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Tax & AccountingDecember 11, 2023

5 BOI reporting challenges accounting firms can solve with beneficial ownership software 

While most CPA firms are gearing up for the busy tax season, another compliance issue is looming on the horizon. The Corporate Transparency Act’s Beneficial Ownership Information reporting requirement will soon take effect, leaving many small and mid-sized businesses with more questions than answers. Accountants in the know could be poised to seize this new opportunity, but they’ll face some challenges along the way. Luckily, new beneficial ownership software can help make BOI reporting more efficient.

Challenge: Uncertainty and confusion

Although the Corporate Transparency Act was passed in 2021, recent surveys show a majority of small business owners remained unaware of the new rules, even as the effective date rapidly approaches.  However, with harsh penalties for non-compliance, ignorance of the requirements is not an option. 

Accounting firms can help enable better understanding of BOI requirements for their clients. For accountants that want to build advisory relationships with their clients, offering expertise in this area could be a valuable starting point for further business advising and consulting. Other firms may prefer to assist clients by referring them to a resource for filing their BOI reports themselves. Either way, a self-assessment tool can help clients understand if they are required to file or not. 

Challenge: Unresponsive clients

Every year during busy season, professional accounting firms struggle to get clients to provide the information needed for the annual tax engagement. Client responsiveness almost always appears at the top of firms’ lists of busy season challenges. So it would not come as a surprise if firms face similar challenges with obtaining BOI filing information from clients. 

Clients are often slow to provide the required information, requiring multiple requests and reminders. Firms can look for beneficial ownership software that enables them to easily request and collect information from beneficial owners. Automated reminders are helpful, relieving staff from having to follow up again and again. To save even more time, firms can provide clients the ability to enter data directly into the system instead of collecting and entering data on their behalf. 

Challenge: Lack of time 

FinCEN has estimated that filing BOI reports may take up to 3 hours per report. Firms are already stretched thin, so finding the time for this additional requirement may be difficult. Any new service will have a learning curve, so firms should look for tools that help guide staff through the process as they learn. 

CCH Axcess™ Beneficial Ownership software uses a smart form to walk through the BOI report step-by-step and validate that required fields are complete. The dashboard provides an overview of all of the firm’s BOI reports, with the ability to create custom groups to organize data, track status from creation through completion and make edits directly on the grid. By making BOI compliance more efficient, firms can add this revenue-generating service and enhance their role as trusted advisors to their clients without over-burdening staff.

Challenge: Bulk reporting 

Since initial filing reports will need to be completed for large numbers of clients in 2024, firms will need to scale up their efforts in the coming year. To save time and resources, firms should look for bulk uploading and editing features that enable them to manage multiple reports in one place.

For example, CCH Axcess Beneficial Ownership customers can upload a list of entities from Microsoft Excel to begin with. They can also use form duplication to pre-populate related forms with existing data and documents. 

Challenge: Keeping BOI up to date

The new BOI reporting requirement is not a one-time event. The rules require reporting companies to file new reports whenever there is a change to beneficial ownership information. Using FinCEN’s reporting system does not provide reporting companies access to stored filing data for amendments and updates. The result would be unnecessary and time-consuming re-keying of data.  

The CCH Axcess Beneficial Ownership platform solution provides firms with time savings year after year by enabling the re-use of data for filing amendments, changes and related filings. Data is maintained safely and securely, and forms can be duplicated to save time and reduce errors.

CCH Axcess Beneficial Ownership software can help firms gather required BOI data and handle reporting on behalf of their clients. Many clients will want to leverage their existing relationship with their trusted accountant to comply with the BOI requirements. With CCH Axcess Beneficial Ownership, accounting firms can save time on high volume BOI report filing, enhance their role as trusted advisor to their small business clients, and generate a new revenue stream by offering BOI compliance.

Product Marketing Manager, Tax

Aimee Hall is a product marketing manager for Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting US, focusing on the professional market. In this role, she is responsible for leading the marketing strategy for tax software products including CCH Axcess Tax, CCH ProSystem fx Tax and ATX Tax. She joined Wolters Kluwer in 2006 and lives in the Chicago suburbs.

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