How Arnett Carbis Toothman (ACT) boosts client satisfaction with Fieldguide
With nearly 75 years of accounting and consulting experience, Arnett Carbis Toothman (ACT) strives to be a strategic resource for professional excellence and community stewardship in the Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia region. ACT aims to be the firm by which others are judged – providing exceptional client service and unwavering quality in everything it does.
In today’s dynamic landscape, organizations across industries are realizing the need to focus attention and resources to ensure compliance across a wide range of information and cybersecurity frameworks. Whether clients are broadening coverage into the federal space or simply expanding from a SOC 1 to a SOC 2, the growing need for security and compliance attestation services is not going away anytime soon.
Lisa Stover, ACT's System and Organization Controls (SOC) services leader, felt the impact of increasing demand for IT and Risk assurance and advisory services in the industry.
ACT's core SOC services team often pulls staff and resources from across the wider firm to meet client demand. This need for greater efficiency in the face of limited resources–an acute pain felt by many top CPA firms–drove ACT to seek a new software solution. ACT’s greatest efficiency blockers came from hundreds of hours of manual work required for request issuance, logging, tracking, and change management to ensure a quality reporting product. This manual work accounted for 30% of their total engagement hours.
“With our previous system, we spent countless hours on the back-end getting everything we did into a final report. On the front-end, our data request process was very cumbersome, especially for our larger clients with many controls.”
Like many professional services firms, ACT used an engagement filing system that functioned as an electronic file repository to house all checklists, sign-offs, documents, and quality control standards. This repository, combined with a disjointed Word/Excel document editing approach, made it difficult to ensure consistent forms of documentation across all engagements. The secure file system used for managing information requests with clients was another source of pain–for ACT’s team and audit clients alike, says Lisa.
“Information requests were super painful for our clients, and were often very time consuming. Requests had to come through a single point of contact, which created a bottleneck of work and source of stress for that person.”
The disjointed nature of the firm’s legacy tech stack, combined with a need for greater efficiency in the face of limited resources, drove ACT to search for a new technology solution that could reduce repetitive tasks consuming much of the team’s time. ACT also saw the pain and frustration their clients experienced during the request process, and searched for a solution to alleviate stress and make audits a smoother process for everyone involved.
When evaluating Fieldguide, Lisa was first drawn to Fieldguide’s unique focus on risk practices. Though some software offerings promised to fulfill the information requests function that Lisa was looking for, Fieldguide’s integrated workflows differentiated the platform for her. Fieldguide was the only comprehensive solution that encompassed the full engagement workflow.
“Fieldguide takes the information request process a step further, being able to link requests to specific testing and provide more sophisticated automation in request processing.”
Beyond the information requests and associated automation, ACT found that they could also replace their engagement filing system with Fieldguide’s integrated workpaper management system. Moreover, upon learning about Fieldguide’s reporting capabilities, including quick generations of both templates and reports, ACT became convinced that Fieldguide was the comprehensive engagement platform the firm was looking for.
While Fieldguide has benefitted every step of ACT's end-to-end engagement process, the platform has also positively impacted ACT's relationships with its clients. By presenting clients with a tech-forward solution, ACT demonstrates that the firm is staying ahead with its services, while striving to make its clients' lives easier.
With Fieldguide, clients appreciate the ability to delegate requests to team members, while maintaining oversight and visibility at the management level. Lisa finds that this is beneficial for getting more people involved in the audits, which increases awareness and reduces bottlenecks. She has noticed that clients provide information in half the time, and real-time statuses motivate everyone involved in the audit. Clients enjoy the ability to access all requests in a single screen, view real-time statuses, and easily upload files to complete requests.
“FIeldguide proved to be a useful tool which provides ease of access to requests as well as communication and a simple user interface for uploading documents to the system. As a point of contact for all past SOC audits, I found it extremely helpful to be able to assign tasks and have those responsible for fulfilling those tasks being able to upload documents and answer auditing questions without me being the middle man.”
- ACT Client, Director of Data Center Operations, Managed IT Services & Support Company, Pennsylvania
As Lisa issues her first set of Fieldguide-generated reports, she's excited to leverage the platform's automated reporting capabilities to achieve compounding efficiencies. Fieldguide's flexibility allows for standardization with ACT's report format, while enabling a level of customization for each client. In addition to gaining efficiencies, the ability to auto-generate reports will also ensure precision reporting, neatly formatted tables, and an accurate report deliverable.
ACT runs all ongoing risk and compliance engagements on Fieldguide and plans to utilize the readiness capabilities to attract new clients. The onboarding and implementation process has been smooth and worth the investment in time and energy. Through Fieldguide Accelerator, ACT's practice got their first engagements running a matter of weeks. From initial kick-off to “office hours,” Lisa’s team has felt championed at every step of the way.
“Fieldguide Accelerator was a new kind of experience. Fieldguide’s onboarding team worked quickly to get our practice up and running, which has kept us chargeable and moving forward. The ease and responsiveness of communication, helpful training videos, and assistance with imports were very key to our success.”
As Lisa looks to the future and considers how Fieldguide might provide value across ACT, she is confident that other engagement teams stand to benefit from the platform as well. Using Fieldguide to power all types of IT and cybersecurity engagements is on the horizon. In recommending Fieldguide to a peer, Lisa says:
“It’s just as Fieldguide publishes on its website–the automation, the connection between disjointed engagement processes, and the ease of reporting–it’s all there.”
Learn how Fieldguide can supercharge your client relationships. Request a demo today.