Partnerships | 5 min

LEAP Case Study - Harries Watkins Jones

February 6, 2024

Harries Watkins Jones Case Study

Harries Watkins Jones is a firm of chartered accountants based in Bridgend, Cardiff and South Wales, offering a bespoke, high-level and friendly service to its clients. With extensive expertise in accounting and tax, the firm has longstanding relationships and has served some of its clients for over 30 years.

Identifying a growth opportunity

In 2015, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) launched a qualification to enable chartered accountants to handle non-contentious probate. After spotting this as an opportunity for growth and a natural expansion of its work, Harries Watkins Jones set up a separate business to focus on legal services for its clients, Harries Watkins Jones Wills & Probate.

“While probate is traditionally handled by solicitors, it covers a lot of collecting and distributing assets, and deals with inheritance tax – all of which are accountancy related,” explains Neil Harries, partner at Harries Watkins Jones. “Clients regularly asked us for legal services, especially around probate, so it made sense to us to expand our work to officially cover these areas, rather than to refer it on.”

Harries Watkins Jones were fully committed to this new venture and hired an expert solicitor to support the evolved area of work, but the firm needed software that would not only help them deliver legal services quickly and efficiently, but also help them to compete with solicitors already providing this service to the public. The team had been investing in becoming paperless as a business and many of the staff worked remotely, so Harries Watkins Jones was particularly keen on finding a cloud-based solution that could support this.

LEAP’s software was recommended to the firm by a number of notable legal professionals, including the solicitor that was appointed by the team and a lawyer lecturing on the probate training course that some of the Harries Watkins Jones staff undertook when establishing the new legal services entity.

“The endorsement of the LEAP software made it clear to us that LEAP was the industry standard and a worthwhile investment if we wanted to offer the same level of service as a traditional legal practice,” continues Neil. “We took a look at a few other options but after a trial it was obvious that LEAP ticked the boxes for us.”

The ability to compete with both accountants and solicitors

Harries Watkins Jones uses the LEAP software for the development of wills, probate and LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) documents. Areas of the LEAP platform that support the firm’s legal work include the pre-loaded letters and forms, and the ID and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) checks – all of which save the team a considerable amount of time. As a cloud-based solution, LEAP also enables the team to work effectively when in the office and working remotely and ensures Harries Watkins Jones can keep their commitment to being paperless.

“If we didn’t have the LEAP software, we would need to rewrite our own forms and letters and put them on our accounting software, which would be time-consuming and put us at a disadvantage,” says Neil. “We needed a reliable solution to help us compete in the legal market and be efficient, and the LEAP platform delivers that for us.”

Harries Watkins Jones now has a combination of skills in-house and effective software solutions in place to provide a comprehensive service to its clients, differentiating the firm in the market.

“Our experience with LEAP has been very positive,” says Neil. “Our onboarding and initial set up were great, and we got a lot of training from the LEAP team which was brilliant. I’d highly recommend LEAP to other chartered accountants if they are looking to enter the legal services market.”

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