An Interview with a Senior Tax Manager on her First 30 Days with iPaladin’s Digital Family Office - Part 1
Becky Matthew is a CPA with over 12 years of experience in both public and private accounting. We interviewed Matthew to learn more about the impact of working within iPaladin during her first month of her employment with a multi-family office, and how she used the platform to quickly become a productive member of the team.
What are some of the differences you noticed in terms of getting up to speed in your new position while using iPaladin versus in prior positions?.
Learning the history of a family can take years. On my first day, I was able to spend about twenty minutes getting a background, and having everything in the iPaladin platform allowed me to make an educated decision. I was completing projects in my first two days and I didn’t need a lesson of everyone’s history. It’s all there and you don’t need to be told about it for hours and hours. You can read it and get caught up quickly. Within the history, you can see the reasoning of why something was done so you don’t have a guessing game or have to search through emails, saving time with context. It was nice that the history and knowledge of the family was in one centralized location.
In my prior firm, the redundancy and duplication of work was extremely time consuming and costly. The scope of work in a family office oftentimes grows faster than the staff. So, you tend to take on more roles as the family grows. iPaladin is almost like having another person there reminding me of what I am missing - it’s like adding another person to your staff.
What is the greatest benefit of iPaladin to an employee of a family office?
That the data is centralized and available to everyone who needs it. In my old firm, I was in charge of tax compliance. Everything was in my head or in a massive spreadsheet. One of the challenges was the mass amount of data. Family offices tend to grow pretty quickly and we do a lot of work for a small staff. It’s hard to keep up with the growth, administration and financial reporting. If you imagine a family with multiple generations, they have several investment partnership, trusts, individual returns and quarterly filing. Keeping that list static in a spreadsheet, I’d wake up at 3am thinking “oh my gosh, I forgot this.”
With iPaladin having everything in one place is nice. It takes away the work of what might be falling through the cracks, the compliance is there letting me focus on the bigger picture of things: the financial reporting and day-to-day, and not so much worrying about the schedule. I can actually use my skills and make sure things are working.
How has using iPaladin affected your day to day operations at work?
I don’t know how I functioned without iPaladin before. My first day on the job I was able to go back six years and find a specific tax basis in stock that would have taken me weeks in another office, digging through a file or going to a file room. With iPaladin, everything is there. If it’s linked properly you can go down the rabbit hole and find what you need very quickly.
I like the way things are organized; for instance you can click on a trust and as you drill down to its specific assets, you can see all the history behind that one asset. It’s nice to see the high-level picture of the family and then drill down and get as detailed as you want.
Also, I can see what my team has done without having to bother them. I can see where they are and know if they are behind or need help. So, it takes away the guessing game of where we are, where things are saved, with one task list, one interface - not on everyone’s desktop!
A lot of the data is up in your head and sometimes on your desktop, but, with iPaladin, we can all work together. We all work independently, but the communication and workflow is all seen together, so I can quickly know, for example, if we distributed income properly to beneficiaries. You can look at the bigger picture of the task and see its status, taking the worry away so I can utilize my skills and make sure things are properly reported in the financial statements.
Is there anything else you can share about things you can now do with iPaladin that you couldn’t previously do?
Working with external advisors can be cumbersome. The biggest issue is the sharing of data and sharing it securely. In iPaladin, rather than sending multiple emails to external advisors we communicate within the software. External advisors can be given access to the information, so we don’t have to send things via email or a flash drive. You can give them access so they can grab what they need securely.
I can see what they have in their hands and they can see what we have, what’s coming to them and what’s outstanding. It takes away those hundreds of emails that would go back and forth - if we all have access to one interface, we can see the bigger picture and communicate more effectively.