When it comes to modern practice management, many integrated accounting suite vendors boast of how easy it is to switch to their products.
However, how can you be sure that the switch, no matter how smooth it is, will help you reach the end goals you’ve identified? If your aim is to benefit from a full accounting suite, a tried and tested product is more likely to allow your practice to become more agile and scalable. You’ll also be able to increase your business resilience and capitalise on new business opportunities.
So, what do today’s integrated accounting suites actually look like, beyond the hype of the seamless journey? How can they demonstrably and consistently drive practice growth? And how are they helping practices with the real issues that matter today – like compliance with Making Tax Digital, helping to launch new lines of business, and balancing the need for business continuity with the desire to innovate?
These are questions we’re frequently asked by practices, as vendors of the product bundle CCH Accelerate. CCH Accelerate comprises tried and tested accounting solutions, created by Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK. At Wolters Kluwer, growing our local and global expert solutions is at the core of our work. This bundle aims to optimise account preparation and tax automation processes. In this article, we’ll give you a breakdown of what practice growth can look like, using modern accounting tools.
Centralised data: limitless potential
Fundamentally, a fully integrated accounting suite can intelligently share information between applications. This saves accountants vital time every day. By centralising all information in one secure place – available whenever and wherever it’s needed – advisors have 24/7 access to a single source of information, and clients have access to a secure view of their own data.
The accounting suite is not simply a data collection exercise, however. A full suite will also include a central repository of documents and messages that have been exchanged between advisor and client, plus workflows that show how each job is progressing. Collaboration timelines can be shown for all tasks and deadlines, and accountants can view their entire document management system – with appropriate privacy controls set by the accountant themselves.
It’s a far cry from the days of endless emails and spreadsheets. However, having an accessible and consistent approach to data is only the tip of the iceberg.
Beyond the basics: practice growth re-imagined
How does a full accounting suite actually impact practice growth? It’s often useful to look at some of the common challenges we see among small and medium-sized practices. We should also examine some of the growth goals that modern practices strive for.
Take Making Tax Digital (MTD), for example. The MTD for VAT compliance deadline has now passed. The deadline for MTD for Income Tax – whereby clients will have to file quarterly – is two years away. Practices are having to work smarter and faster to process more data. Accounting software suites can help significantly by providing a consistent view of data across practices, and providing the digital links required to submit returns in compliance with HMRC regulation.
Without these benefits, practices may find themselves exploring ‘workaround’ solutions to submit digitally. This can create difficulties in serving higher-value businesses, due to the time and resource drains of MTD compliance with outdated data and software.
MTD also emphasises what a full accounting suite can do for demonstrable practice growth. If practices can fast-track MTD processing and compliance, quarterly filing is transformed from a potential hindrance into an opportunity. Accountants can push more services to their existing client base and spend more time on attracting new clients. MTD for Income Tax will also mean we have more data, which can drive better business insights. Understanding a client’s position perfectly is the best possible foundation for offering them better value-add services over time.
Many accounting suites also feature intelligent and visual reporting. These allow advisors to pull data in real time and analyse it – thus providing the rationale for strategic plans to help clients capitalise on new business opportunities. Practices can also use similar tools to analyse their own position, so that they know when to jump on new opportunities, and when to hold back.
Controlling costs and securing support
At Wolters Kluwer, we believe and invest in technology that makes a difference – technology for the real world. Our CCH Accelerate bundle, which gives access to cloud accounting tools, offers a fixed fee and a dedicated account manager. This is designed to transform your entire journey into a cost-effective and seamless end-to-end digital experience. From accounts production to personal and corporation tax, the sky is the limit.
To find out more about CCH Accelerate, simply fill out the short form below.