A forward-thinking and enthusiastic start-up, Qualitas Medical Assurance is an IT company providing a cloud-based solution in medico-legal reporting, based in Bolton. Set up in early 2015, the business began trading in April 2015 and posted turnover of £116,000 in the two months to June 2015. It has 15 members of staff and was founded by Dr David Pearce and Peter Laithwaite in response to government reform on medico-legal reporting.
Since 6 April 2015, anyone commissioning a medical report on a soft tissue injury must source it via MedCo, the Ministry of Justice’s central hub, which randomly allocates medical experts or reporting organisations to cases. Qualitas was a planned product entry on the day the legal reforms were unveiled by the government.
It was set up to embrace that change, securing the government’s objective of removing any direct link between the instructing party and the expert or medical research organisation. The business aims to give clients the confidence that the medical research organisation they pick from that process will have the best in-class systems and business processes in order to fulfil their professional obligations to their clients.
Having run previous businesses in the same sector – one of which they sold to a large plc – Pearce and Laithwaite had used Sage Line 50 and Line 200, but found there was room for error through using a manual process.
What they really wanted was an accounting and bookkeeping system that was more in tune with the innovative outlook of their business, providing an accurate and easy-to-use method.
Why Qualitas choose JacRox:
“My help desk staff don’t really understand accounting and so people could get it wrong when having to import three files and carry out manual exports,” Pearce says. “So I was looking for a cloud-based solution with an API to really simplify the integration between a cloud-based case management system.”
Pearce had known Jack Ross Chartered Accountants for some time, having used them as accountants for his first business in 2000. He was looking for a Xero cloud accounting provider that knew the product in detail and could come up with a solution to best suit his needs. Their JacRox business, which specialises in Xero, seemed to be the perfect fit. JacRox recognises that clients need an accountancy offering outside of the 9am-5pm working day, and combines years of Jack Ross Chartered Accountants experience with cutting edge technology. Clients can access their accounts information anytime and from anywhere in the world, with information saved in the cloud, meaning there is no software to install and no updates to run. The cloud-based element means the information can be accessed remotely by the JacRox Xero accounting team and reviewed to help clients improve their business.
The system generates multiple invoices at the click of a button and in some instances clients have reported that they often receive payment from customers much quicker due to the simple nature of the system. The software links with a client’s online business bank account and will show when payment has been received so bank reconciliation is far swifter and easier to manage. Xero also allows firms to pinpoint the good payers and potentially bad payers.
Financial data can also provide useful information, clearly showing the strengths, weaknesses and the performance of different parts of a business. The JacRox offering allows customers to choose from a selection of tiered packages, with free training in Xero included to ensure their employees are able to navigate the system.
As Pearce comments: “Everything we do is pay-per-click or pay monthly so the whole JacRox approach fitted nicely with our more modern way of doing business.”
What JacRox did to help:
Qualitas provides a cloud-based system and JacRox was able to come up with a system to integrate this with Xero. Rather than merely providing the package, Pearce needed an accountancy firm that could see the bigger picture and had the technical capability to link into his case management system. At JacRox we understand how businesses work and are able to get “under their skin” to create and deliver bespoke packages for them and create a partnership to work together. We pulled together a dedicated team that would work on the system and provide a single point of contact for the client throughout the life of the project. This also offered the opportunity for a shared understanding that could then be flow through work with future clients.
Integration of the Xero accounting software into the Qualitas case management system was an intricate part of the process, made possible by our technical expertise and in-depth knowledge of the product. Now when a Qualitas client raises a sales invoice in the system, it is mirrored by raising a purchase invoice with their supplier; at the same time it creates entries in the Qualitas trust account.
Pearce comments: “Our clients all run independent businesses but they use our case management platform. They have to use a number of agencies and what we do is create an account to enable them to take payment to one central trust account using Xero. To be able to offer a single cloud-based solution that we can integrate with Xero was a perfect fit; JacRox provided the set up and the API integration.”
