Tax & AccountingOctober 07, 2022

How to solve the top three challenges accounting and tax professionals face at tax time

Wolters Kluwer surveyed 430 Australian and New Zealand accounting and tax professionals earlier this year, presenting our findings in the 2022 Tax Season Challenges Report: Accounting evolution: how firms adapted to the global landscape in 2022.

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One of the key findings in the report was that in 2022, the key challenges faced by accountants in 2022 were centred around time; there are simply not enough hours in the day.

Top three challenges of accounting firms in 2022

  1. Work life balance
  2. Finding time to identify opportunities to add value to clients
  3. Obtaining correct data and information from clients on a timely basis

Wolters Kluwer 2022 Tax Season Challenges Report

Fifty-nine percent of the survey respondents confirmed their number one issue this year was work life balance. This isn’t surprising; amidst a backdrop of a global talent shortage, accountants are needing to do more with less. Forty-six percent of respondents said their major challenge was finding time to add value to their clients. Again, with accountants struggling to find the hours in the day to complete fundamental compliance work, making time to generate advisory work can feel impossible.

Finally, the third most common issue faced by firms this year, with 45% of respondents was chasing client information. This isn’t new and was also reported as a major challenge in our survey last year.

All of these challenges are underpinned by the fact that accounting and tax professionals provide “always-on services” in a post-pandemic economy. Small to medium businesses account for 97% of all businesses across Asia Pacific. These SMBs look to their accountants as their most trusted business advisor. SMB clients are expecting higher levels of service and advisory from their accountants, while employees are looking for firms that are ahead of the curve.

Wolters Kluwer is here for accounting firms, to provide the products and solutions that can help firms gain efficiencies, improve productivity (do more with less) in order to enhance service offerings and contribute to firm growth and profitability.

At the end of the day, our products are designed to help you reclaim hours in your day to do what’s most important to you and your business.

Here’s how our technology can help.

Practice management

To be able to achieve better work life balance, it’s important to leverage technology to help boost productivity and gain efficiencies across your workflows.

Intelligent practice management software can automate tasks and workflows – helping your team to execute jobs efficiently.

Automation and smart workflows support error reduction, streamlined operations, increase productivity and margins. Making the right solution choices will give you time back to spend on strategic activities to grow your firm. Today's firms need to make onboarding new clients easier, improve collaboration, streamline communications, automate calendars, jobs, client signature(s)/approvals and allocate resources.

Empowering staff to better manage their workloads and better service their clients leads to a greater likelihood of correlating team empowerment with team performance. High-performing individuals have high levels of job satisfaction (which means staying put in a competitive job market) and a desire to go above and beyond.

With CCH iFirm Practice Manager, we added 15% to our annual workload without putting on more staff – producing 12% revenue growth
Troy Johnson, Partner, Hartmann-Cox Chartered Accountants

Predictive intelligence

In addition to the productivity gains that can be achieved via practice management software, there are also predictive intelligence tools that can help you identify opportunities to add value to clients.

An intelligent online tax research platform, that curates and creates expert content and commentary, cases, and practical, real-world examples, with trusted up-to-date data and insights is an invaluable resource. Having an online tax research platform with easy access to the latest tax legislation, rulings and judgments is crucial.

There are also tools available, like CCH iQ Client Match, which identify the hundreds of macro-economic and legislative events that take place every year in Australia – including changes to tax laws, more Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announcements, or rule changes to accessing superannuation. The tool uses predictive intelligence to search an accounting firm’s database and identify specific clients who will be impacted by those event(s). In just a single search, a firm can match ever-changing legislation to multiple client outcomes. This is a great way to help firms build relationships based on high-value tailored advice and updates. The task is also made easier with tools available including Pro-forma client letters, client impact statements and calculators.

Client communications

A centralised practice management client portal can solve the common headache for accounting firms of chasing clients for their information.

It's no surprise that constantly reminding clients to provide annual information during the tax season is a key pain point for so many firms. Missing data, collating, reviewing, and making more information requests is something many firms still need to do manually. And what's worse, disruptions to workflows and increased WIP days can lead to a greater chance of errors. Getting to the discovery phase of an annual return is still easily side-tracked by the administrative burden of chasing clients for information.

Also, with more employees increasingly working from home, firms need to ensure a client’s information remains secure. This is why the adoption of technologies to help remote, or hybrid-remote, professionals stay secure and prevent cyber-intrusion is of such importance.

Cloud-based client portals are the single best way to simplify communication with every client. This 1-on-1 secure portal between the firm and client removes the need for the typical perfect storm of emails, paper and phone calls. By removing the paper trail and taking clients to the cloud, a client portal can deliver greater collaboration in a secure environment.

Need some more info on our time saving cloud technology?

Learn more about our CCH iFirm suite of practice management and compliance tools.

Further resources

Download the full Wolters Kluwer 2022 Tax Season Challenges Report: Accounting evolution: how firms adapted to the global landscape in 2022.

Request a demo of CCH iFirm practice management and compliance solutions.

Sign up for a free 7-day trial for CCH iKnow, your go-to tax resource for today’s tax professional.

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