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Changing the game with cloud technology

How Xero and Hubdoc helped Polay + Clark increase flexibility and transparency 

Vertical: Sports & Entertainment
Est. Read Time: 5 min

“[Our clients are] able to view their data in real time with us. No longer are there accountant copies, multiple files, nor are we able to hide if we’re behind. It’s all in black and white. I think that accountability and transparency do wonders for the client relationship as far as building trust.”

– Tate Henshaw, Polay + Clark



clients served by 20 Polay + Clark staff



# of invoices processed weekly (in a matter of minutes)



hours per month saved collecting bank statements



About Polay + Clark

Polay + Clark is a full-service advisory firm based in Atlanta, GA that focuses on serving clients in the sports and entertainment industries.  Founded in 1999, Polay + Clark started adopting cloud accounting technology in 2015 when Lorne Clark joined the firm as an immediate-name partner. Since their cloud transition, Polay + Clark has scaled to serve 250 monthly clients.

The problem: inefficiencies that led to ambiguity

Before switching to cloud accounting technology, Polay + Clark’s workflow was dominated by manual processes involving snail mail, data entry, desktop software, and, of course, paper.

“Receipts would be mailed in, taped to sheets of paper. Account managers would scan them and spend hours checking them against their desktop accounting software,” explains Tate Henshaw, Data Maestro at Polay + Clark.

Moreover, all of their documents were stored on a local server. Hundreds of checks were printed every month. All approvals had to be mailed in, and account managers were tasked with keeping track of all of these physical documents and processes.

These manual processes led to three major pain points:

  • Time to execute administrative tasks – Relying on paper (which had to be scanned and mailed) and standalone, desktop systems (that couldn’t communicate with other programs) meant that even the simplest administrative tasks often took an unnecessary amount of time.

  • Confusion & chaos – The general “back and forth” nature of Polay + Clark’s old workflow was the cause of natural confusion surrounding many processes. As an example, getting payment approvals from clients used to be particularly inefficient – they would receive a bill, put it in Excel, then send it to the client for approval. It was also difficult to keep up with the nuances of different billing situations (e.g., new billers, partial bill payments, etc.).
  • Lack of flexibility & transparency – Between processes dominated by snail mail, physical document handling, and the reliance on desktop software, the Polay + Clark team was tied to their desks. Similarly, their clients in the sports and entertainment industries were also impacted by these manual processes, which didn’t create a great experience when clients were on the road (on tour, etc.).

It was the desire for increased flexibility and transparency that ultimately drove Polay + Clark’s transition to seek a cloud accounting solution. By enabling the ability for both the firm and their clients to work remotely, as well as access their financials at any time, anywhere, they knew they could drastically improve their workflow and their client experience.



The solution: building a harmonized technology stack

Working with clients in sports and entertainment demands a lot of travel (for both the client and Polay + Clark). According to Tate, the motivation to move to the cloud stemmed from a desire for increased flexibility and transparency.

“When Lorne Clark came on board, it was clear he was going to be travelling a lot and still wanted to be in the know. He had seen Xero while talking with another advisor and liked the look of it. We did our due diligence and came to the same conclusion,” says Tate.

An accounting solution such as Xero would not only enable flexibility and transparency, but would also help to eliminate much of the confusion and chaos surrounding their old processes.

Implementing Xero was just the beginning – Polay + Clark also started leveraging Xero products and add-ons (such as Hubdoc, Bill.com, and Futrli) to further streamline their processes and automate time-intensive administrative tasks.

“After beginning the shift of our accounting to the cloud, it just made sense to start adding some of the other pieces of the ecosystem to gain efficiencies,”
says Tate.

Hubdoc was one of the key apps that Polay + Clark introduced to help them gain efficiencies in a number of their processes – namely, with document collection and data entry.

In their old workflow, Polay + Clark relied on snail mail to collect their clients’ financial documents, which was time-consuming and often led to confusion. Moreover, their paper-based processes kept them tied to their desks and limited their ability to work remotely.

Upon adding Hubdoc to their workflow, Polay + Clark now send documents conveniently into Hubdoc via email, desktop (drag and drop), and Hubdoc’s mobile app (which enables their oft-travelling clients to upload receipts on the go).

Once documents have been uploaded into Hubdoc, they are automatically organized into folders based on supplier name and date. Moreover, Hubdoc enables documents to be tagged for further organization (e.g., tour expenses, trips, etc.).

Hubdoc has helped Polay + Clark save hours of time that used to be spent chasing after their clients’ documents, as well as eliminate much of the confusion that used to accompany their old workflow and enable their team to work remotely. In turn, this has helped improve their overall client experience.



The result: increased flexibility and transparency

Since adopting Hubdoc and other cloud technologies, Polay + Clark has experienced a number of benefits. Most importantly, the three key pain points associated with their old workflow have been resolved.

  • Automation of administrative tasks – Polay + Clark was able to automate most of their administrative processes, which enabled them to reallocate their administrative resources to focus on other tasks. In fact, they were able to reduce their number of administrative staff from three to one. Now, when they hire interns, the interns can focus their time on higher-value tasks and gain more relevant experience helping with client management.
  • Streamlined processes and workflows – Where there used to be chaos and confusion in their workflow, there is now order and clarity. Thanks to their standardized tech stack (which leverages the power of Xero and Hubdoc), they’re able to easily keep track of each client’s status, gain approvals quickly, and communicate clearly, among other efficiencies.
  • Increased flexibility and transparency – As mentioned, the desire to increase flexibility and better serve their clients’ heavy travel schedules is what drove Polay + Clark to make the shift to the cloud in the first place. Now, free of paper, mail, and desktop software, the Polay + Clark team is able to work remotely. Moreover, cloud accounting has increased transparency and helped them deepen their clients’ trust.

“They’re able to view their data in real time with us,” says Tate. “No longer are there accountant copies, multiple files, nor are we able to hide if we’re behind. It’s all in black and white. I think that accountability and transparency do wonders for the client relationship as far as building trust.”


Setting the stage for positive change

Transitioning to the cloud isn’t as simple as subscribing to a few cloud tools – it involves a well-thought-out process that requires buy-in from both your internal team and your clients. Tate and the Polay + Clark team will admit that the transition wasn’t easy, but it was worth it in the end.

"No matter the benefits associated with the end product, getting from A to B when you've been used to A for 10+ years is going to be painful. There are going to be times when it seems like it's not worth it, but I assure you that it is," says Tate.


Change the game with automated data capture

- learn more about Hubdoc + Xero!

Click below to learn how to automate document collection and data entry for a better client experience and seamless bookkeeping.