Leveraging technology to better the lives of accountants has increased in importance over the last several years. It started with the cloud and accountants trying to wrap their heads around what exactly that meant. Within the last year or so, I have seen a shift happening from “What is it?” to “How do I implement it into my practice?” The importance of integrating technology into your tax practice has hit an all-time high. I have been lucky enough to see firsthand this growing trend of integrating technology into your practice and the impact it can have on accountants.
The accountants that I have worked with over the years have had the “luxury” of wearing several different hats for their office. They may be the firm owner, partner, client herder, office manager and others. The biggest and ugliest hat I see accountants wear is being the “IT person” for the office. Whether it is fixing a broken-down server, putting in a request for a new server because you have run out of room or maintaining the 20+ years of tax software the firm has installed, it is a big, ugly job that can be very time consuming and very frustrating.
Why not let technology step in and put on that hat? A great example is ProConnect™ Tax Online. I know some reading this are probably saying, “I didn’t know Intuit® had an online tax solution!” Well, we do, and it has taken ownership of that IT hat in your office. ProConnect Tax Online is a 100 percent online SaaS offering. There is no software to install, update or maintain! Think about the time you spend on IT projects in your office. Is it a few minutes, a couple of hours a month or a number of days a month? Whatever that number is, by taking advantage of technology with your tax software, you now have more time for your clients, more time to focus on your business and, more importantly, more time for yourself.
Another thing I have observed with firms is the outrageous number of applications it takes to run their practice. They have an accounting platform, tax solution, practice management application … the list can go on and on. When you take the number of applications, multiplied by the number of staff members and multiplied by the number of clients times the number of interactions, you get a huge number you need to manage. That’s not efficient.
Think about your smartphone; this is where you go to place a phone call, send a text, check the news, find sports scores and perform other tasks. You wouldn’t think about carrying 10 different devices when you have the ability to carry one. Now, take that same thinking and apply it to your tax office. Does that “smartphone” exist?
If it doesn’t exist for you today, that doesn’t mean it cannot. QuickBooks® Online is growing at a rapid pace, not only because of the value it delivers to the small business, but also because of the impact that it has on accountants through their use of QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA). QBOA gives accountants the ability to instantly access their clients’ small business files throughout the year. Gone are the days of sitting around waiting for an Accountant’s Copy File Transfer, or a jump drive to be delivered to the office. Not only is QBOA the foundation for accessing clients; it is also home to certification, CPE and workflow management, giving accountants the confidence that nothing will fall through the cracks.
The fun doesn’t stop there for these firms who have adopted QBOA. Technology has given them the ability to take the data they have been working on throughout the year in QBOA and dump it directly into ProConnect Tax Online. QBOA has now become the “smartphone” for accounting firms.
When thinking about technology and the impact it can have on our lives, most of the time, it’s hard to keep up with the pace. Technology advances are happening so fast that by the time we adopt one piece, there is already something smarter, faster and “techy-er.” With that being said, technology moving at such a rapid pace can be an amazing thing when you think about the impact it can have on accountants and the productivity of their firms.
Now is the time to embrace technology and start the trend of making your life easier.