Workflows Improve with Integrated Software
Leveraging integrated software technology, for both tax and audit workflows, benefits both the firm and its clients. Doing so has paid off handsomely for some firms, despite a fiercely competitive landscape. One example is Orlando, FL based GellerRagans.
First, let’s discuss their tax workflow. The firm has been using CCH® ProSystem fx® Engagement as a way to better manage their business tax engagements. The solution imports raw client data, prepares adjustments, creates financial statements, and exports completed data directly into the tax return. It also functions as the firm’s central location for tracking, reporting, review, sign-off, and archiving.
Brian Gottschalk, Tax Partner at GellerRagans, says, “On the tax side, CCH ProSystem fx Engagement reduces time spent recreating spreadsheets for a time savings of somewhere between 20 to 40 percent per return. This is especially true when we have information that’s populated year-to-year.”
Speedier Service Improves Customer Service
Additionally, accuracy is critical. One of the firm’s promises to clients is, “We provide outstanding service to our clients because of our attention to details.” They are able to keep that promise with the help of the integrated software that they use.
Again, let’s look at their tax workflow. Engagement’s integration with CCH ProSystem fx Tax helps provide improved customer service while requiring less time from staff. For example, staff members can easily make any necessary changes to returns in process. Thus, clients are pleased with the firm’s overall speed and response time, which is critical for retaining them.
Gottschalk says, “When adjustments to a return are needed, financial data changes entered into Engagement automatically update in the Tax solution. That means we do not have to do extensive rework. Ultimately, that helps us retain clients because of the prompt level of service we can provide.”
Better Audits via an Integrated Audit Approach
On the audit side, the firm uses Wolters Kluwer’s Integrated Audit Approach. For them, that includes CCH ProSystem fx Engagement, Knowledge Coach, and Accounting Research Manager. Engagement imports client data, creates workpapers, and tracks the engagement from start to finish — through setup, review, sign-off, and archiving. Knowledge Coach is their planning tool, workpaper generator, audit workflow management application and risk overseer all rolled into one. It improves audit preparation and execution with an automated process that drives efficiency, quality, and client understanding. Accounting Research Manager keeps the firm up-to-date on changing laws and standards.
Higher Quality Audits and Improved Peer Review
For audit firms, having solid audit quality is a prerequisite for any growth. The AICPA’s Peer Review findings show these facts.
- Fifty percent (50%) of the issues discovered during Peer Review relate to poor and inadequate documentation.
- “Procedures not completed in response to the risk assessment” is the other most common issue.
Knowledge Coach firms rest assured that these scenarios are covered. The result is improved Peer Reviews.
Additionally, the dynamic nature of this audit approach means updates happen on the fly. Add a risk and all applicable workpapers update automatically. Competitive solutions cannot do that! Moreover, Knowledge Coach also automatically links risks to program steps and provides diagnostics for unaddressed risks.
Brian says, “With Knowledge Coach everything stays in compliance. Nothing is missed in the audit process. It’s a benefit largely from a legal standpoint for us because it reduces risk and helps us provide a higher quality audit.”
Improved Staff Retention
Another payoff of integrated software is staff retention. The firm does not track efficiency down to every single work-step. However, staff members can attest that they see substantial timesavings, in part because of the software they use. In fact, staff members report that every year they are able to continue to work faster and use more of the software’s features. That enables them to work smarter and more efficiently year after year.
Gottschalk says, “The software lets us do more of what we do best. It frees us up to do more high-level consulting work.”
Technology Ensures Quality Work
GellerRagans implemented their integrated software over time, and each rollout was successful. Gottschalk learned the software extensively himself so that he could champion it and answer questions. For training staff, however, he relies on Wolters Kluwer’s Professional and Client Services to help. For his own questions, he turns to Wolters Kluwer Support. A team that is incredibly useful.
“Ultimately the biggest benefit of Wolters Kluwer’s integrated software solutions is the accuracy”, say Gottschalk. “We do not have to worry about checking and double-checking every little thing. We trust what the software is doing. I would not have the same level of trust in other companies as I have in Wolters Kluwer.”