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Roberts Cowling

Despite changing document management systems three times in the space of 18 months, the group at Roberts Cowling were determined not to settle.

SuiteFiles makes the document management component of an accounting firm which can be arduous, pretty simple.

The problem

We had a file server which everyone loved because it was easy, local, and quick. Although the server itself was great, we had to make do with a lot of manual workflows and complex processes like using an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to share file access with clients. When cloud-based apps like Xero came along, it was a no-brainer to make the switch.  

Arguably at one stage we were guilty of too much change. We ended up changing document management systems three times in 18 months because we didn’t want anyone to be upset or frustrated with our systems. Moving document management is probably one of the most painful things to do in accounting but we’re very team focused, so if there was a solution that was going to make life easier for the team, then we were more than happy to make it work.  

We considered a couple of options, including a SharePoint platform which looked good from the demonstration but didn’t integrate with Xero Practice Manager and our other vital apps. 

How we solved it

By the time we migrated to SuiteFiles I’d like to say we’re pros at migrating, but I don’t think that’s what made it a good experience. I actually think that the level of support and ease from SuiteFiles and the guys involved was fantastic. They asked us where our folders were, what we’d like our folder set up to be, and basically just got it done. I remember the onboarding as very smooth-sailing and a heck of a lot easier than we were anticipating. 

SuiteFiles integrates into Xero Practice Manager, ATOmate and our reporting packages. We’ve now got everything connected; the database is one. 

Ease of use is probably the biggest factor for me. I want people to be able to get things that they’re searching for quickly. You know, simple things like being able to search in File Explorer for documents in SuiteFiles. They’re little features that don’t sound like much, but day-to-day it’s massive. Everyone loves using it and we get the same feedback when people come into the firm. 

We’re using SuiteFiles’ digital signing tool for documents like engagement letters. It does all the automatic reminders, and you can see when clients haven’t signed them and follow up as opposed to the old system of sending it and thinking ‘Did we get that engagement letter back?’ Now we can just see. 

We do a lot of business coaching around purpose and values so when we’re looking at software packages, we want an organization that has a similar mindset. That mindset is not the ‘Hey our product’s the best’ and 20 years later it’ll be exactly the same. That was never the impression that we got from SuiteFiles. They’re always looking to improve the product and listen to feedback. 

SuiteFiles makes the document management component of an accounting firm which can be arduous, pretty simple. 


  • Working from a file server.
  • Changed document management systems three times in 18 months.
  • Struggling to find integrations with Xero Practice Manager and other vital apps.


  • Simple migration to the cloud.
  • Integrations with Xero Practice Manager, ATOmate, and other reporting apps.
  • Digital signing allows greater visibility over documents sent to clients.

Key benefits

  • SuiteFiles makes the document management component of an accounting firm which can be arduous, pretty simple.
  • SuiteFiles is always making improvements.

Tips and tricks

Don’t be rigid in your approach

  • Let people work in the way that suits them best as long as the end product is the same. For example, some colleagues may prefer using the File Explorer add-in over the Web App.
Keep an eye out for features you may not be using

  • I’m a firm believer that you don’t use anywhere near 100% of the software you pay for. So we’re always looking to find new efficiencies in the software we use. At the moment we’re looking to run our proposals through SuiteFiles digital signing so clients don’t have to scan and sign.

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