70%More business without having to expand headcount
6,000Hours saved per year– equivalent to three full time-employees
Entrepreneur and chartered accountant, Nick Bhalla, is so passionate about technology that it inspired him to found Next Gen—a chartered accounting firm which leverages technology to streamline business processes and drive operational efficiencies. Technology and digitisation is truly at the heart of its business.
Since its inception in 2013, Next Gen has challenged traditional practices of compliance-based accounts, making a conscious decision to become totally paperless. It’s a goal that took Nick only two years to achieve by using automation and integrations to streamline business processes. DocuSign eSignature has been front and centre of Next Gen’s paperless success story.
Nick said that becoming totally paper-free, digitising and streamlining processes has aimed to provide Next Gen’s clients and employees with more efficient and workable processes and solutions.
“We have used zero paper in the accounting practice and we have a lot of different apps. In fact, we have 50 different business apps for our company, right from CRM systems to email automations, email newsletters, from desk ticketing systems to our chatbot—and they all are interconnected, so they all talk to each other”, said Nick.
It’s the early focus on digitisation from the organisation’s very beginning which helped Next Gen to quickly scale up its business model—becoming less dependent on people and more focused on systems that enable those same people to get more done with less.
Nick said the company tried various automations to become truly paperless but it was DocuSign which stood out from the crowd because of its security and trusted name.
Now, Next Gen uses DocuSign throughout its ‘seven-step’ client process journey which includes proposals, engagement letters, tax forms and profit/loss statements amongst other actions.
When technology, flexibility and sustainability come together
Being a technology-led accounting firm not only helps Next Gen to be more productive and minimise non-billable hours spent chasing clients to sign documents but it also supports its vision to be more environmentally conscious by producing less printing.
Over 10,000 tax returns were filed last year alone, and by using technology, hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper which accounting firms would traditionally file and store in-house, have been saved.
The paperless process also means clients have the flexibility to manage their business with Next Gen online—securely and safely. In fact, 90% of clients choose to manage their accounting online and have the option to do so from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week.
Key to this is Next Gen’s AI-bot, which essentially acts as an additional team member and is able to take on a lot of the manual—and typically tedious—client documentation.
“The great thing about DocuSign is that it easily integrates with our chatbot to fully automate the early steps of our seven-step client engagement process—cutting down on a lot of manual back and forth on our end,” Nick said.
With DocuSign eSignature integrated into the chatbot, Nick estimates that it can achieve the work of three full time employees—equating to roughly 6,000 hours of labour per year.
Supporting Next Gen’s unique TSS formula
Next Gen believes its technology-focused efficiencies have been exponential, especially in growing its business and handling more clients with the same amount of workforce.
“The first ‘T’ is for the teams. We need to have the right team members who believe in our vision and values. The second ‘T’ is the technology, we need to have the latest technology and tools for empowering our team, and the ‘S’ is the strategy, you must have a sound business strategy to place your products and your services well in a market”, Nick said.
Interestingly, during tax time in 2022, Nick’s team achieved 70% more business with the same amount of team members—all down to its focus on technology and what Next Gen cites as its unique ‘TTS formula’.
Paving the way for future use cases
Nick believes there's a lot more to do to achieve its ambition to become a technology-led accounting firm. “It’s a learning journey but we’re making good progress,” he said.
Nick says that it’s not about spending time on sending the physical paperwork to the client or waiting for them to get the documents back and sending reminders. Being truly paperless helps to reduce overtime, chase clients or sign envelopes.
The vision of the company is to now offer its digital automations to other accounting firms as well. Next Gen has recently launched Australia's first AI powered paperless accounting firm, a partnership franchise model while also assisting other accounting firms in implementing the automations.
Pursuing DocuSign’s latest innovations will also be integral to the company’s bright and successful future.