Deloitte Private has disrupted its own business model and the accounting industry with its Private Connect platform. It has streamlined and enhanced the way it delivers its accounting services and, with DocuSign, transformed workplace productivity.

Michael Clarke, Chief Strategy Officer for Deloitte Private, discusses the vision behind the Private Connect platform and how using DocuSign has helped it prepare for a world with robots and learning machines.

Can you tell us more about Deloitte Private and the Private Connect platform?

We provide complex advisory, core compliance, and finance function support to help Australia’s largest private businesses solve some of their most complex problems.

Private Connect has evolved from a need to disrupt our own business model and streamline the way we deliver our accounting services. With the continued pace of change arising from disruptive technologies, like electronic signatures, we knew the professional services industry was ripe for change. Looking for ways to streamline our back office processes by removing friction for clients and practitioners became a priority.

Now operational, the Private Connect platform is a fully integrated ecosystem, providing practitioners with tools to service clients faster and more effectively. These include cloud ledger technology, automated bookkeeping, and digital applications like Xero and QuickBooks.

A unique aspect of the platform is that it provides tax and compliance services 365 days a year for a fixed fee subscription. Others in the professional services space traditionally operate on a time and materials basis.

What led you to integrate an eSignature solution into the platform?

We had removed several points of friction in the delivery of our services but one significant issue remained: client engagement letters were still handled manually and required physical signatures.

This process was costly, inefficient, and cumbersome for both clients and staff. It involved a lot of printing and faxing for clients and time spent chasing signatures for staff. We wanted to make the process easier for everyone and reduce the average turnaround time on letters which, at that point, was seven and a half days.

What does the client engagement process look like today?

Practitioners can now quickly create and send engagement letters using DocuSign. They can also set automated reminders, eliminating the hassle of chasing signatures.

From a service perspective, the new process is much more in tune with clients’ needs. They no longer need to find time to print or scan. They can sign and execute engagement letters from anywhere. As a result, 40% of engagement letters are now turned around within one hour.

What other benefits have you experienced from using DocuSign?    

Enabling our clients to complete engagement letters digitally has instantly improved the ease and convenience of onboarding. It’s also improved document security, which was a key objective in partnering with DocuSign.

The most significant results, however, stem from the efficiency gains. The use of DocuSign has resulted in related cost savings across the end-to-end signing process in excess of $1 million.. It has also given us more time to be proactive with our clients and fostered a culture of continuous improvement.

How does this project connect to your broader focus on innovation? What’s next for the organisation?

This project has set the bar high for the rest of Deloitte Australia, which now plans to streamline the hundreds of engagement letters it uses today. With the use of eSignatures, we’re also able to structure our workforce around more automated processes and prepare for a word where many will be working with new channels beyond the balance sheet – even collaborating with robots and learning machines.

In the near term, we are also very interested in DocuSign’s innovation in the payments space. Our model has been to be disruptive around billing and costs and we see the potential to take that further.

Interested to learn how DocuSign can take your business digital? Sign up for a free 30 day trial today.

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