This week, we sit down with Andrew Sims from cloud file management provider SuiteFiles to talk about the history of the company, why clients and accountants need to use SuiteFiles and our exciting business partnership.
Andrew Sims, General Manager at SuiteFiles
How did SuiteFiles begin?
Like most businesses, we started SuiteFiles in response to a need. Microsoft was launching its cloud services for business, but the option for document management was limited. The system (SharePoint Online) was largely designed for big, enterprise businesses. SMEs didn’t (and still don’t) have the expertise, time, energy and cash to think about how SharePoint could work for them.
That’s when we started looking at ways to make file management in the cloud really, really simple for small and medium-sized businesses. While there were plenty of other software options for this niche, we felt that they didn’t solve their specific needs in an easy way.
The decision to build our solution on Microsoft’s cloud platform, Office 365, was based on the fact that a vast majority of businesses still use and rely on desktop Office. Adopting SuiteFiles became a much easier decision if customers could continue to work with the Office apps they already knew and loved.
SuiteFiles has been hugely popular with accountants outside the UK, particularly those using Xero. Why is that?
At this point, SuiteFiles has the most comprehensive integration with Xero’s Practice Manager app. It’s also the only document management system that integrates with Xero HQ. Xero doesn’t have a file management component, so SuiteFiles fills that gap.
SuiteFiles’ popularity, especially with accountants, has grown because people find the system very easy to use. Setting it up for your business is painless and our integration points with Xero mean we add many small points of productivity in an ordinary day for an accountant.
Xero has also done a fantastic job promoting cloud computing to accounting firms. The industry has simply embraced the cloud a lot more than others, and we’ve benefited from this.
What are the top 3 benefits of SuiteFiles for accountants?
Firstly, you can turn your server off. When a business decides to operate in the cloud, files are generally the last thing they migrate off a server because a) it can be hard to do, b) they don’t have the internal knowledge or skills, or c) it can be expensive. Doing file migration badly can mean that the file structure later on is hard to use. SuiteFiles has its own migration tool that makes moving your files efficient and pain-free. We work with you to ensure your file system is set up correctly so that you can hit the ground running in the cloud from Day 1.
Secondly, accountants still get a lot of files and important info coming into their inboxes, and often it gets trapped there – it’s not accessible to their wider team and it’s difficult to find later. For this reason, accountants really love SuiteFiles’ email management features and the ability to easily save file attachments and correspondence directly into your file system. This transforms email from some information in your inbox into a corporate asset for your business because all of your colleagues can access the information.
Thirdly, our integration with Xero – lots of small file management tasks can get automated through this integration, like creating a new client folder in SuiteFiles when you set up a new client in XPM, or being able to see your client folders and files from SuiteFiles within XPM. Client data from XPM can also be used to prepopulate file and email templates in SuiteFiles.
SuiteFiles has recently partnered with Bridge3 to provide localised support and guidance around data management – Why was it important to you to partner with Bridge3?
SuiteFiles is an ambitious company and Xero has been growing rapidly in the UK. We have a great customer base in New Zealand and Australia, with a number of excellent partners who are helping us expand our reach. SuiteFiles is based in New Zealand, so the time zone difference between us and the UK presents certain challenges. We really needed people on the ground there who could have conversations and provide support in the same time zone as our UK customers.
As a Practice Studio Partner, Bridge3 are ideally suited to partnering with SuiteFiles. They are already talking to many accounting firms about Xero Practice Manager. Adding SuiteFiles to the conversation is a simple, natural extension to that.
Discover more at Accountex 2018
Bridge3 and SuiteFiles will be at Accountex, May 23-24. Come visit the team at Stand 570!