Family Office – Anonymous

The Role of Knowledge Work Automation in Improving Document Management for a High-Net-Worth Family Office

Highlights

  • Workflow Automation Reduces Manual Tasks by 75%
  • End-to-end Knowledge Work Automation Platform Eliminates Information Chaos
  • Facilitating Transition to a Work from Anywhere Office
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Use Case

Asset Information Management
Digitalization
Process Management
Security and Compliance
Workflow Automation

Industry

Accounting & Financial Services
Private Wealth Management

Country

United States

Company Introduction

This U.S.-based family office provides a variety of financial services for a high-net-worth family. With offices across the globe, the firm also handles legal matters, as well as taxation services and investment management for the family.

Although the company serves a singular client, the sheer number of transactions, tax documents, and communications yields lots of data—data that has to be stored securely, searched easily, and captured automatically to improve process efficiency.

Key Challenges Before M-Files

Working with an outdated document management platform, the firm experienced a series of challenges.

"We found [the platform] to be not very intuitive or easy to use," the firm's IT director said.

With more than 70 employees, the firm needed a way to automate document creation and information management, as well as improving overall process efficiency.

"It wasn't easy to customize or change or do much other than be used as a repository, and it was still difficult to search and find information and documents within that document management system."

Other challenges included:

  • Documents were difficult to locate.
  • Problems with tracking document receipt and flow.
  • Lack of automated workflows for invoicing and investment transactions.

To address these challenges, the firm needed an industry-leading knowledge work automation platform.

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The M-Files Solution

"We were looking around in the market for a solution that would be easier to use; that would be very intuitive—something that the end users would look at it and go, 'I know how to do that without requiring much training,'" the IT director said. After reviewing M-Files, the IT director and team developed a unique use case to ensure M-Files would be a perfect fit.

Streamlined Investment Document Management

Every month, the firm receives several emails and documents from investment managers concerning the many investments the firm manages for the family.

"We'd receive an email from our investment managers about a new investor letter or a new financial statement," the IT director said. "We'd have to go to that website, log in, download it, and store it somewhere. However, with the older system documents were difficult to locate, creating information chaos. It was also difficult to assert that these packages of documents were completely received." The firm turned to M-Files initially to help optimize control of those investment documents.

"We wanted to be able to say definitively that we received all of the documents we should be receiving, and we can show that in a report," the IT director said.

The firm migrated all their investment documents into a dedicated M-Files vault and deployed an automated, custom reporting process that allowed users to quickly identify if documents were missing from the package. Since those reports automatically include correct names, titles, and other information—thanks to the power of metadata—users could trust the accuracy of that information.

With M-Files, information is saved by defining its type and business context rather than where a particular user saves it. When a user searches for information, results can be narrowed down with filters and show related information.

In addition, views allow structuring information according to department, team or personal preferences, providing a familiar folder-like interface.

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"It's not just a document management system for us—it's not just storing our documents. It's about centralizing all that information and data into a single location and simplifying it, so everybody knows that's exactly where they need to go—all thanks to M-Files."

IT Director, Family Office

"One of the main features that we found to be a benefit with M-Files was the fact that we could create these views of dynamic folders," the IT director said. "We can create a folder structure that's unique to each group or set of people that would still point to the same document." For example, the firm attorneys wanted to look at documents in terms of year or client compared to a tax accountant who might be interested in seeing a specific type of tax return spanning numerous years.

Improved Cashflow Approval Process with Workflows

To streamline accounting processes, the firm uses M-Files to create a cashflow workflow as applied to receiving cashflow distributions or contributions requests for investments. Requests for both are automatically uploaded into M files, triggering a seamless approval process across all necessary stakeholders. Along the path of that approval process, M-Files automatically integrates with other systems.

"At the end of it, we'll have approved the entire process—from receiving the cashflow request all the way to actually integrating it into their payment system that sends that cashflow request out," the IT director said.

Driving Work from Home Transformation

During the COVID lockdown, the firm used M-Files to create a custom payment-approval/invoicing process that could be executed from anywhere and integrated directly into the firm's accounting system, freeing up knowledge workers to work from home when needed.

"You could create the payment request from M-Files and that would then generate a payment or an invoice inside the accounting system, and then complete the payment process—all integrated," the IT director said.

"We're a hybrid organization now. Prior to the pandemic, we were all on-premises. M-Files was one of the key reasons we were able to transition so successfully."

Integrations with Other Systems

M-Files has the power to connect systems across the firm to ensure there is single source of truth and users are not manually updating information across many systems. According to the IT director, after moving from Dynamics GP to Sage Intacct for their accounting system they continued to integrate further with M-Files.

"By forming an M-Files link, a URL, and using specific metadata properties that exist in both Sage Intacct and inside in M-Files, we're able to click on a link inside of Sage Intacct which will open up the document inside of M-Files directly."

The Results

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"I'm a huge fan of M-Files. I love to see the constant improvements, features and iterations that M-Files is putting into their product. I would highly recommend this solution—it's very flexible and easy to use."

IT Director, Family Office

M-Files has allowed the firm to organize documents so workers can easily find and use them in the proper business context.

"It's allowing us to centralize our information instead of having disparate silos of information in different types of databases and systems," the IT director said. "It's not just a document management system for us—it's not just storing our documents. It's about centralizing all that information and data into a single location and simplifying it, so everybody knows that's exactly where they need to go—all thanks to M-Files."

Working Smarter

Today, the firm's knowledge workers can save and find information quickly and smoothly. Users don't have to remember where certain documents need to be placed and don't have to search information by trial and error by navigating across systems and folder hierarchies. In addition, they can always trust they are looking at the right version of the information.

In the past, the firm used a full-time worker just to download investment documents manually. Now, that same worker can easily input them into M-Files and start an automated workflow, avoiding the drudgery of a mind-numbing, manual task.

"This person now is probably spending 25 percent of their time now doing that versus 100 percent of their time before," the IT director said. In short, M-Files helps the firm's workers find information faster, work smarter, and achieve more.

"I'm a huge fan of M-Files. I love to see the constant improvements, features and iterations that M-Files is putting into their product," the IT director said. "I would highly recommend this solution—it's very flexible and easy to use."

Why M-Files?

M-Files is the leading platform for knowledge work automation. With the M-Files platform, knowledge workers can find information faster, work smarter, and achieve more. M-Files features an innovative metadata-driven architecture, embedded workflow engine, and advanced artificial intelligence. This enables customers to eliminate information chaos, improve process efficiency, and automate security and compliance.