Richard Boyle: Benchmarking Data

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Richard Boyle always liked the concept of being able to benchmark data for one client's operations against data for comparable, closely held businesses, but was unhappy with the software available to do so. He hoped someone would come out with a better mousetrap, and he stumbled upon it when attending a QuickBooks Consultants Seminar. An instructor introduced Boyle to the Expert Analysis tool in QuickBooks Premier Accountants Edition. The technology and benchmarking data for Expert Analysis are provided by Sageworks. Boyle, realizing that the tool would help his staff document their analytical review procedures, turned to Sageworks and purchased its ProfitCents Extreme, the most full-featured of the three ProfitCents editions.

"We started using it in audit and review engagements. We have to perform analytical procedures on the numbers and we're required to document those procedures in our workpapers," says Boyle. "It met this need, but then I saw it was a chance to add some value to our services as far as our clients were concerned."

Located in Cherry Hill, N.J., Goldberg, Boyle, Brogan & Shusman specializes in business valuation, tax planning, research, estate planning, and auditing. The firm has 20 employees and the firm's clients range from $500,000 to $100 million in annual revenue. Boyle started with Arthur Andersen in 1972, moved to Grant Thornton, and in 1985 opened his own firm with partner Jim Brogan.

Partner Insights

Boyle, who specializes in business valuations, has found ProfitCents reduces the time it takes to complete an engagement by 25 percent.

"Business valuation standards require me to analyze the financial condition of the subject company, compare it to its peers, and then discuss all the information in a narrative section of a report. This step always ended up at the back end of the report-writing phase because we first had to get a rough idea about the company by crunching numbers," says Boyle.

Previously, the work was done manually or in Excel. The staff had to interpret the numbers from scratch and it took a lot of time to calculate ratios and write commentary. Because ProfitCents generates ratios and performs part of the valuation report writing, the staff can more quickly determine the reason for the results.

Use of the software has also helped Boyle win at least one new account. When the firm first started using the software, Boyle created a proposal for a construction company, estimating the time it would take the firm to perform an audit and complete tax returns. Using the prospect's last audited financial statement and the prior two fiscal years' numbers, Boyle generated a ProfitCents report that it included as an appendix to the proposal. "The proposal showed the client what we could do to analyze the company. It distinguished us from the competition and we got the account," adds Boyle.

The accounting firm is also a QuickBooks ProAdvisor and offers set-up services, and uses the QuickBooks Accountant Edition to run its own operations. It also uses Intuit's ProSeries software for tax preparation.

Reducing Paper

Boyle has also been a fan of Creative Solutions applications, using the Practice Solution, the Depreciation Solution, and the Trial Balance Solution.

But it is CSI's Engagement Solution implemented this year, that Boyle sees as making his staff's lives easier. The firm used the work paper software sparingly during the last tax season. It is now ramping up use with several staff members recently attending training sessions. The goal is reducing the volume of paper spewed out during audits and to make engagements more efficient.

"The software will enable us to automatically integrate audit checklists and workpaper analyses, developed from PPC's e-Tools and Practice Aids, thereby eliminating time spent copying and collating documents manually," says Boyle.

"I hope to see at least a 25 percent reduction of hours on each engagement," says Boyle.

The firm's plan is to gradually go paperless, but it will not scan engagement documents related to prior years; instead, documents will be scanned going forward. "Fortunately, CSI has created utilities to convert existing data from our predecessor software to the Engagement Solution package. Therefore, there is little downtime in retroactive data input," says Boyle.

Carly Lombardo is Associate Editor of Accounting Technology and can be reached at carly.bohach@thomsonmedia.com.

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