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20 January 2015

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Case Study: The Tax Guys

The Tax Guys are a team of Chartered Tax Advisers and Chartered Certified Accountants. With their client base predominantly privately owned SMEs, the company’s aim is simple: to make doing business less taxing. They deliver on their ambition too; their Client Satisfaction Survey showing they were rated as ‘Very Good or Excellent’ when it came to overall service by 97.7% of their clients.

As a growing business recognising the importance of a consistent service, ISO 9001 was chosen as the framework to help The Tax Guys get to the next level.

The challenge

The Tax Guys

As a company committed to delivering the best service possible, Senior Partner at The Tax Guys Jonathan Amponsah was conscious of the growing pains that can affect small businesses;

“Many small businesses simply do not work because the processes are only inside the head of the owner; there are no systems in place. Without the owner, the business can’t run, limiting development. So as a growing firm, it was really important that we approached things in the right way.”

Implemented by more than a million organisations around the world, Jonathan began investigating ISO 9001 in May 2013 as a potential framework to get the right foundations in place. The Quality Management standard is intended to create a work environment where its people know exactly who does what, when, how and why. This increased understanding and harmony has been shown in studies to increase staff motivation, engagement and productivity – vital attributes for a business looking to grow. When deciding on ISO 9001 as the right path, Jonathan commented;

“I’m a great advocate of having a business that is dependent on systems, rather than the owner. I felt it was really important that we implemented an international standard to help take the business to the next level; ISO 9001 looked like the right fit.”

The solution

With ISO 9001 decided upon, the next decision was to choose a Certification Body. Being new territory, it was vital that The Tax Guys found a Certification Body that had suitable experience. Jonathan explained the selection criteria, which led to BAB being chosen;

“I shortlisted and spoke with three certification bodies. In the end, BAB were able to confirm that they had worked with an accountancy practice in the past and that was the deal clincher. The initial process of fact finding, quotation and contract signing was also quicker.”

The start of the certification process begins with an initial Stage 1 visit by a BAB auditor. As part of this, a Gap Analysis is included so new companies such as The Tax Guys can ascertain exactly what areas they need to work on before they are ready for their formal audit. Jonathan recalled the experience;

“Although we had systems in place, the Stage 1 audit did reveal several non-conformities and naturally one becomes overwhelmed. However, the auditor reassured us and explained the standard in plain terms, with what was needed to be achieved and why.”

As The Tax Guys were left to prepare for their Stage 2 certification audit, Jonathan went on to explain their approach after their first visit;

“Once our quality manual was implemented, everything else seemed to fall into place. Although it took time, effort and resource, I was beginning to enjoy working on the business rather than in the business.”

The Tax Guy’s hard work paid off, as once ready for the Stage 2 audit, the firm achieved certification first time. From the initial visit, Jonathan and his team had implemented an effective Quality Management System in just three months. Jonathan summed up his thoughts of the process, saying;

“It was a very positive experience with our auditor Ann. We received very useful feedback to improve further and over the course of implementation, she was always responsive to our queries, and showed she really believes in what she does. The whole experience with Ann has been an important part of the process.”

The results

With their quality management credentials verified by an independent third-party, The Tax Guys are able to give further confidence to both new and existing clients that they are customer-focused and can deliver on their promises. Jonathan explained how ISO 9001 has helped him and his team already;

“Reviewing our systems again and getting client feedback has been invaluable; giving me two ideas to work on to delight our clients.”

He also commented on how the internal improvements gained from implementation will have a knock-on effect in helping to deliver an even better service for clients;

“What we now have in place is invaluable. Having documented processes from initial client enquiry, to service fulfilment means that the client receives the same quality and consistent service irrespective of who does the job. During a staff meeting recently, staff members commented that they can see where the firm is heading and they all seem pleased with the efforts put in to achieve the certification.”

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