Software for Accountants: From Tax Preparation to Full Service AccountingWhether your business exclusively offers tax preparation services or provides full-spectrum accounting services, it’s important to maintain a profitable investment in software tools that allow you to accurately and efficiently perform your professional services. Typical tools for accountants include client write-up, auditing, tax preparation, payroll, and time and billing modules. Each of these modules are designed with the end-goal of managing 3rd party accounting more effectively and efficiently.Multi-Company Accounting
Accounting software designed for the professional accountant offers an advanced set of features beyond what is typically found in standard commercial accounting packages. One critical capability of software designed with the accountant in mind is the ability to handle accounting for numerous corporate entities. Your accounting business may have dozens or even hundreds of clients, whose financial data all needs to be accessed from the same software, yet kept completely separated. Increased security measures and a more complex database structure are two of the ramifications of managing books for multiple companies.
Given the amount of data your business may store on clients, it’s important when considering different options, that you consider how the software handles tens of thousands of individual records. Even accountants with few clients can easily exceed the record capabilities of many non-accountant specific systems. The effects of overloading a system can include reduced performance (freezes, waiting on reports) and even system access issues.An Emphasis on ReportingStrong reporting features are critical for accountants. Accountants are constantly creating reports for clients.
If clients can’t understand the reports, there is a major problem. Software designed for accountants typically offers additional report views distilling information into easily understandable formats such as executive reports, charts, and summary statements. Reports also need to be able created on an ad-hoc basis in order to answer questions that clients may have regarding their company’s financial performance.Tax PreparationTax preparation is not straight-forward and simple. If it was, thousands of business likely wouldn’t outsource their tax preparation to accounting firms. The reality is that preparing corporate tax information is a highly complex process.
Tax preparation software is designed to make the process easier by keeping updated tax tables, automatically performing complex calculations, and by assisting with electronic filing. No matter where you are or what local, state, provincial, or federal tax regulations apply, there are programs designed to help you quickly and accurately file your clients’ returns.Regulations CompliancePublic accounting firms are also on the front lines of keeping up with the accounting compliance regulations. Understanding FASB, GASB 34, IFRS, DCAA and other regulatory requirements is only part of the battle though for the public accountant. Software controls are constantly evolving to better meet the regulatory requirements of clients in different industries and access to the right tools can make the difference is securing clients with specific compliance requirements.
Data Integrity and SecurityData integrity is another area of paramount concern for public accountants. A company doing their own books has an opportunity to reverse entries as errors are discovered. This is not the case with public accountants. The expectation is 100% accurate information the first time around.Software tools for accountants also focus on providing advanced security measures. Clients naturally have concerns about turning their data over to a 3rd party. It’s important for accountants to be able to identify specific measures included in software tools which can prevent fraud or loss of data.
The cloud benefits accountantsThe age of the cloud has made the lives of many accountants much easier. Instead of constantly sending files back and forth, they now can run their desktop accounting software in the cloud and work with clients to manage their accounting. By using accounting and budgeting software in the cloud, accountants don’t have to waste their time backtracking with clients, allowing them to spend more energy on providing they can provide other services such as analyzing their financial data and helping their clients improve their cashflow and profitability.
The cloud allows accountants to become an integral part of their clients’ budgeting process, and eventually their business. Often, when a client feels a sense of trust for their accountant, they will begin relying on them for financial advice on other aspects of their business such as additional revenue/services, when it is right to use business credit cards and some of the best practices for successful recordkeeping