BHP Chartered Accountants is one of the largest independent accounting firms in the north of England and a U.K. Top 35 firm. With roots extending back over 150 years, BHP provides an integrated, full-service offering, including compliance, tax planning, corporate finance and business advice. Based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, the firm employs more than 400 staff in five offices across Yorkshire.
BHP has customers in a wide range of industries, including academy schools, charities and not-for-profits, healthcare, pensions assurance, manufacturing, property, technology, retail and hospitality, and landed estate and agriculture. The firm is also part of the Kreston Global network, an international advisory and accountancy network, with links to 160 firms in 110 countries.
BHP had been using an on-premise software to manage its audit processes before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The firm had already been planning to move to another product, but the pandemic highlighted the advantages of using a cloud-based offering, said Maise Poskitt, BHP’s head of amazing. Poskitt is responsible for the processes surrounding BHP’s software, implementation and training and helping everyone improve in their roles, whether they are new team members or partners.
“We had a couple of cloud products we’d already implemented for teams outside audit,” Poskitt said. “And those teams went from working in the office to working from home really seamlessly, whereas other departments, which were using server-based solutions, were struggling.”
The solution BHP had been considering was only partially cloud-based, so the firm decided to look for an alternative that had full cloud capabilities to support a more remote workforce.
BHP’s charities and academies teams, as well as some other staff, had experience with Caseware’s server-based products. So Caseware Cloud Audit – a fully cloud-based solution for managing the audit process – had instant appeal for the firm. “It wasn’t going to be a completely unfamiliar product for us,” Poskitt explained. “There were some transferable skills from our experience using Caseware’s software, which was a bit of a seller for us.”
Poskitt also liked the way Caseware Cloud Audit presents files to auditors. “As someone who has to train people on the software, the file layout just makes so much sense,” she explained. “It’s very user-friendly and the teams like it, especially compared to what we were using before. The interface is much more modern.”
Another factor that appealed to BHP was Caseware Cloud Audit’s incorporation of Mercia audit methodology for built-in audit guidance in compliance with the latest audit standards. The Mercia Group is a leading provider of training and compliance services to accounting professionals in the U.K.
Caseware Cloud Audit is designed to allow audits to be completed faster with higher-quality results for the client. It features:
- Intelligent content with streamlined and optimised work processes, showing auditors only what they need for the engagement at hand
- PBC requests integration allowing document requests and client communication to be carried through the engagement in a secure, real-time, efficient process
- Capability for team members to collaborate on the same engagement from anywhere without having to worry about version controls, supporting a flexible work environment
- Analytical procedures with trial balance data automatically analysed and graphed, making it simpler to visualise risks within the engagement
- Centralised risk management with a summary page providing visual charts and records, as well as risk assessment notes for all work programs
- Ability to roll forward documents, responses, questions, modifications and procedures
BHP’s audit team has enjoyed using Caseware Cloud Audit. They feel it offers a better user experience than their previous solution, with all the information they need easily accessible from one page. The workflow and mapping is more intuitive and the interface is cleaner.
“The risks are built into the system well,” Poskitt said. “Once they’re brought into the file they’re linked to all the different sections. They were never as clear as they are now in Cloud Audit. And the issues across the file – it’s very clear what you’re trying to pick up. The linkage across the file is such an improvement for us.”
Cloud Audit has improved BHP’s flexibility, making it simpler for auditors to work remotely or from home. It has also allowed the firm to hire staff who are dedicated exclusively to remote audits. “There’s no difference between having someone remote and someone sitting in the Sheffield office working on an audit,” Poskitt said. “We’ve been able to bring in several South African employees to work on remote audits and they’ve been a brilliant addition to the team.”
And the solution has also made it easier to train new auditors. BHP has created a sample engagement with fabricated data to help recent-graduate hires step through the audit process in Caseware Cloud Audit.
“The product we had before was really a fancy document-filing system,” Poskitt said. “Whereas Caseware Cloud Audit is a lot more hands-on throughout the audit process. You’re able to tie in all your checklists or your risks into what you’re doing in the documents. So it’s a great way to teach practical skills to our new hires.”
Additionally, Caseware professionals helped BHP as the firm transitioned to Cloud Audit, such as when challenges were encountered in the file-synchronization process. It was an example, Poskitt noted, of how the Caseware support team was great at addressing any issues as they arose.
BHP has already seen benefits just 12 months after implementing Caseware Cloud Audit. But Poskitt noted the firm expects to achieve even greater efficiencies in future years when the client files and all their associated data can be rolled forward without having to re-enter old information.
“I’ve had staff ask me what rolling forward looks like,” she said. “And once I show them, they’re excited about how much time it’s going to save.”
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