Keogh Ryan Tierney
“We thought no software fitted the bill, but IRIS Practice Engine has transformed our practice.”
Paul Tierney, Partner
• IRIS Practice Engine
Keogh Ryan Tierney is run by three Partners – all with extensive experience in working for the Big Four accounting firms. Based in Ireland with three offices, the highly committed team takes a real interest in the businesses of its clients and understands the unique challenges they face. The firm typically helps medium to large companies based in Ireland who need the kind of expertise the Big Four offers but at a more cost-effective rate.
Keogh Ryan Tierney had very specific needs for practice management software, and its previous solution had caused “a huge problem” with inaccurate information. The Partners had concluded there was no existing solution affordable and capable of meeting its requirements on service line delivery – until it talked to IRIS Practice Engine.
Keogh Ryan Tierney had found it almost impossible to find the right practice management software that fitted with its three departmental set up.
Partner Paul Tierney explained, “With a lot of unbranded firms, if you are dealing with Partner A, Partner A is the partner looking after all of your service needs as the client. He or she may typically do your accounts, audit, corporation tax etc. I suppose service line delivery doesn’t matter for a lot of firms but for us, the way we’re configured is we have three Partners and three distinct departments – audit, tax, and advisory. Clients are served by each in turn.
“So, in terms of Work in Progress (WIP), you could have three different partners and three different managers working on the same client on three different engagements. With our previous software there was no means to split out with fees by department, by partner, and by service partner, so that gave rise to problems. It was particularly the cross-service line element we needed a solution for.”
Another issue previously faced was write offs at the end of the year, which had been “going into a blackhole.”
Paul explains: “Looking at recoveries and profit performance the software didn’t have adequate data analysis credentials. On a monthly basis we weren’t getting accurate information – particularly at year end. It was a huge problem.”
The practice set out on a search for a solution. It looked at four or five packages but “none fitted the bill for what we needed,” Paul explains, with some also deemed very expensive.
“We concluded there was nothing out there that we could afford that met our needs.”
Paul has been working with IRIS Practice Engine for 20 years, having used it working for Deloitte since 2000 before joining the practice in 2015 so he knew of its capability.
However, he wasn’t aware of how affordable it was. That was before the eleventh-hour decision to contact IRIS Practice Engine.
“We didn’t look at Practice Engine initially as I incorrectly assumed we wouldn’t be able to afford it.”
When Paul got in touch, he spoke with Practice Engine’s Michelle Harris, who he had met previously. “Knowing Michelle was going to be involved was a huge comfort because I knew her capabilities beforehand.”
The practice made the decision to go with IRIS Practice Engine and has been using it since January 2016.
“It was the cross-service line aspect – that was the real reason we went with it,” says Paul who reveals the Partners are very pleased with their choice.
So, how has Practice Engine solved the problems outlined above?
Paul responds: “It has solved them completely; we have a much better handle on who our profitable clients are. We also have a better handle on who our better performers are in terms of staff, by looking at recovery rate, looking at WIP, utilizations, etc.”
He says that the data reporting is invaluable, with analysis such as Profit/Loss by Service being one key element. Furthermore, he can see cash collection budgets to track expected cash receipts versus actual receipts as work progresses. The dashboard, showing WIP by service, is another important feature, which he says is clear and easy. “I think everyone here finds it intuitive,” he adds.
“IRIS Practice Engine is a fantastic value for money proposition for us – it does everything we need such a system to do,” Paul explains. While other software lacked sufficient credentials for analyzing data on recoveries and profit performance, Paul says: “Practice Engine is far more robust – there’s no hiding. If you have got a write off it will be in your report.”
So, how important has Practice Engine become?
Paul says: “The word that springs to mind is transformational – I mean that. In 2016 when we moved to Practice Engine, it transformed our practice. What we had before was awful. Practice Engine is certainly fit for purpose. It’s been perfect for us, with no issues.
“We have seen significant growth in our fees over the course of the past four years. I would say IRIS Practice Engine has played a big part in this,” Paul says, adding “notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19, our revised budget for 2020 shows an anticipated increase in fees of 15%.”