Baker Tilly International, one of the world’s leading networks of independently owned and managed accountancy and business advisory firms, has turned to cloud collaboration technology to connect its international network of member firms and provide a standard portal service for their clients worldwide. Using Huddle, 154 member firms in 133 countries now have the ability to collaborate seamlessly on cross-border projects – such as bids – in a secure central environment, sharing experience, expertise and best practices. As well as increasing efficiency internally, global teams can easily create secure portals for client engagements, providing a consistent and efficient approach to communication.
With 27,000 people based in almost 700 offices worldwide, one of the advantages of Baker Tilly International’s network is its teams’ ability to draw on in-depth local knowledge and expertise across a wide range of industry and business sectors. With firms based in numerous territories, under different jurisdictions and using their own systems, Baker Tilly International required a standard platform on which all parties could work together.
Traditionally, member firms used platforms that had been developed internally – such as Microsoft SharePoint – for communication. The firm that was leading a tender or assignment would then use their portal with all other parties involved. This resulted in a significant amount of time being spent getting teams up and running as people learned how to use different systems and there were additional hurdles when providing teams across the firewall with secure access to content. Paul Ginman, Chief Operating Officer, Baker Tilly International, explains:
“Teaching people how to use a new technology every single time we embarked on a new project was inefficient. When you have numerous people working on one file, trying to deliver one specific outcome, there’s often the temptation to go back and forth via email or use tools such as Dropbox. As a lot of the documents we’re dealing with are extremely sensitive and confidential, consumer tools such as Dropbox or emails have associated cyber security risks. They simply don’t cut it anymore. We needed a standard system for consistency purposes and a service that would provide us with full version control and audit trails, so we had an increased level of accountability, transparency and visibility. Increasingly, prospects were also requesting access to secure global client portals as part of their bid compliance.”
Baker Tilly International selected Huddle due to its government security credentials, ease of use and the fact people could seamlessly work on the same content regardless of what firm they worked for and jurisdiction they were in. Content can now be easily created and updated via Huddle, with approvals and tasks being set for key firms to ensure that actions are completed. Details of various billing rates, expenses and employee levels can be stored and revised centrally and everyone can view work schedules and ensure key milestones are met.
“Baker Tilly International is a great example of an organization that needs to connect its entire enterprise ecosystem – partners, customers and suppliers – to relevant content,” said Alastair Mitchell, President and Co-founder, Huddle. “To maintain a competitive advantage, professional services firms need to be able to work effectively across geographical and organizational boundaries, delivering exceptional client service. I’m delighted that Huddle provided Baker Tilly International with the accessibility and scalability it needed to meet and exceed its clients’ demands.”
Baker Tilly International strengthens Huddle’s already impressive professional services credentials, with customers such as Grant Thornton and Williams Lea using the service for file sharing and collaboration.