5 ways to improve your next tax season

Every tax season leaves accountants feeling the impact of a stressful tax process, wondering what they can improve for the next. While you may not have control over external factors, like clients providing information or legislative changes, you can look to improve your internal processes.

The answer is to simplify, streamline and speed up how your practice handles personal tax is a software package that integrates all your compliance needs. By centralising all your compliance products and introducing simple, standardised workflows personalised to your processes, your practice can increase how efficiently it operates and reduce the stress of meeting the 31st January deadline next year.

#1: Get faster and safer access to data

Integrating your tax and accounts software solutions can reduce the amount of time adding, correcting and using the data. Real-time data can be accessed quickly and securely as you progress through the compliance steps, from accounts production to personal tax. When added to one solution, data can easily flow through to the next, populating all the necessary fields and reducing the need for manual data entry.

All workflows connect seamlessly. Simple changes to data, such as contact details, can be updated once and this will automatically flow through to your clients’ accounts and tax returns.

Using an integrated system can help keep data safer. Information held in the system is regularly and automatically backed-up giving you that extra peace of mind. Furthermore, information can be shared with clients using an encrypted link, rather than via email. Reducing the risk that sensitive client data will be shared with the wrong person.

#2: Future proof your processes

HMRC’s ambition is to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world. VAT compliance is the first step of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) programme and all elements of the tax system will be overhauled in due course. Using integrated software takes the strain out of any compliance changes. Systems and workflows will be automatically updated to comply with any changes in regulation.

Integrating your accounts production and personal tax solutions will become particularly important when MTD for Income Tax comes into play over the coming years. While these two functions will often exist in separate teams within your practice, this will change with the introduction of quarterly reporting. The management reports traditionally prepared by an accounts team may need more regular tax department input, meaning the work from both teams could cross over.  It will be important to have both teams working with integrated software using the same data. Perhaps even a two-way transactional sync with your clients’ underlying bookkeeping solution – more on this later.

#3: Reduce the opportunity for error

Introducing consistent workflows throughout your practice means that all your employees will follow the same process, reducing the risk of missing any vital steps. An integrated system can automatically highlight any errors or inconsistencies easily so that they can be amended quickly. Key areas of risk will be highlighted, helping to improve accuracy and reduce the risk of HMRC enquiries.

Furthermore, even accountants can be prone to error when manually entering volumes of data at a time. Digital data entry reduces that risk because data is transferred automatically from the underlying records.

#4: Become more flexible

Real-time access to your client’s tax return data will allow you to make any edits live, dramatically speeding up the review process. Using an integrated model means that you can add other relevant modules as required to allow you, for example, to automate the review of your tax returns or prepare complex capital gains tax calculations easily.

Additionally, using a product which can be accessed remotely opens new opportunities for your staff and allows them to work more flexibly. This is the future of workspaces.

#5: Improve your profitability

There’s no point investing in new software if it doesn’t make financial sense. However, there’s also little financial sense in running multiple systems, paying for the training for all the different systems and spending precious time exporting and tweaking the data as you move it from system to system. Using one centralised database can be more budget friendly than interlinking a myriad of databases.

Survive and thrive through your next tax season

The industry is evolving at a rapid pace and digitalisation is the solution to that changing landscape. The tax return of tomorrow will be a digital file, and the core value that you will be providing as a tax advisor will be validating the data. Tax compliance will become digitalised and maybe that vision of a paperless office for compliance could finally become a reality.

Find out how you can navigate this new digital landscape while putting into place an effective and comprehensive plan to take your next season head on. Download this whitepaper, a must-read for any practice looking to drive greater efficiency.

How can Wolters Kluwer help you?

Wolters Kluwer is experts at working in complex, compliance-driven environments. By combining our expert knowledge with smart tools and technologies, our solutions enable our customers to be more efficient.

CCH Personal Tax simplifies and streamlines every step of the tax return process, from data collection and data entry through to review, approval and online filing. It enables your practice to deliver high quality tax work in the quickest possible time.

CCH Personal Tax is also unique in that it has a two-way transactional data sync with CCH OneClick, where any changes in CCH Personal Tax or CCH Accounts Production is automatically fed back into the bookkeeping software you are using. This manual process can be automated into a process that takes seconds rather than minutes.

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