Like most areas of business today, technology has fully embedded itself in tax and accounting practice. More and more tax firms are doing away with manual processes and instead are relying on technology to increase efficiencies and better serve clients.
The key question, though, is what tax technology you should be using to improve your practice. From going paperless to finding the right software integrations, the following are some of the main considerations for tax firms when looking to build a great tech stack.
Manual accounting and tax work are quickly becoming a thing of the past. As tax technology has become more sophisticated and data has come to rule the way we do business, an increasing number of tax firms are going paperless. Particularly as tax and accounting professionals have found themselves in unexpected, prolonged work-from-home scenarios, going paperless is now not only a convenient option, but one that actually allows tax work to continue seamlessly in uncertain times.
When you decide to go paperless, you need to consider certain critical logistics, like how you handle source documents that still exist in paper form. These will need to be digitized, and you’ll need to make sure you have a secure way to transfer and store those paper documents when you’re done with them. Ignoring security considerations for paper files that still exist has the potential to undo all the security advances you gain by going digital.
Michael Pallerino published a series on going paperless in Insightful Accountant. It’s linked below.
Automation and Integration
After deciding to go paperless, the key to being a successful digital tax firm is to build the right integrated tech stack that offers all the automation you need to take advantage of today’s surplus of valuable data.
For tax firms, choosing a tech stack usually starts with your crucial accounting and tax software. Tax technology has seen significant advances in recent years, so be sure to explore all the features of the systems you’re considering. You want tax software that’s easy to use, offers all the automation features you need to support your paperless workflows, allows for easy data management, and incorporates robust security features to keep sensitive client information safe. In addition, you should consider the specific needs of your individual client base — you want tax software that can handle the unique financial demands of your clients.
Integrations are another major consideration when building out the rest of your tax technology stack. Whatever software you choose for your tech stack should integrate with other best-in-class solutions and work together to create seamless workflows, rather than requiring you to constantly switch between programs, thereby creating more work for yourself.
You might also want to consider structuring your tech stack around your client base. Whether you serve a niche client pool or provide services to a broad range of clients, it’s important to be familiar with the accounting products they use in their day-to-day business. Any tech stack you build should be capable of integrating with your clients’ preferred solutions in order to offer the best possible client experience.
Within that tech stack that integrates with your clients’ tools you’ll want to include document management software and practice management software. To further the paperless initiative, you’ll need tools that allow you to perform basic business tasks digitally, like receiving electronic payments and allowing e-signatures. The goal is to achieve maximum flexibility through automation.
For many modern tax firms, the best tech stack is one that runs off the cloud. Cloud-based solutions make for better data sharing between you and your clients, as well as increased security. The cloud also allows for innovative tools like dashboards that provide real-time information to clients and streamline collaboration and workflows even further.
Tax Technology at Work
Technology has forever changed the way tax firms do business. Today’s clients expect innovation and efficiency and having the right tax technology is the key to delivering on those expectations. With the right tax software in your tech stack, you’ll be in a better position to meet your clients’ needs and succeed in an increasingly competitive market.