Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence

Tech Trends for Tax Firms in 2020: Do You Have a Bot?

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If you don’t have a bot today, you will by tomorrow.

2020 is almost here. Are you prepared for the next tax season and beyond? The future of tax and accounting is all about automation. We can add in artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation, machine learning (ML), and workflow or work processes, but the future is still about automating everyday tasks – and spending more time monitoring and quarterbacking these processes.

Those who believe in looking ahead are becoming advisors to their clients. No longer do we look back at historical financial statements to make decisions; we look at real-time data and metrics.

The smart tax pro should uncover their clients’ pain points and eliminate them. It’s also imperative to spend time developing tech stacks to automate the work. Tools are now available that change outdated processes to more efficient systems. If you go to the QuickBooks® App Store and search for workflow apps, you’ll get back 34 options.

All accounting systems start with the recording of transactions, but today’s technology can eliminate this tedious task. For example, invoices and receipts can be captured or generated digitally; check out Receipt Bot or Receipt Bank.

The same processes hold true for preparing tax returns on Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax Online through Intuit Link. Link is a secure online portal that makes client data collection faster and more organized. The dashboard makes it easy to keep track of what’s been submitted and what’s missing. Plus, now you can upload and download documents, organize documents in folders, and preview the documents in your browser.

These are just two examples of automation at work. Automation is accomplished using various tools that most likely have artificial intelligence capabilities to identify and categorize the transactions and information automatically.

Did you know Intuit has more than 447 patents filed that relate to AI, MI and data science? In QuickBooks Online, the best example of automation and machine learning (a subset of artificial intelligence) is the Bank Feed feature that allows your clients to develop rules to help QuickBooks learn and categorize.

The bottom line to becoming successful in the future is to let automation, combined with artificial intelligence and data analysis, take over the grunt work. This means we need to spend more time determining the best tools to use and create tech stacks for different processes. Here is an example of a client accounting services tech stack, in which QuickBooks Online is the operation system, surrounded by the processes that automate everything.

QuickBooks App Stack


If I were looking at “tax preparation,” I could do the same thing by putting my tax system in the middle, then diagram the steps needed to prepare process review and deliver a tax return.


workflow outline tech stack


As I finished this article, I was ecstatic when Intuit announced another new tool just for accountants in QuickBooks, the Business Performance Dashboard. This tool gives professionals a lot of the information I need to help clients be more profitable, liquid and solvent.

Accounting and tax will be completely automated in the future, and AI will be working in the background to help you give advice to your clients.

The future is here; are you ready?

Editor’s note: The Intuit Tax Pro Center has several articles on sophisticated technology. Explore them and leave a comment below on your own tech predictions for 2020.

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