Brannen & Powell

Switching from eFileCabinet was one of the best moves I made this year. We are operating so much more efficiently now with SmartVault in place.
Tim Powell

Tim Powell, EA


Shafter, CA

Core Business

Full-service tax and accounting firm

Technology of Choice


Business Launch



2 Partners, 4 Full-Time Employees
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Just over 6 months ago, Tim Powell decided it was time to move from the firm’s existing document storage system, eFileCabinet, to the cloud-based file storage and sharing system—SmartVault. Having experienced some major workflow issues with eFileCabinet, the move not only improved processes, but it also offered Powell the peace of mind that client documents were being filed properly.

“We had one big issue that happened repeatedly. When we would go to save a document to a client folder in eFileCabinet, it would open the previous client you were in. If you didn’t notice this, you ended up saving the client’s file to the wrong folder. We lost some files this way. There was also the risk of sending clients the wrong files. This was very frustrating for me and my staff.”

On top of this issue, Powell also pointed out the confusing file structure within eFileCabinet. “It really exasperated staff. SmartVault is so much more intuitive and easy to use.”

The integration with Lacerte is another win, according to Powell. “Integration with our Lacerte software means less work for us because it’s seamless. With eFileCabinet, when you were ready to store a document, you had to check a box and select the eFileCabinet printer. It caused extra steps because the two systems were not integrated. With SmartVault, workflow is now seamless, and my staff loves it.”

Overall, the transition to SmartVault, according to Powell, was the best move of the season. “We now have the right technology in place to ensure a smoother tax season. I feel prepared. And that’s a good feeling.”

SmartVault “does the thinking” for staff

Feeling prepared and confident is a great place to be with tax season just around the corner. The immediate boosts in efficiency with SmartVault and the intuitive interface provide the peace of mind Tim Powell was looking for.

“Tax season can be hard enough without adding steps to the workflow and constantly being worried that documents might be filed in the wrong place. These concerns went away once we implemented SmartVault,” Powell said.

In fact, Powell went as far to say that SmartVault does the thinking for them. “When your brain hurts, like it does in the middle of tax season, it’s nice to know that we have a system that does the thinking for us. With SmartVault, we can count on documents being filed accurately.”

Another advanced offering that Powell praised is the SmartVault Client Portal. Before eFileCabinet, the firm used the DMS within Lacerte. “Portals weren’t available with the old DMS. With SmartVault, we can eliminate sending sensitive documents in emails. The portal offers a secure place to exchange tax returns and so much more. It’s very efficient.”

Seamless Migration from eFileCabinet to SmartVault

Support with the firm’s migration away from eFileCabinet was a topic that fueled even more praise for SmartVault.

“I remember what my [SmartVault] contact person said when I asked about transitioning,” Powell explained. “He said: ‘We’ve not done it before, but we can do it!’”

Powell was immediately impressed with the personal and consistent support he received. Throughout the migration, his SmartVault contact touched base with him every few days to check in and provide updates. According to Powell, he never felt out of the loop and was very well taken care of.

“I’m not the most tech savvy person. I admit that I need a bit of hand holding. And that’s what I got from SmartVault. I can’t say enough good things about the treatment I received. The migration was absolutely seamless.”

Powell had no problem rattling off several benefits of SmartVault. In terms of ROI, he feels he’s more than gotten his return on his investment already. He reported:

  • An anticipated 15% boost in time savings for the coming tax season, based on workflow improvements.
  • Elevated staff satisfaction.
  • The peace of mind that comes using a system that works for the firm.
  • Above-and-beyond personalized support from the SmartVault team.

Final words

Like any leader who implements a major technology change, Powell had some initial concerns about staff reactions.

“A lot of people don’t like change, especially with technology,” Powell said. “I remember being a bit nervous about announcing the move to SmartVault to my staff, until one employee stated directly: ‘We never liked eFileCabinet anyway.’”

Looking back, Tim Powell wishes he had made the switch sooner. “SmartVault has helped improve firm operations in many ways, stated Powell. “We are so much more efficient and my staff is happier. This is true value.”