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The Role of Technology: Strengthening Relationships between Accounting Firms & Clients- Part 2
We discussed in part 1 that how the role of technology in accounting is refining and redefining the relationships between the accounting firms and the clients. The role of technology is not just limited to making the internal processes streamlined; it has a lot to do with enhancing client service.
In part 1, we covered 10 apps that boost client-accounting firm relationships, and in Part 2, we will take that number to a higher level. So, let’s get started.
Client-Focused Apps for CPA Firms
11. Video Conferencing
The technological advancements have literally changed the way we conduct business and communicate with the people. Today, there is an increasing demand for instant communication, and this is only possible with the help of video conferencing. For innovative and modern business to globalize and grow, it is imperative that quality relationships are built and maintained with internal teams, partners, customers, suppliers, investors, and more.
As per a recent survey, integrating web conferencing, email, video, telephone, instant messaging, is preferred by most of the employees. Online video conferencing helps integrate such different platforms for communication through a set of technologies for audio and video transmission. It is one of the best ways for accounting firms to boost their relationship with clients. The following are the key benefits associated with video conferencing:
- Digitally enabled workforce
- Increased reliability for communication
- Reduced cost and travel time
- Simplified usability and management
- Reduced redundancy and improved value
- Attendance optimization
- Enhanced communications for structured meetings
Software Example: Slack, Zoom, Loom, and Skype
12. Tools for Accounting
Accounting software, especially the cloud ones, helps in streamlining the internal processes of the CPA firms by decreasing paperwork and maintaining real-time financial transactions. Apart from this, automated tools for accounting help in reporting financial transactions easily and quickly. Multiple factors have led to the growth of accounting software.
This includes business analytics, internet, eCommerce, globalization, cloud technology, micro-verticalization, mobilization, and more. As business keeps on growing, its need for accounting tools becomes more owing to the complexity involved with adding volume, multiple currencies and locations, etc.
For businesses, the following software are sufficient enough to meet their needs:
- QuickBooks Online – Intuit’s major focus for accounting presently
- QuickBooks desktop – a renowned system with multiple add-ons and installers
- FreshBooks – invoicing for clients of Schedule C
- BillQuick – the perfect billing and time solution
- Xero – payroll accounting and easy-to-use accounting tools
- Accounting Power – an accountant-centric solution, especially for payroll
- SageOne – project and accounting management
- Wave – inexpensive payroll accounting
- NetClient CS with ACS and Client Access – client accounting system by Thomson
The following tools are preferred for managing the complexity involved around costing and inventory, especially by the large-sized businesses:
- CYMA – popular Human Resources and payroll management
- Microsoft Dynamics GP – proficient accounting system for medium-sized businesses
- Microsoft Dynamics AX – manufacturing and distribution system
- Epicor Online and ERP – a robust manufacturing and distribution system that also takes care of services and retail
- Sage 100 – a popular tool for costing and inventory, mainly used in light assembly and distribution
- Sage 300 – global distribution and accounting system
- Microsoft Dynamics NAV – distribution software that can be customized easily
- Open Systems – a powerful, customizable system with multiple vertical, construction, and NFP support
- Sage 300 Online – a powerful online updated system
- Intacct – efficient system for supporting various verticals
- Sage 50 – a fast and strong system with powerful business analytics
- Sage X3 –manufacturing distribution system
13. Tools for Accounts Payable
Accounts payable process is extremely important to maintain a long-term relationship with the people involved in your business. If your CPA firm has a client who pays more than 15 bills/month, having AP tools in place will surely make a huge difference. Change is hard to accept and implement in the business processes, especially when it comes to accounts payable.
However, with the following benefits, this change is being accepted and implemented at large throughout the world by the accountants:
- Automated accounts payable, enhancing cash flow and sweeping
- Initial pay discounts, reporting and analysis
- Enhanced business relationships
- Integrations with previous finance systems
- Accurate, streamlined processing
- Customized solutions
- Better transparency and insight
- Greater control over real-time monitoring and easy access
- Improved collection activity
Software Example: Bill.com, Fundbox, PaySimple, Expex
14. Tools for Accounts Receivable
In order to keep the cash flow on the positive side, it is imperative for businesses to manage their accounts receivable process efficiently. So, let’s dig deeper into the same:
Key Accounts Receivable Software Features
The following features should be on your must-have list when looking for an upgrade or buying a new AR software.
- Accounts Receivable Ledger: Comprises a list of clients whose payments are due and this list needs to be updated on a monthly basis.
- Individual Collection Letters: This function works by setting a time against a particular payment of the customer. As time gets delayed, the collection letter becomes stricter and automated.
- Centralized Database: Having a central database is essential for an AR system since you never know when you will need to track information, which dates back to months and years.
- Accounts Receivable Aged Listing: An another important information source, it helps in organizing the accounts receivable based on columns and ranges, dates and payers, specific business needs, etc.
