Accounting Technology
Accounting Technology

Automated accounting: Connecting the dots through technology

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Do you still have a green eye shade, abacus, and green ledger paper to perform your tax and accounting functions? Do you even know what these things are – and what you would use them for, other than nice decorations for your office?

Everyone wants to remain competitive and stay relevant for their clients. The tax and accounting profession is changing every day due to increased, and continued use and reliance on, technology to perform basic functions, including data entry, journal entry, report and tax return preparation, and client management. As trusted advisors, we need to keep pace and embrace technology, so that we can better serve our clients by providing timely and relevant information.

Gone are the days when the business owner will wait for you to perform the month-end closing of their books and give them a set of financials at the end of the following month. Gone are the days when the individual or business only wants a tax return to be filed instead of planning ahead for next year. Our clients want actionable wisdom and advice to help them know whether they have the resources to grow their business – and they want it now.

Embracing technology can help us improve the client experience and the value we provide. Here’s how to do that.

Big data

Big data allows us to expand our service offerings. We can do more than just book a journal entry or prepare a tax return. Understanding and embracing big data gives us a competitive advantage and provides true value for our clients. We know how to look at a number and know whether it is right or what it means. We can use the volumes of transactions a client has to help them understand their financials, right down to the granular detail. Beyond letting the business owner know whether they are making a profit, we can help them understand trends and implications of a revenue growth or decline. Big data can help us understand and give greater insight into a client’s overall industry, so that the company can pivot or adapt accordingly.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI allows us to be more productive. AI can take on redundant tasks, such as journal entry preparation and data entry. AI will allow us to step outside the perception that we are “bean counters.” AI helps to reduce errors and costs by streamlining operations. Similar to big data, AI will help us to do what we do best: Engage with our clients and help them tell their story through numbers, quickly and efficiently. 

Innovations in tax software

Tax software, such as Intuit® Lacerte® Tax and ProSeries® Tax, improves accuracy and reduces errors. Electronic filing has improved the compliance aspect of tax filing, which clients love. Improved tax software helps us to provide tax planning services – a value-add for clients who are growing their businesses. Instead of spending our time calculating or collecting data to prepare a tax plan, tax software helps us provide tax planning strategies in an automated workflow process. We have easier access to tax research, thanks to technology. And, more importantly, we can improve the client experience by providing forward-thinking tax strategies and solutions to provide our clients the strongest tax savings for their unique situation.

Practice management software

The key to retaining clients and growing a firm’s revenue is to provide a great client experience through actionable insights and wisdom. We can do that by providing timely, clear communication, and streamlined collaboration with our clients and our team through software such as Intuit Practice Management (IPM).

IPM enhances the client experience by making it easier and faster for them to send information. In addition, you can add a competitive advantage through using software such as IPM to improve the security of client information. This key feature is important because we are viewed by hackers as a treasure trove of personal and confidential information. You can demonstrate your care and concern for your clients by showing them that you care about cybersecurity.

To remain relevant in the profession and to your clients, you will need to embrace the many rapid changes in accounting technology. Let technology change your business for the better!

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the CPA Practice Advisor.

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