The vision of end-to-end automation across the compliance cycle, from receiving information from the client to eventually filing the accounts and tax returns to HMRC, is an everyday reality for many firms across the UK.
These ‘future-fit’ firms have implemented a seamless process that eliminates manual intervention and paper.
Here’s how it works:
It starts with the extraction of data from receipts and invoices
Rather than ploughing through the pile of paper left in reception by the client, these accountants encourage their clients to use Basecone, a software tool that extracts important information such as the amount, VAT and supplier name.
Basecone uses optical character recognition combined with machine learning to automatically extract all the necessary details from the receipt or invoice and allocate these details to the correct supplier and nominal code in their cloud bookkeeping package of choice. Receipts and invoices can be scanned, snapped on a phone, or forwarded as an email receipt or PDF attachment.
Next, data flows from bookkeeping software to create the accounts
If the client sends their bookkeeping records, this information has to make its way into your accounts production software. Traditionally, this has meant playing around with CSV import/export files or rekeying data from scratch, with all the risks that brings.
Firms applying automation can pull the trial balance and/or nominal ledger straight out of the bookkeeping package used by the client into CCH Accounts Production without needing to familiarise themselves with the inner workings of multiple bookkeeping packages or forcing clients into adopting a specific package.
Cloud tools like Open Integration provide a live link with both your bookkeeping software and your accounts production software through CCH OneClick. This allows users to see all bookkeeping transactions from different providers within CCH OneClick. This avoids having to log into multiple bookkeeping applications to download a copy of the accounts for formatting and minimises the risk of human error when keying that data back into CCH Accounts Production.
Journals created in CCH Accounts Production can also be synced back into the bookkeeping product without having to rely on your client to do this. In the past, you might have handed these journals to clients to retype into the bookkeeping software, only to find a year later that they had done this incorrectly or not at all. This issue can now be easily avoided.
The tax return is automatically populated for submission to HMRC
Preparing a tax return often involves advisors spending a lot of time on the phone with HMRC or logging into their client’s Digital Tax Accounts to understand what information is being held on them. Populating the tax return automatically and directly from the source accelerates the compliance processes and avoids errors too.
CCH OneClick allows you to set up a live link to all your clients’ Digital Tax Account, meaning that the data is fed into CCH OneClick, creating a single source of information. From there, you can review and compare the data before sending it to your client’s tax return with no need to re-key data.
The future of compliance will be in using and reviewing data, not entering it. These are just some examples of the key stages of compliance work where automation can handle routine data entry for your team, leaving them to do what they do best: adding value to your clients.
Find out more about how you can optimise your compliance processes, beginning to end by downloading the Optimising the compliance lifecycle article.