- Customer Statements: Customer statements are essential in order to cross-check that the information entered is accurate and updated.
- Enhanced cash position
- Minimized credit risk
- Reduced administrative costs
- Improved control over working capital and cash
- Improved customer satisfaction and service
- Reduced cycle for sales to payment
Software Example: uCollect, NetSuite ERP, Gaviti, Axela Square, Intuit QuickBooks, GoPayment, PayPal Here, lightspeed, shopkeep
15. Document Management
It refers to the procedures and processes in your accounting firm used to capture, store, and secure retrieved information consistently, explains iDatix. Document management software makes it effortless for CPA firms to combine digital and paper files. Supported file formats include PDF, PPT, Excel spreadsheets, documents, and more.
Document Management Software Essentials:
- Audit trails
- Document storage
- Access and Security control
- Search and retrieval
- Version control
- Simultaneous coordination for editing
- Indexing and classification
- Content/ document security
- Remote access
- Third-party software integration
- File/ document repository
- Enhanced organization
- Cost/time efficiency
- File sharing
Software Example: Hubdoc, LedgerSync, DOKKA, Zumzum Financials, FINSYNC, Divvy, Spreadsheet Server, iChannel, SBS Financials Suite, Accounting Seed, Sage Live, Ramco Systems, and many more.
16. Expense Reimbursements
Expense reimbursement tools are used for accounting firms to pay those who incur business-related expenses on their own. Although travel reimbursements are extremely common, reimbursements can also be given on an organization’s behalf against healthcare, education, and other expenses.
It is challenging to manage so many expense reports by the employers and employees, and a proficient way to deal with this challenge is by incorporating the use of expense reimbursement software.
Common Types of Reimbursements:
- Reimbursements for Healthcare Expense
- Reimbursements for Travel and Mileage
- Reimbursements for Business Expense
- Reduced fraud
- Enhanced convenience
- Streamlined reporting and reimbursement process
Software Example: Expensify, SAP Concur, Certify by Emburse, Abacus by Emburse, Rydoo, Zoho Expense, Replicon, and many more.
17. Time Tracking and Invoicing
It is usually a mobile or desktop app that tracks the resources, manpower, and time spent by employees on a specific task. This software is used by freelance accountants, business owners, and other accounting professionals who want to track the time spent by them on a specific activity.
- Time tracking
- Billable hours tracking
- Analytics and reporting
- Screenshots of the device screen of the employees
- Enhanced profitability and productivity
- Accurate billing and paying
- Micro-Managing avoidance
- Time tracking of employees
- Evaluating the actual time needed for completing a specific task
- Payroll connectivity
- Enhanced project management, discipline, planning, and budgeting
Software Example: Harvest, MinuteDock, Time Doctor, Everhour, TSheets, Timely, Tyme, Tick, and many more.
18. Payroll Tools
Preparing taxes and calculating the salaries of employees can be challenging, especially with a manual approach. Apart from this, keeping compliance with the changing rules makes it even more complicated.
Payroll software is designed specifically to eliminate such hurdles. So, let’s do a detailed analysis of the same.
- Payroll Management
- Income Tax Filing
- Tax Compliance
- Payroll Reporting
- Employee Self-Service Site
- System Notifications
- Leave Management
- Expense Management
- Benefits Management
- Time and Attendance Tracking
- Direct Deposits
- Enhanced productivity
- Additional information security
- Increased transparency
- Reduce human error risk
- Assured compliance
Software Example: Gusto, Xero Payroll, ADP Workforce Now, Paylocity, Paychex Flex, Zenefits, Rippling, Justworks, Workday HCM, Namely, UltiPro, RUN Powered by ADP®, and many more.
19. Reporting Tools
Reporting tools create appealing visual reports and dashboards for the clients of accounting firms. Strategies based on a great plan pave the way for success for a CPA firm. However, there needs to be a proper management reporting system in place for its successful execution.
One needs to understand that not all systems are equal, but a good management reporting system must be easily accessible, relevant, clear, and timely, along with having automatic reports running capability.
- Enhanced efficiency and decision-making within an organization
- Early detection of potential problems
- Cost efficiency
- Enhanced communication
- Increased accuracy, productivity, and timeliness
Software Example: Planful, Board, Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud, Prophix Software, Solver, Jet Reports, Hubble, Oracle Enterprise Planning Cloud and many more.
This concludes the fact that a lot of tools are available in the market when it comes to establishing and strengthening the bonding between CPA firms and their clients. It is imperative to understand the needs of the clients with the changing times and incorporate the use of technology to meet the ever-increasing demand of clients for enhanced work quality and customer service.
Satisfying customer experience demands time and effort consistently. However, most accounting firms fail to achieve the same owing to work overburden or a lack of time, skills, technology, and more. So, is there a solution? Yes! By joining hands with a renowned outsourcing accounting firm like Cogneesol for accounting back-office services, CPA firms can free themselves from non-core activities and instead work on strategies for enhancing business growth and client service.
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