Holbrook & Manter (H&M)’s mission is to help companies grow by delivering thoughtful, personalized service. The Columbus, Ohio-based firm models a business approach that confirms that problem-solving people – and not the numbers themselves – are the true drivers of long-term success.
In a changing technological environment with increased awareness of cybersecurity threats, the demand for H&M’s Technology Risk Advisory practice is growing rapidly. To address this growth, Pete Rife, Director of Technology Risk Advisory, knew his practice needed a new, integrated solution to manage their engagements and deliver more profitably.
Before Fieldguide, the Technology Risk Advisory practice struggled with off-the-shelf software solutions offered by major players in the audit engagement software space. Focused on quantitative engagements such as financial statement audits, legacy platforms lacked the flexibility to serve the team’s qualitative, controls-focused, and risk-based engagements.
“There are ‘cobbled-together’ ways we get this work done, but there hasn’t been a one-stop-shop like Fieldguide,” said Pete. “Every time we try to use an off-the-shelf product, it has limitations that make work difficult, particularly regarding the handling of evidence requests and client communications. These vendors are trying to be all things to all people, and as a consequence their platforms are unnecessarily complex and get in the way of getting the work done efficiently.”
Disparate tools resulted in a two-fold challenge. First, client documents were shared in many forms and systems across email, document management portals, or a shared drive. This made it challenging to communicate with clients, gain visibility into statuses, and keep track of requests.
Secondly, version control and precise change management was nearly impossible. If the underlying data, such as client control language, identified risks, or testing procedures, were modified, all changes needed to be manually updated across data sources.
“The most shocking thing to me was that I thought we would be able to get a product from one of the big players. It turns out, not so much.”
H&M considered developing an in-house solution to meet their needs, but quickly realized that the massive undertaking was outside of their core competencies in timely deliverables and exceptional client service.
Upon evaluating Fieldguide, Pete discovered a platform aligned around the same pain points his team was trying to navigate. The workflows immediately felt purpose-built for risk and compliance practitioners.
“Fieldguide is built around audit workflows, and really excels in risk engagements. From Day 1, they are building the engine, thinking about the core workflow problems, and not getting distracted by other noise.”
In minutes, the team started using the platform and began leveraging its intuitive interface. With a single point of truth across engagements, all steps of the engagement workflow are integrated on one platform. Instead of managing a separate document request solution along with an engagement binder, practitioners can easily track files and their versions in the context they are needed, without having to download and re-upload files.
“I don’t want disparate, conflicting points of truth across an engagement... it just all needs to happen in one place,” said Pete. “With Fieldguide, all information is in one place, providing a single point of truth for the engagement. Information is consistent every step of the way.”
With Fieldguide, Pete and the Technology Risk Advisory practice have saved significant time on engagements and improved client satisfaction. Instead of manually updating data throughout the engagement, all data is now automatically updated and real-time consistent across the platform. When providing status updates for each engagement, he now has visibility into the progress with dashboards – right at his fingertips. As a result, Holbrook & Manter’s teams are already saving 15-20% of hours on their engagements. Clients have also expressed positive feedback for its intuitive interface and ease of providing audit evidence.
“Not only can we cut the time it takes to do the work, but we can do it better and more completely, more accurately, and at a higher quality level. The client feedback has been very positive. Based on that value proposition, Fieldguide is a proverbial no brainer."
H&M looks forward to perfecting their entire assurance practice with Fieldguide, including financial statement audits, employee benefit plan audits (EBP), and agreed upon procedures (AUPs), with a consistent, secure, and adaptable workflow, without regard to geography. They plan to achieve higher realizations across their audits, boost quality assurance capabilities, and gain more visibility into their client engagements.