PKF Newcastle & Sydney streamlines practice efficiency with GreatSoft

The firm manages a complex business structure, 380 employees and over 21,000 clients – all from one integrated platform.

3 GreatSoft benefits for efficiency:

Single source of truth – data stored and updated in one secure system, de-risking data management and transfer

Integration with best-in-class apps and software – streamlined practice operations with integrated software solutions 

Supports complex business structure – 13 separate legal entities, six tax agent entities and one sophisticated practice management solution to manage them all

PKF logo

PKF Newcastle & Sydney is part of the global PKF International network and brings with it a wealth of local practice experience.

Originally formed as Lawler Davidson in 1977 – an accounting practice servicing the greater Newcastle area – the firm went through a few iterations before establishing itself as PKF Newcastle & Sydney. Lawler Davidson became Lawler Partners, before merging with Sydney practice Vouris & Bell in 2006, then forming the National Lawler Alliance of like-minded member firms across Australia. Then, in 2014, these member firms joined the esteemed PKF network in Australia.

Two PKF Newcastle and Sydney employees sitting together at a table. One is looking at their laptop and the other has a cappucino in front of them. They are both smiling.

Focused on keeping their local business ethos at the centre of all they do, PKF Newcastle & Sydney is now made up of 380 employees, servicing more than 21,000 clients both locally and internationally. They pride themselves on delivering the utmost in accounting and financial services to not only their clients, but also their own people.

"Our purpose is “opportunity delivered” – everything we do, we do to help our people and our clients succeed."
Natalie Fahey Finance Manager | PKF Newcastle & Sydney

As Natalie Fahey, Finance Manager, puts it, “PKF is a fresh, vibrant and viable alternative to traditional professional services firms.” This belief and passion for the company, as well as their clients’ success, is what drives PKF to continually evolve and improve. 

Early adapters of digitisation

Priding themselves on being early adapters to the digital workforce, PKF Newcastle & Sydney knew it needed the right technology to support the practice’s growing needs. A driving force behind this eagerness was streamlining client processes to increase efficiency and, ultimately, success.

"10 years ago, we went paperless…as a firm, we always want to be at the forefront of technology, and we’ve been successful in sticking to that."
Joshua Gambrill Technical Director | PKF Newcastle & Sydney


GreatSoft was the perfect solution for the practice’s growing needs.

“There was a time when we used desktop-based practice management software…along with other SaaS solutions added on the side,” explains Joshua Gambrill, Technical Director. 

“But GreatSoft is actually the first time that we’ve moved to a practice management SaaS solution.”

One of the key reasons for digitising early was their technologically savvy workforce that was already adept at working within a digital environment. There’s no doubt this came in handy when the COVID-19 pandemic sent everyone into work-from-home mode.

As Joshua explains, GreatSoft being cloud-based and accessible from anywhere on any device is a huge advantage.

“This is fantastic for us as it means less reliance on our internal IT resources, and greater freedom for our staff to work from home or anywhere they choose,” he says.

Three PKF Newcastle and Sydney employees sitting together at a table and smiling while they look at their laptop screens.
PKF Newcastle and Sydney employee sitting at her desk in front of two computer monitor screens.
Two PKF Newcastle and Sydney employees sitting together at a table, looking at a laptop.
PKF Newcastle and Sydney employee sitting at her desk in front of a laptop.

Streamlined efficiency across all entities

Consisting of 13 separate legal entities, PKF Newcastle & Sydney’s structure is complex and needed sophisticated technology to uplift and enable its operations.

GreatSoft’s APIs and integrations with a range of other apps and solutions in the market was a game-changer for the PKF team.

“A huge bonus for us is that GreatSoft allows us to preserve a single source of truth for our client data,” explains Joshua.

This single source of truth is integral to real-time, accurate data management across the practice.

“GreatSoft supports our structure of 13 separate legal entities and the complexity that’s involved in that.”

On top of that, the ability for GreatSoft to integrate in a segmented way – for instance by Office or Service Line/Division or Tax Agent – gives firms the assurance of future-proofing against structural changes, such as a division splitting out. This type of segmented integration also provides the ability to trial new technology pieces in a careful way, without having to commit the whole firm to the new integration. 

In a rapidly and ever-changing world, especially in the technology space, this was critical to the firm, says Stacie Shaw, Partner at PKF Newcastle & Sydney.

"We’re not aware of another practice management solution that would allow us to future-proof our tech stack in this way."
Stacie Shaw Partner | PKF Newcastle & Sydney

It’s the real-time visibility of the entire firm that GreatSoft provided that stood out to Stacie. Unlike the previous desktop solutions they’d been using, GreatSoft allows users to access up-to-date, accurate client data anywhere, any time.

This was particularly handy when Stacie found herself in an executive meeting with more than 70 stakeholders and was called upon to answer a data-related question she wasn’t prepared for.

“One of the Directors asked me a question about a WIP balance in a report I’d just presented. I didn’t have the information with me and, in the past, I would have to say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’ll have to come back to you’.”

“Instead, I could pull up my phone and within about 20 seconds, on the spot, under pressure… give him the answer – that was a pretty cool demonstration of how good GreatSoft is.”

PKF Newcastle and Sydney employee standing at his desk in front of a laptop, smiling.

Sophisticated integration making business simpler

Part of supporting the single source of truth is GreatSoft’s ability to integrate with other available software solutions. It can be customised to meet your practice’s specific needs, without having to overhaul your entire software stack, allowing for greater consistency for your practice and your clients.

Joshua says, “It’s GreatSoft’s willingness to build integrations with best-of-breed solutions of our choice that really stood out to us.”

This integration means better and cleaner client service, too. By pushing data updates through all integrated software plug-ins, GreatSoft enables a seamless client experience and significantly improves PKF’s usual business processes with the practice.

“The biggest benefit for us with GreatSoft is that without clients even knowing how or why, we’re able to deliver them a better experience," says Stacie.

GreatSoft takes time to understand your firm’s requirements, so you reap the benefits

If you’re looking to uplift your practice’s operations and technology capabilities, GreatSoft offers solutions to suit your unique needs – including catering for varying levels of complexity.

As Joshua explained it, if your practice currently struggles with inefficiencies and multiple data sources, we can help you understand your requirements and figure out where your inefficiencies are. Then, he continues, understand the solution your practice needs to uplift this. With PKF Newcastle & Sydney, the team knew they needed a streamlined solution that offered a robust single source of truth and flexible APIs. 

The firm found that GreatSoft was able to address these exact needs – including building customisations where required – and deliver an overall seamless experience for both the practice and its clients.

PKF Newcastle and Sydney employee standing and smiling.
PKF Newcastle and Sydney employee sitting in a chair and smiling.

Stacie explains, "The GreatSoft team has been incredibly receptive to our needs in three ways: day-to-day general support; building custom procedures and reports for us in our instance; and allowing us to contribute to their IP, strategic direction and development roadmap, including building out integrations and functionality we have requested."

Natalie says working with MYOB’s in-house implementation team was also a huge bonus.

“We were well aware of how significant the change was for our team internally at PKF,” she explains.

“As soon as we were aware of an issue during the implementation, we fed it straight back to the GreatSoft team and they were very responsive and got it straight on to an action list with their development.”

“So, it was a really open and frank process both with GreatSoft, and then our own team internally.”

"It’s GreatSoft’s willingness to build integrations with best-of-breed solutions of our choice that really stood out to us. The advanced customisation options and flexibility, along with the ability to support our complex structure is – as far as I know – unparalleled in the market."
Stacie Shaw Partner | PKF Newcastle & Sydney

Learn more about GreatSoft


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