We recently caught up with Wernardt Toerien from Innoventum, a small accounting and tax firm based near Johannesburg in South Africa. We discussed their focus on the start-up niche and how Pixie is helping them to standardise their processes and save time as they scale up. You can read or watch the entire conversation below.
Tell us about yourself and Innoventum…
We’re a small firm based in between Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa. The team consists of myself, a full-time bookkeeper, and some freelance bookkeepers that we work with. Our focus is primarily on start-up businesses, helping them get access to professional accounting and tax services.
What kind of challenges were you facing in your firm before using Pixie?
One of my biggest challenges was finding a way to standardise all of the high-touch communications I had with clients. I also needed a way to standardise the processes that I was following.
A lot of what we do is fairly repetitive, so I needed something to help me document our Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and our client emails.
What impact did these challenges have on you and your firm?
It meant that I spent a lot of my time doing work like bank reconciliations. No matter how small the firm, you don’t really want the principal doing all of the smaller, repetitive tasks. I was having a hard time scaling the business because I spent so much time doing these tasks and chasing clients for paperwork.
I knew that bringing a team onboard could help with this, but I needed somewhere to document my systems and processes to delegate things to them. That’s when I found Pixie.
What other tools did you consider?
Being a Xero practice, we looked at Xero Practice Manager and a few other larger practice-management suites, but these cater to firms much bigger than mine. They had too many features for me and a corporate focus.
When you’re running a small firm, you want to get work done efficiently, and I needed a simple solution that would help me do that. I wanted to take care of the basics, and that’s what Pixie does.
What attracted you to Pixie over some of the other tools?
One of the biggest things was the email integration and how that could help standardise our client communications. Creating email templates for all of the things we regularly send to clients has saved us so much time.
The other thing was creating standardised task templates that are the same for all of our clients. Being able to build these in Pixie has been the groundwork for us in automating day-to-day work.
Even though a lot of what we do is repetitive, sometimes you can get into a rhythm of doing the work and think that documenting your processes isn’t required. But actually, it makes it a lot easier to do things when I can open up Pixie, follow the checklist and send an email template without having to devote too much thinking time to it.
I didn’t have any reservations about using Pixie because, straight away, it filled two major gaps for me with assigning & tracking work and creating standardised processes.
How has Pixie helped you and your firm?
Our clients have picked up on the professional communication that we send to them because we’re sending them requests at the same time each week/month. The client tasks feature has also changed the way we interact with clients to request information. It was unusual for some of them at first because they weren’t used to using secure links, but now even the less tech-savvy clients are asking us to send them the secure links. They find it really easy to use.
It’s also saved us a lot of time. With the two of us mainly handling the repetitive weekly tasks, I’d say, on average, it has cut the time to do things by about 50% for myself and probably 20%-50% for the rest of my team. I think this depends on what you have in place beforehand, though. We had nothing. Everything was in our heads.
What would you say to any other firms considering using Pixie?
Just go for it. If you’re running a small firm and you’re considering Pixie, give it a try. If you use it to its full extent and it’s not saving you any time, then hand-on-heart, I don’t believe you’ll find anything anywhere else that can help you.
Do you want to see how Pixie can help you to save time and streamline your communications with clients?