With a philosophy of ‘changing lives’, William Buck Victoria is passionate about the client experience. It’s no surprise then that the firm’s drive towards digital is about putting clients first.

Lalitha Koya, the firm’s IT Manager, shares how DocuSign has helped it achieve this goal and gain critical advantage in a crowded market.

Can you tell us more about William Buck Victoria and your approach to client service?

William Buck Victoria is part of a wider network of Chartered Accountants and advisors. The firm has been in operation for more than 120 years and now has over 90 directors and 500 professional staff working across Australia and New Zealand.

Our philosophy of changing lives is about creating positive change for our clients, employees and the wider community. This pushes us to seek out new ways of working and delivering exceptional service.

What motivated you to implement an eSignature solution?

It’s client driven. Our clients are increasingly tech-savvy and like everyone today, they want to do business in the most efficient, cost-effective way. So we started to think about how we could digitise our processes and make it easier for them to transact.

This led  to a re-haul of our tax return process  to DocuSign’s eSignature platform. The platform is now integrated with intapp workflow management software for a fully digitised tax return process.

Our people no longer need to print ten-plus page returns, paste on the ‘sign here’ stickers and send them out by courier to be signed. Nor do our clients need to contend with the hassle of scanning or posting these back. Instead, the process is now digital and frictionless for both clients and employees.

What other benefits are you seeing for clients?

In the past, it would take at least a week to get a client’s signature and then lodge his or her return. Today, more than 50% of returns are signed within the first 24 hours and can be lodged with the ATO on the very same day. So clients can enjoy the convenience of being able to sign their return from their computer or phone and receive their refunds  immediately.

Also, rather than chasing signatures, our employees are spending more quality time with clients and helping them achieve their goals.

How has going digital supported the wider goals of the firm? 

Our move to digital was really about putting our clients first but it’s also made the business model more sustainable. There are a lot of accounting firms out there and all kinds of apps. We can’t differentiate just by doing things faster. What we can do is lead by innovation and offer an experience that’s effortless all the way through. eSignature technology is an important part of that.

What’s next for William Buck Victoria when it comes to digitisation?

Now that we’re executing all our individual income tax returns through DocuSign, we plan to focus on digitising contracts and forms for superannuation. We are also looking at how we can use other cloud services to provide value to our clients.

What advice would you offer to other firms considering a move to digital?

People of all ages want to transact digitally today and if we don’t acknowledge this, we’re fooling ourselves. Also, there’s no question that digital processes drive better customer experiences.

My advice would be to embrace digital processes, get rid of any manual process that you find yourself repeating during the course of your day, and move past that roadblock of doing things the way they’ve always been done. I have to stress the value of having clearly defined processes with buy-in from the business. This can make or break your transformation.

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