London Euston station. 25 years ago I took here the Caledonian Sleeper to Aberdeen, not stopping in-between. Today I am here with Nick and Santiago and will debord the 0930 Pendolino train to Glasgow in Warrington Bank Quay.
Warrington is a small town just about half way between Liverpool and Manchester. And it‘s home to Brookson, an accountancy firm.
Accountancy is one of those elements in business that make most yawn. Numbers are a very dry subject unless they reflect your bank account holdings. Most dreaded are numbers reflecting taxes due. Not normally a business that makes many people really excited.
Brookson is a … accountancy and advisory firm which started to focus a few years back on single contractors. An independent software consultant, a temporary management resource, an independent plumber. In the UK over 6m people work as contractors in all sectors.
Regulation brought in by her majesty‘s tax office HMRC forced a few years back all contracts to upgrade their financial booking efforts. While most traditional accountancy firms focus on small and midsize businesses, Brookson offered these contracts a good deal: compliant affordable auditing.
To serve a very cost conscious customer base Brookson set out to add technology to the mix. They brought in streamlined systems from business development, to sales, customer support and service and advisory.
Today my colleagues and I wanted to come to Warrington to see it all with our own eyes. And Brian Millrine our host took us for a ride.
Touring their offices the first thing that struck us was: This look distinctively non-accountancy like. It rather looks like the inside sales team of a software vendor. The room is organized around topics that matter to their customers: Advisory, tax, accountancy services, etc. And the room is full of people speaking with customers.
After a tour of the premises Brian took us to a meeting room where we discussed their current use of Squirro. You might have seen our case study, here we saw the case study live.
Brookson is using Squirro to analyze the tens of thousands of emails and call transcripts they receive and generate monthly. Quintessentially unstructured data. Until two years ago not used.
Now they get insights on the topics that matter to their customers, plus after training the engine they can recognize the quality of the customer relationship, detect anomalies, e.g. sudden upticks in certain inbound queries like tax self-assessment support, or VAT filing issues. With the anomaly and trend detection module they can predict incoming request types and adjust their staffing to better reply to their customers.
The answer is the conversation.
Back to London…