We recently caught up with Ellie Dignam, Digital and Innovation Lead at BHP to get some insights in their experience of using Inflo’s Collaborate module. Inflo Collaborate supports secure file collaboration and effective workflow management with clients.
Being an early adopter, Ellie has fantastic experience in using Collaborate. BHP implemented the Collaborate module in 2016 but back then, it was used with only a small number of clients and a small number of the management team at BHP. In January 2019, all that changed when the decision was made to use Inflo across all their audit clients.
Ellie shares the key benefits BHP has seen by using Inflo Collaborate…
– Increased transparency
Adopting Collaborate has increased transparency for both our audit team and clients. There is now a constant monitor on the progress of the audit, previously may have been lost in emails and various lists passed between the audit team and clients finance team. Inflo Collaborate is particularly useful for the client because they have visibility of the progress of their finance team across the Prepared by Client (PBC) list.
– Information at your fingertips
Collaborate is really useful tool to rely on when delays have pushed back the audit timetable. However, relying on the information flowing through Inflo’s Collaborate portal means that you can use the clever dashboard function and management information to discuss the audit progress with the client and clearly demonstrate where delays have occurred. What may have previously been a difficult conversation has now been made much easier.
– Project management
We all know that situations can change at the drop of a hat and often information isn’t as ready for us as we would like on site, which can lead to downtime for staff whilst waiting for information on site. For BHP, Collaborate has been great in terms of monitoring workloads, staff capacity and resource. You can see when the client is genuinely ready and there is enough information for you to start the audit and do so in an efficient manner.
– Remote working
It hasn’t been unusual for our audit teams to visit our client’s on site for extended periods at a time, this can sometimes be difficult for both parties to accommodate and takes the client staff away from their day to day jobs for significant amounts of time. However, BHP’s clients are now using Collaborate to reduce the time on site. Collaborate allows are clients to upload their tailored PBC requests which means the audit time can set up schedules and select samples prior to going onsite. This has resulted in the time on site being dedicated to spending time with the client team allowing for productive conversations and obtaining final pieces of information.
“It’s really helped us, particularly during these strange times with us all working remotely.”
– Resource management
Another major benefit, especially since lockdown was the ability to quickly share or change staff resourcing particularly where staff members may have been ill or had to self-isolate and not being able to go to site. In these circumstances, it is really necessary to switch staff between jobs, something that was previously really difficult. For example, someone had started an audit, got halfway through and then had to go off, it can be difficult for someone to come in and pick up where things are at. Using Collaborate and having all the information in the system from the client in a format that everyone in the audit team is used to, means that someone else can quickly jump in and pick up where things were left off, understand what’s been completed, what hasn’t been completed, what we are still waiting for, and importantly giving a smooth transition for the client.
In this digital era, it is really important for everyone to be vigilant to online threats and have strong security protocols in place. With Inflo’s Collaborate module, you get just that. Instead of having sensitive business information getting passed over email. Collaborate has permissions which you can use to make sure that things that need to stay confidential, do.
“It’s a good project management tool. From our point of view, it’s been great for us in terms of monitoring workloads, staff capacity and resource.”
On the whole, Ellie and BHP have had really great feedback from clients. They love the level of transparency and the fact they have a project management tool to work with. It’s not just about handwritten lists and hundreds of emails with endless attachments anymore, Collaborate offers a more systematic way of working, enhancing the working relationship between firm and client.
Read more about Ellie’s thoughts and experiences on planning a successful audit in 2020.