Case Study: MacGillivray

How a CPA used the cloud, Microsoft 365 and IT Managed Services to differentiate on client service

What the client said 

“We need three core services from Calligo – the consistent availability of the applications and the underlying cloud infrastructure, the security of the data, and the training on the tools to make sure our entire team is using them fully and uniformly.

"Calligo have constantly delivered on all three to such a high standard that they have become a lynchpin to us maintaining our market-beating productivity and commercial performance, and being able to continue to differentiate on service quality.” 

Dave Straughan, Tax Partner and IT lead, MacGillivray

 

 

 

Cut written-off time during tax season by 80% - only 3% of fee hours are lost to tax preparation, versus industry average of 25%.

 

Processes are so predictable and reliable that MacGillivray now differentiates by being unsually able to commit to delivery dates.

 Industry
Chartered Professional Accountancy (CPA)

 

 Location
Ontario, Canada

 

 3
overloaded on-premise servers

 

 Near-constant 
VPN failure

The client

 

MacGillivray is a public accounting firm providing expert accounting, assurance, auditing and business advisory services in the Greater Toronto Area.

 

Dave Straughan, a Tax Partner and MacGillivray’s IT lead, is a well-known evangelist in how CPAs can become more productive and profitable through the wider use of technology. As far back as 2006, MacGillivray was the first CPA firm in Canada to deploy Wolters Kluwer’s CCH Scan. The productivity gains seen from this led the company to investigate Wolters Kluwer’s wider portfolio and become an early adopter of many of Wolters Kluwer’s new releases over the years.

 

Straughan’s wider vision for the firm however was to take full advantage of cloud technology. This would make it easier to scale by giving all staff the ability to work securely from anywhere.

 

Previously, the firm was reluctantly reliant on three on-premise servers. As the firm grew, it did not take much for the servers to be overloaded, even when being accessed on-site, while the VPN was notoriously and consistently unreliable when working on clients’ sites. Scalability was a tangible problem.

 

After moving to new premises with improved connectivity, MacGillivray sought out a suitable partner. Calligo was chosen for its extensive experience in the CPA industry, plus its track record in minimal-downtime cloud migrations.  

Calligo services in summary

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Managed Cloud Services

“Migrating to the cloud is not a simple process. It requires substantial preparation, and the experience to be able to foresee potential obstacles and mitigate against them. Calligo was everything we needed."

 

 

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IT Managed Services

“Having built a firm off the back of a carefully-chosen suite of applications, we rely utterly on their availability and our efficient use of them. Calligo is also unusually qualified in its support of our needs as a CPA."

 

 

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Microsoft 365 Services

“We just became too frustrated with our ways of working. Calligo recommended that we switched to Office 365, as it would deliver all the functionality we needed, plus replace our investment in software upgrades."

 

 

 

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Service 1: Managed Cloud Services

 

Calligo designed and built a multi-VM Virtual Datacentre for MacGillivray, operating out of its Tier 3 facility in Barrie, Ontario, with private resource allocation running on the latest Microsoft virtualization technology. Because of Calligo’s strategic approach and the prior planning undertaken in partnership with MacGillivray, the migration went smoothly, with only the barest minimum impact on operations. Calligo also delivered MacGillivray’s core, business-critical applications, including CaseWare, Taxprep, CCH iFirm and CCH Document Management, hosted off the new cloud platform.

 

 

Service 2: IT Managed Services 

 

Calligo continued to support MacGillivray further by providing ongoing managed services, maintaining not only the cloud environment, but also the overall network. Calligo also perform ongoing monitoring, patching, security and backup services, plus assisting in employee on/offboarding and overall strategic guidance and recommendations.

 

Calligo has also extended this proactive support to MacGillivray’s core applications in order to further support their vision in making all employees as productive as possible. This service includes maintenance of the tools themselves, vendor liaison, and providing specific application-based training for existing team members and new users.

 

 

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Service 3: Managed Microsoft 365 Services

 

In early 2018, MacGillivray decided to further improve its productivity. Over the intervening time, it had deployed a variety of communication and collaboration tools. But because many of them overlapped, or were used by some team members and not others, the collection of tools had become fragmented and cumbersome. At various times, MacGillivray used Instant Messenger, Spark, Skype and Slack and others besides, alongside SharePoint and the standard suite of Microsoft Office products.

 

There was therefore a clear opportunity to consolidate the fragmented environment of non-CPA-specific tools and adopt Microsoft Office 365 instead. Not only would this replace many of the collaboration tools onto a single, recognised platform, but it would also avoid the need to renew software licences or risk file incompatibility within the business or with clients.

 

What the client said

"What makes Calligo different is their experience in our market. They have an ability to not only offer strategic guidance and expert execution on moving to the cloud, or security or back-ups – services that are vital for any business – but to also support our particular needs as a CPA by managing and training us on the industry-specific tools we use every day. It’s an essential combination.” 

Dave Straughan, Tax Partner and IT lead, MacGillivray

More about the services in this case study

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IT Managed Services

Keep your teams productive and boost profitability with a proactive, strategic and tailored managed IT service

 

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Microsoft 365 Services

Make your data available everywhere your employees are, through the industry-leading platform, delivered by Microsoft Partners.

 

orange-cubes-2Managed Cloud Services

Ensure the continuous availability, security and data privacy protection of your data with high performance managed cloud infrastructure 

 

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