A modern makeover of client data collection
Client Data Vertical

A modern makeover of client data collection

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In the ever-evolving landscape of accounting and tax advisory, the paper organizer’s reign is nearing its end. It’s a digital era, and innovative data collection methods are becoming as fundamental to tax accountants as the numbers they crunch. Gone are the days of sifting through piles of paperwork; the future is about clicks, taps, and secure uploads.

Let’s explore the tech-savvy tools and trends that are reshaping how tax and accounting professionals gather client data.

Several new features in Intuit ProConnect Tax

Check out Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax, cloud-based tax software that integrates with QuickBooks® Online for seamless books to tax. One of the newest features is the ability to pull all of your client’s transcripts straight from the IRS into ProConnect Tax.

Another new feature coming soon is 1040 direct data import, where you can onboard new clients by using data extracted directly from a prior year’s 1040 form to generate a tax summary comparison for the current tax year. The data can be from a PDF or an image, such as a photo from your phone. The new return is created with client, spouse, and dependent information entered, along with the prior year summary values for reference. Intuit Accountants reports that this feature will help save time on data entry and helps provide a two-year comparison for new clients. Find out more about this and other new features in this article covering all changes for tax year 2023 in ProConnect Tax, Lacerte® Tax, and ProSeries® Tax.

Filing cabinets to cloud storage

Remember when client documents used to take up physical space? These days, cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox and Google Drive have transformed data storage. With the cloud, you can access client files anywhere, anytime, with the click of a button. The beauty of these tools is not just in their storage capabilities, but also in their collaborative features, allowing accountants and clients to update and share documents in real-time, vastly simplifying data collection and organization.

Client portals: The secure gateway

Client portals have become a game changer for many practices. These secure online gateways offer clients a place to upload their financial documents, fill out forms, and communicate with their advisors. Portals often come with the added benefit of enhanced security protocols, ensuring that sensitive financial data is protected. What’s more, they offer convenience for clients who can submit their information from the comfort of their homes or offices without the risk and hassle of sending documents via email. One portal to check out is Intuit® Link.

Mobile accounting apps: Data at your fingertips

With the rise of smartphones, mobile accounting apps have surged in popularity. Apps such as QuickBooks® Online allow clients to snap pictures of receipts, track expenses, and manage invoices on the go. The data syncs across devices, meaning an advisor can view a client’s financial updates in real time. This level of immediate access speeds up data collection, and opens the door to more timely and informed financial advice.

Automated data entry: The AI revolution

Artificial intelligence is making its mark on data entry through tools that can categorize expenses, reconcile transactions, and even predict cash flow patterns. By using software that learns and adapts to a client’s unique financial profile, accountants can minimize errors and free up valuable time. Services such as Dext and Hubdoc are leading the charge, transforming shoeboxes full of receipts into neatly organized, digital data with minimal human intervention.

Digital forms and surveys: Streamlining information gathering

The days of hand-filled forms are fading. Digital forms and surveys are not only more eco-friendly, but also more efficient. Tools, including JotForm, Typeform, or Google Forms, can be used to gather preliminary client information, conduct satisfaction surveys, or collect specific financial data. They are customizable, user friendly, and integrate with other data management systems, further smoothing out the data collection process.

The power of CRM systems

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have become indispensable in the modern advisory practice. They go beyond data gathering to manage client relationships and interactions comprehensively. With CRM systems, every piece of client data—from contact information to detailed financial histories—is stored in one place. Moreover, with the integration capabilities of modern CRMs, data from emails, social media, and other communication channels can be automatically synced and updated.

Enhanced communication tools

While not exclusively for data collection, enhanced communication tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom have revolutionized the client-advisor relationship. Through these platforms, advisors can quickly clarify data, resolve discrepancies, and update client information through direct, immediate communication.

Modern solutions prevail

The digital revolution in client data collection is well underway, with innovative technologies leading the charge. By adopting these modern solutions, tax and accounting practices can enhance accuracy, efficiency, and security, all while providing a more streamlined and client-friendly experience. The transition from paper to pixels may seem daunting for some, but the benefits are undeniable. It’s time to leave the paper organizers behind and embrace the digital age, where the dinosaurs of old give way to a new era of technological efficiency and sophistication in accounting and tax advisory.

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