When you pile pandemic-related changes on top of already ongoing staffing challenges, what firm isn’t looking for ways to work smarter and faster? One way to do more with less is to leverage technology. In a recent webinar, “How to Improve Efficiency as a Digital Firm,” Heather Spontak, product owner for Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting, US, discusses benefits and best practices of digitization with Kari Rockwood of Gallacher, Bosen & Goodman, PLLC, in Mesa, Arizona. They talked about innovative ways digital firms can automate tasks, simplify steps, and find more time to focus on non-administrative activities.
Save time with automated tasks
Smaller firms are adding simple tools, for example solutions for tax workflow, document management, and practice management as well as client portals. Larger firms are taking things a bit further, investing in advanced technology such as AI tools to read documents, business intelligence, and client data ingestion tools.
Rockwood says that using CCH® ProSystem fx® Scan with AutoFlow Technology to process the 1,400 1040s her firm handles has reduced the turnaround time from three or four weeks to about a week.
Simplify steps for customers and staff
Other digital workflow tools save time by making it seamless for clients to work with your staff, even remotely. For example, CCH Axcess™ Client Collaboration allows you to handle the tax preparation process digitally from end to end, including giving clients the ability to:
- Receive, sign, and return engagement letters
- Provide information and documents
- Ask and answer questions virtually
- Connect with financial institutions to retrieve documents
- Review, sign and download their return
- Receive an invoice and pay electronically
From the firm’s viewpoint, technology makes things easier too. Using CCH Axcess™ Client Collaboration, you can create a batched request for customized engagement letters as well as tax organizers. Plus, the dashboard lets you track client activity so you know what’s missing and what’s already in the works.
Allocate more time to core activities
CPAs coming out of college no longer want to waste their time or talent being “certified photocopy assistants,” and thanks to technology tools they don’t have to. Automating the way documents are process and data is populated into returns, frees your staff from tedious data entry tasks so they can focus on return reviews and advisory services.
In fact, 78% of the accountants surveyed by Wolters Kluwer said that technology had helped them reduce hours spent per return, and 72% said that technology had helped them allocate more time on core vs. administrative activities. This allows digital firms to pivot from strictly compliance-based work to focus more on advisory services for their clients.
A fully digital tax workflow can help your firm save time and effort. To learn how, watch the “How to Improve Efficiency as a Digital Firm” webinar.