Silverfin’s connected Working Papers solution sees 94% annual growth as companies shift from Excel to AI (2024)

  • Silverfin launches guide to breaking up with Excel and moving to connected working papers, featuring results from trailblazers Synergee, Larking Gowen, Gascoynes, Kinore, flinder, and Johnston Carmichael

Silverfin, specialists in cloud software for accountants, says that adoption of its connected Working Papers solution has rocketed over the last 4 years as leading accounting firms move away from Excel in favour of software that improves efficiency and delivers productivity gains using AI. Since 2020, Silverfin customers using live client data that flows into connected Working Papers have increased dramatically, with an annual growth rate of 94%.

In total, over 850 accountancy firms are using Silver’s cloud-based technology for working papers, taking advantage of its ability to automate and streamline the compliance work that was often done in unwieldy Excel spreadsheets. Today, some 340,000 working files are managed by Silverfin reducing the effort required by up to 50%.

Darren Austin, Co-founder and director of Synergee, explains that in 2020 the cumbersome nature of managing and maintaining spreadsheets became too great a burden and his firm needed to find another way to stop inefficiencies: “We reached a point where we spent as much time creating working papers or understanding someone else’s work as inputting numbers.”

“That’s something we wanted to turn around. Working with the standardised working papers in Silverfin for the past four years now, we’ve simplified training, and boosted our productivity and service quality remarkably”, Darren says.

Cameron Ford, general manager of Silverfin UK, says this conscious shift is happening across the board, driven by a need to provide higher value, higher margin services to clients, without compromising the basics: “Accounting firms are waking up to the reality that if they provide clients with more specialist advice, they will remain loyal and will put more business their way.”

“But, at a time when the industry is facing a skills and capacity crunch, it’s extremely hard to meet expectations and stay on top of the compliance work,” continues Cameron.

“More and more firms are questioning their processes, looking for ways to improve productivity and staff satisfaction while improving accuracy and automation. It’s leading them to reconsider the value of using Excel, especially at a time when AI is reducing errors and spotting anomalies so people can do a better quality job and have capacity to expand advisory services.”

It can feel like a wrench to move from Excel, but Silverfin’s new guide ‘Do you deserve more than Excel: Moving working papers beyond spreadsheets’ provides practical advice on making the move, including using Excel alongside Silverfin as a first step towards a more productive future.

Cameron explains why a blended approach can be a powerful one: “It might surprise you, but many of our clients still use Excel for specific tasks. And we don’t blame them. Excel is still a useful, versatile programme, and for many of them it’s the first tool they mastered – and the one their clients are familiar with.”

“However, there is no doubt that using Silverfin software to manage working papers, delivers enhanced consistency and standardisation, boosts capacity and saves time while improving team communication and collaboration.”

Top features of Silverfin’s platform:

  • Unified accounts preparation – Silverfin helps establish a single method for preparing and managing accounts, ensuring that best-practice workflows are followed consistently across firms.
  • Working papers are reviewed directly within the software – schedules can be signed off on or additional information can be requested. Changes are recorded, giving reviewers confidence that nothing is overlooked.
  • You only touch data once – with Silverfin you can ensure that as you prepare client accounts, related tasks like accounts production and corporation tax are automatically pre-filled.
  • Greater accuracy – The AI-powered Silverfin Assistant scans client files to detect errors or unusual transactions, improving quality and reducing errors. Accountants spend less time on manual error-checking and more time on providing value-added advisory services to clients.
  • Live bookkeeping sync – Client data is automatically pre-populated into Silverfin’s working papers. With added support from AI, data is mapped to relevant schedules, eliminating manual steps.
  • Time saving data rollovers – Rolling data forward into the next period can save hours as it eliminates the 30 minutes typically spent setting up Excel files, checking comparatives and verifying formulas.

Darren explains how these features have helped his practice automatically keep track of progress and benefit from prompts such as those that indicate the required next steps: “Silverfin enables us to see unreconciled accounts or unreviewed items easily, so managers know exactly what to look for and where the job stands at all times,” he adds.

Synergee will soon be moving all its statutory accounts and CT600 forms from its current software to Silverfin as well.

Darren explains: “Fully to Silverfin just makes sense, as it eliminates the export-import hassle and ensures consistency. It’ll increase our ability to quickly update data and speed up the process of getting accounts from review stage to final client sign-off stage.”

Download your free copy of the guide here.

About Silverfin:

Silverfin is a cloud platform with live client data, connected workpapers and AI that’s built by accountants for accountants. Silverfin dramatically improves the efficiency, accuracy and profitability of traditional post accounting work. With centralised data, standardised and automated workflows, this work takes hours rather than days.

Built by accountants for accountants, Silverfin supports over 340,000 client files a year for customers including 30 of the top 100 accounting firms in the UK.

Creating consistency and capacity, Silverfin helps firms thrive with improved quality, insights and the benefits of AI trained on accounting data. Our cloud Data Hub enables access to real-time data and eliminates errors so that preparing and submitting end-of-year accounts and corporation tax returns often takes 50% less time.

About Silverfin Assistant: Launched last year in the UK, Silverfin Assistant continuously analyses client files to find unusual balances, missing transactions and outliers. Flagging these and suggesting fixes, saves hours of manual checking, improves accuracy and improves client service.

Silverfin’s connected Working Papers solution sees 94% annual growth as companies shift from Excel to AI (1)

Silverfin’s connected Working Papers solution sees 94% annual growth as companies shift from Excel to AI (2024)
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