exception".

Alerts for incorrect coding, unusual billing and invoicing and duplicates are also team favourites.

The team are also implementing XBert’s AI task and collaboration tools to standardise workflows and deliver consistency across their client base. Client work is tracked, prioritised and managed using CONNECT’s Process Status, Team View and Client Console dashboards, achieving better data integrity and helping eliminate rework.It can be timeconsuming and labour intensive to review, find and fix errors or issues in reports. Rework is usually a non-billable, unanticipated cost with the work commonly done outside regular hours.

Using XBert, any issues surface early. Preparers doing the entries, reconciliation and checks can resolve issues proactively, make sure they haven’t missed anything and that the work is the quality expected before things get passed to reviewers.

In consultation with Heath, we refined XBert’s customised and interactive Power BI Risk Reports for real-time, accurate client risk analysis. The team add comments and analysis points to explain the visuals. Reports are shared with clients to spark conversations on managing and mitigating financial risk.

We are now managing our month-end checklists through XBert, with the helicopter view reporting so useful for me as a partner. We are now getting our staff to use this as their daily “hub” from dealing with Xero coding issues to checking which Organisations have unreconciled items.

The future of Bentleys Queensland + XBert

The partnership has been extremely valuable, and we look forward to building on our achievements so far.

We’ll use Bentleys Queensland’s expertise and feedback to continue developing XBert as an integrated solution for their unique needs, and as a scalable solution with alerts, features and process automation for enterprise-level practices.

We’re also working together on more business intelligence tools and reports for in-depth analysis and interpretation of client risk.

We’ve always had great systems in place but with the sheer volume of transactions and clients we have, there’s always a possibility for human errors to slip through. XBert is another set of eyes looking over the numbers we might miss–things AI can identify above human error.

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