Armstrong Watson, Accountants, Business and Financial Advisers have been supporting, advising, and protecting clients across North England and Scotland for over 155 years. As experienced business advisers, they provide their clients with a full range of services including accountancy, audit, tax, payroll, corporate finance, financial planning, wealth management, forensic accounting, bespoke outsourced finance functions, client technology and corporate recovery and insolvency.

Armstrong Watson are an established name that has 19 regional offices. Their large team is trusted by their clients to not only provide advice and key services but also to help them to achieve prosperity, a secure future and peace of mind.

As an accountancy firm that offers both standard and specialist accounting services accurate, up-to-date, and actionable data is a necessity to their business.

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How Armstrong Watson used Red Flag Alert to streamline their data services, future-proof their CRM efforts and enable business growth

The challenges

Armstrong Watson faced several challenges.

Firstly, they were acquiring data from numerous providers, and this meant that their data was delivered and split across several different platforms. Working with different providers meant that their spend was significantly higher than it should be, without the efficiency that they needed. There was also a secondary cost of having to train staff across numerous platforms.

This strategy led to teams across the business gravitating and specializing in a single platform. Individual teams were not getting the full benefit of all the data available to them and, across the business, teams were not looking at the same data. This made it difficult for data to be actionable. Data from various sources would be compiled into Excel documents which are not user-friendly and make key items easy to miss.

Secondly, Armstrong Watson wished to implement a CRM system. However, one of the greatest challenges around CRM systems is that they can be a resource drain and are prone to human error. In general, it can be a struggle to get consistency with data entry, and this results in inconsistent client and contact information, data being missed from the system, and information that is not always up to date. This reduces the usefulness of a CRM system and means the benefits of introducing one are outweighed by the negatives, and not worth the expense and time. 

Lastly, the implementation of a new CRM system would require training a large number of employees, across 19 offices. Getting these teams up to speed on the updated business processes alongside a new business data platform would be a difficult task, and staff that were comfortable using historic and existing platforms may be resistant to change. For the endeavour to be worthwhile, the benefits must be significant and quick to materialize.


The solutions

Red Flag Alert was ideally placed to solve the challenges facing Armstrong Watson.

The Red Flag Alert platform had been used by the insolvency and restructuring team at Armstrong Watson for close to a decade; our business health rating score being especially useful to them. Whilst other departments used different systems, our platform could provide the information they needed. By consolidating to Red Flag Alert as their sole data provider, Armstrong Watson cut down their annual spend on purchasing data. At the same time, they ensured every team in the business was receiving the same information and were able to get visibility across Armstrong Watson’s full data compliment within one platform. Quite simply, because data sets were easier for teams to access, analyse and share across the business it became much easier to action.

Armstrong Watson were able to solve the issue of data entry into a CRM system by using Red Flag Alert’s CRM data enrichment feature. Red Flag Alert can tie directly into a CRM system and update each record with the most recent company and contact data. In this manner, staff would not need to spend time entering data into the CRM system and Armstrong Watson would be able to access the full benefit of a CRM system as soon as it is implemented, with minimal time and money spent on data entry by staff.

The implementation of Red Flag Alert across the company was smooth. Prior to a contract being signed, representatives from Red Flag Alert met with key data users who worked across other platforms. By demonstrating the Red Flag Alert platform to them, the expanded features it provides and how these would help them, these key users understood the first-hand benefits of the change in process. They fully bought into using the Red Flag Alert system.

Once commercials were agreed upon, switching all staff over to Red Flag Alert was seamless. It simply required them to log into the Red Flag Alert platform in place of that they previously had used. Red Flag Alert Customer Success Managers hosted training sessions to teach staff how to use the system and its capabilities. 

The future

 As Red Flag Alert and Armstrong Watson continue to work together the future looks bright.

By consolidating to one data supplier and simplifying how staff access data, Armstrong Watson have effectively improved their processes to power and grow their business. For example, by starting to include consulting Red Flag Alert company reports and checking our rating system as part of the prospecting and due diligence process, Armstrong Watson can ensure they take on clients of an ideal size that will be able to pay on time.

Red Flag Alert are working with Armstrong Watson’s forensic accountants to develop our platform to better suit their needs. This is a project that all Red Flag Alert customers will benefit from and is part of our continued commitment to best serve UK businesses.

As Armstrong Watson prepare to implement a CRM system to their business, Red Flag Alert will continue to work alongside them to wash and enrich their records. Through this process, they will straight away reap the benefits a CRM system brings without the pain of extensive data entry, maintaining records or inaccurate data.

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"We were looking for a partner to enhance the data offering to our clients, and Red Flag Alert have done just that.  They understood our business, our culture, and our aspirations for the future.  We’ve seen some great feedback on our integration, and we are very happy with both the solution and team at Red Flag Alert."

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