Improvements made by using Xero:
Clear advantages of this thoroughly efficient and modern system include the time-saving aspect for the user coupled with removal of the potential for error. The system generates reference numbers and multiple copies of documents, which ultimately saves time on both sides with regards data input.
As Pearce adds: “With one click of a button our user is creating accounting entries in three different accounting systems which, from a paper point of view, would probably be 20 to 30 minutes’ work. With Xero it’s one click in 15 seconds and we’ve created six different accounting entries in three different packages. It has completely changed the administration in terms of efficiencies, data input and errors.”
The difference JacRox made:
Qualitas approached JacRox in February 2015 and by the end of April 2015 we had their Xero system up and running. We created a footprint for the set-up of the accounts, which could be followed multiple times across the client’s customers and can be used on future projects. As the client commented, it was an “end-to-end service”.
Qualitas estimates that the introduction of Xero software has reduced the accounting burden by taking out 70 per cent of the costs of the accounting function from these organisations. As well as the financial implications, the project has reduced the potential for clerical error, a big selling point for all those involved.
Xero accounting software has been developed to allow business owners with a non-financial background to be able to use and navigate easily. Qualitas works with doctors and medical professionals, many of whom may not have a business background, and having Xero in place reduces the amount of time they need to spend on administration. As an added benefit, bringing all of a company’s financial data into one place using Xero technology can help shine a spotlight on a business. It means clients are able to spot strengths, weaknesses and the performance can clearly be seen at any point in the year.
The simplicity and accuracy of the system has taken the stress out of accounting as “Xero does all the work”, says Pearce. “Historically we’d have printed out an invoice, written a covering letter and put it all in an envelope. You press a button and 15 seconds later it’s all done for you. It improves not only efficiency but data integrity which, in accounts, is obviously the most crucial thing.”
How the client felt at the start of the implementation:
At the helm of an innovative young business himself, Pearce says he was deeply enthusiastic about the future of his organisation with Xero on board. Qualitas had, and still has, huge aspirations to provide a solution that works within the spirit of the government reforms and with the solicitors and medical research organisations in a market that was fragmented.
He comments: “Through Xero and the trust account, and from an administrative point of view, we could offer the solicitors and medical research organisations we work with exactly what they needed. They have to work with different organisations but they also have to conform to a business standard. By working with a partner who understood the finance technology and what we were trying to achieve, we could achieve our goal of creating a company that has been rapidly successful with a robust solution. We were successful but we weren’t overtrading because it was done properly.”
How the client felt at the end of the implementation:
Although there is more work to do, Pearce has hailed a successful implementation of the strategy because it was done properly. Ninety-five per cent of Qualitas’s customers have implemented a Xero system through JacRox.
Pearce has praised the cost, efficiency and speed of bringing the system to market. He comments: “We could have chosen to create our own accounts package but that’s just reinventing the wheel and we’d never be able to invest the money and experience that Xero and JacRox have in providing and supporting our accounts package. It’s a classic example of cloud-based IT working conjunction with other cloud-based platforms to transform business.”
The benefits to other users:
The knock-on effect of the Qualitas project has been the service we have gone on to provide for its clients in the medical profession, most of whom have no expertise in accounting and have appreciated the ease of access to this solution.
Pearce says: “Our clients can walk in and buy a package off a shelf for less than £500 up front and know that it is simple, reliable and efficient. I’ve told doctors that even if you treat Xero as an Excel spreadsheet then you should still buy it because if puts your records into an orderly fashion. This is 100 per cent integrated into our case management system and the costs and set-up costs are low.”
The benefits to Xero are that it can be accessed via any device rather than just one computer, as with traditional accounting software, and all software updates are free. The software also has the ability to grow with and at the rate of the business and has add-ons enabling a bespoke solution for any business, making it suitable for the types of businesses working with Qualitas.