How DFK Hirn Newey Conquered the Chaos of Technological Overload.

Last Updated on October 30, 2019 by Owen McGab Enaohwo


DFK Hirn Newey is a B2B company with 30 full-time employees in the financial and professional services space. This accounting firm is made up of consultants and business advisors who help solve the varied issues related to accounting, taxation, and information technology their customers come to them with.

The company’s next big goal is to get all their software applications talking to each other and working seamlessly. This will improve the company’s overall efficiency.

Highlights of Results DFK Hirn Newey Got from Using SweetProcess:

  • Successfully implemented a complex software stack by documenting procedures and policies
  • Created and implemented a company Notice Board that allows employees to see all important changes at a glance and radically cut down on the back and forth emails
  • Got the highest ranking they could possibly get with their professional certification

Listen to the audio interview:

A Tangled Web of Procedures and Policies

Paul Fiumara is the director of DFK Hirn Newey.

Paul Fiumara the director of DFK Hirn Newey.

He is responsible for finding and implementing cutting-edge technology solutions that help the company do their work more efficiently.

As one of the leaders in the organization, Fiumara knew that policies and procedures would play an important role in maintaining compliance in an industry with many and varied professional obligations. But he soon discovered that communication was a problem, and to further aggravate matters, he described the process of getting key information down in a written document as a “burdensome task.”

Fiumara was not deterred by the challenge at hand and attempted to implement written procedures and checklists. But this only added to the complexity, with procedures living in applications, the minds of employees, or in an instruction manual. These weren’t the only kinks to be worked out, as the company was also experiencing challenges connected to keeping procedure documents up to date, making sure key staff members had access to the systems, and ensuring compliance.

This was all underpinned by one fundamental factor: the rapid introduction of new software in the company. Fiumara says there was quite a bit of pushback from staff as the company was beginning to adopt new software stacks. For better or worse, it was inevitable in an industry where technology was quickly changing.

The biggest cost in attempting to systematize the business was having to retrain staff on new software. Fiumara explains he had to face a myriad of problems while trying to keep up with the latest tech:

“The staff would get disgruntled, they’d refuse to comply, we’d have to redo the work, some employees would leave and others we had to ask to let go and it just wasn’t working out.”

Fiumara further expounded:

“As leaders, we’d often have ideas about what we wanted to achieve in a day, but something would inevitably pop up with our clients and their crisis became our crisis.”

Prior to finding SweetProcess, Fiumara found himself constantly having to put out fires instead of focusing on high-level tasks that would allow the business to function more effectively.

An Industry Transitioning into the Digital Age

The electronic delivery of services is a relatively new phenomenon in the financial and professional services space. Traditionally, accounting firms relied on paper-based systems. There used to be a manual process for just about everything, including client work.

This, Fiumara posits, is why systematizing the company became so important to him. He noted that the processes and procedures around the electronic delivery of services was poor.

“That means the more automation, the more potential for problems,”

said Fiumara.

He offered an analogy to illustrate what was going wrong with electronic systems:

“It’s like going to the airport. You get a tag for your bag, put it on the conveyor belt, get it scanned, and somehow it ends up at your destination. Previously, when you went to the airport, you’d hand your bag over, someone would manually tag your luggage, it would get personally delivered to the aircraft you were flying on. But nowadays, it just gets scanned and off it goes—very few people touch it.”

Fiumara shared that, in his business, the moment something gets sent off electronically, very few hands touch it.

So, if you don’t have your systems well in hand, just like luggage on a plane, you end up traveling to Los Angeles while your bags arrive in Calcutta.

With traditional paper-based systems, someone along the chain would pick up on mistakes. But the technology is beginning to remove those intervening steps.

“So, we need to ensure we’re doing everything correctly, because there is no second chance,”

offered Fiumara.

Finding SweetProcess

Fiumara knew that he wanted a cloud-based procedure manual. So, he did an internet search and up came SweetProcess.

After evaluating it alongside Administration Manager Jessica, he noted that the program seemed to tick all their boxes.

He was not skeptical of SweetProcess. Though there were some structural items he wanted to see implemented, he noted that the ongoing improvements eventually got the software to the point where it needed to be.

Once Fiumara and Jessica finished their evaluation of SweetProcess, they presented it to all the other directors in the company and they were happy with it.

The company started taking advantage of SweetProcess by documenting procedures on how to use their various computer applications. Once they documented everything to do with software, they started tackling other areas of the company.

“Writing procedures used to be burdensome.”

But Fiumara noted:

“Documenting procedures in SweetProcess cut that anxiety down a lot, and it did from the very beginning.”

He continued,

“The big thing for us was the speed of implementing a policy or procedure and then notifying our staff.”

Innovating with SweetProcess and Ensuring Complete Compliance

Fiumara is particularly proud of two things he achieved with SweetProcess:

First, he created a Notice Board within the program.

He noticed that each week everybody in the organization would be firing off emails at each other which contained information about some changes to procedures. So, his staff was continually bombarded with emails describing what to do and what not to do. Not surprisingly, it became challenging for his team to stay up to date and remain compliant.

To cut down on overload, he created the Notice Board. Within the Notice Board, the individual steps became the notice items he wants his people to be aware of from week to week. With this central repository in place, his staff was no longer bombarded with messages all day long. Thanks to this procedure, they also ended up with a permanent record of changes.

They have some fun with the Notice Board too, incorporating humor, birthday notices and so on, into the steps. This took a huge pressure off the staff.

Second, Fiumara noted that every four to five years, the company must get an independent review done for certifications in the office, which is conducted through their professional bodies.

“It’s quite a big deal. If we don’t get certified, we could have our licenses removed. So, it’s important that we pass this,”

shared Fiumara.

The reviewers are tasked with looking specifically at procedures and policies to ensure compliance.

Last year, Fiumara sat down with Jessica to ensure every procedure was documented within SweetProcess. They even referenced their professional standards and quoted the correct sections.

So, when the reviewer came to their office, they were able to show complete compliance with all professional obligations because it was properly documented within SweetProcess. As a result, they got the highest ranking they could possibly get for professional certification.

And, perhaps most importantly, Fiumara no longer spends his days putting out fires.

When a job comes in, employees log in to SweetProcess and use the procedures as their guide.

“If they’re not sure about something, or if there’s a new staff member, we introduce SweetProcess. Everything to do with our organization lives in there. So, we navigate them through it, explain how to use it, and send them off,” said the proud director.

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