Hawsons uses Citrix to enable ‘client for life’ philosophy
With three office locations forming a triangular area stretching from Northern England through the Midlands, Hawsons Chartered Accountants have built their reputation on independence, expertise and trusted oversight over 165 years.
Their 100-strong workforce specializes in business clients, from family-run operations through to corporate giants, but focusing primarily on operations with turnovers of between £5 million and £25 million. “Mid-sized businesses are our niche,” explains Charles Kavazy, director of IT services at Hawsons. “That’s possibly quite unusual for independent firms in the UK; many tend to aim either for the really big corporate clients, or smaller enterprises.”
In addition to audit and accountancy, key services include tax, wealth management and corporate finance. Hawsons also operates a large, outsourced payroll management department that handles those specific needs for several hundred business clients.
Central to Hawsons’ ‘client for life’ philosophy is data security. The business’s payroll operation alone involves dealing with the personal financial information of around 12,000 people a month, presenting a series of key requirements that led the business to Citrix ShareFile.
Hawsons saw the necessity for security in client emails earlier than many. “We realized we needed to ensure that emails were secure before everybody said they had to be,” says Kavazy. “In the early days of trying to send an encrypted email we’d get some very irate people asking what we were doing. It could be a painful process, but at the time we really didn’t have a choice.”
With Hawsons’ initial email encryption service provider dragging its feet over developing its offering, Kavazy looked elsewhere. He quickly realized that Citrix ShareFile could offer a superior level of security with far greater ease of implementation and use, and significantly less disruption to clients. It also offered a range of other functions that Kavazy saw would fit into Hawsons’ various processes.
“The decision was pretty straightforward,” recalls Kavazy. “We liked the simplicity of what Citrix ShareFile had to offer, and the price point. We don’t need to run these things though various committees; we saw it was right for us and decided to take it.”
Any previous concerns that people may have had, such as about storing data in the cloud, are gone. For us, Citrix ShareFile is all about reliability, security, efficiency and simplicity.
Hawsons also saw very quickly that ShareFile would be able to play a key role in its payroll department. ShareFile’s security strengths meant that Hawsons would be able to move away from the costly and time-consuming process of sending individual payslips by post, and move to a quicker, easier and more secure digital solution. ShareFile also meant Hawsons could transfer large and highly sensitive company payroll files quickly and securely.
A key driver of the decision to deploy Citrix ShareFile was its compatibility with Trumpet. The application enables Hawsons to create all its payslips on one PDF file, and Trumpet then works with ShareFile to split and encrypt each slip, ready to send securely to individual employees.
“The new process with Citrix ShareFile saves around 15 minutes for each payroll run,” explains Claire Pass, payroll department supervisor at Hawsons. “That may not seem like much but multiply that by several hundred clients each month and the savings start to become significant.”
The new process with Citrix ShareFile saves around 15 minutes for each payroll run. That may not seem like much, but multiply that by several hundred clients each month and the savings start to be become significant.
“A big part of what Citrix ShareFile did was make us reanalyze processes,” explains Kavazy. “We had a raft of monthly procedures and tasks that we realized weren’t really necessary anymore.”
These processes ranged from producing monthly printed tax to pay letters through series of reports that can now be produced automatically. “Citrix ShareFile cuts out a lot of intermediate steps. I used to spend days entering figures into spreadsheets and then passing them on to typists to produce written statements,” says Pass. “It was a very tedious job that we just don’t have to do anymore.”
With ShareFile now an integral part of Hawsons’ operations, Kavazy is now looking to the future. He sees increased use of ShareFile’s data-sharing capabilities by Hawsons’ tax department, and Hawsons are now also rolling out Citrix RightSignature across the business. “The tax department now has a very slick system,” he says, adding that ShareFile means tax preparation information comes in, is uploaded, processed and then simply fed back for approval and final repository. “The Corporate Finance department is also using ShareFile and RightSignature in buying and selling businesses.”
Kavazy concludes: “Any previous concerns that people may have had, such as about storing data in the cloud, are gone. For us, Citrix ShareFile is all about reliability, security, efficiency and simplicity.”