Tax preparation outsourcing services help firms cut costs.
Tax & AccountingJune 02, 2022

5 ways cloud tax preparation helps firms add high-value services

Firms are pursing digital transformation through new cloud technologies. Better workflows help professionals become more productive and efficient. However, clients are expecting more from the modern tax and accounting firm. They want more consultative services to help them minimize their future tax burden and use internal big data to optimize business performance. 

There are a few common constraints for most firms that stand in the way of delivering additional high-value services that clients desire. These obstacles can include staffing shortages, time limitations, and limited cash flow. In this article, we’ll review five ways cloud-based tax preparation can help alleviate these constraints and allow firms to pursue more value-added service offerings. 

1. Allocate more resources toward developing new services

Wolters Kluwer’s annual survey of tax and accounting firms revealed the ways cloud technology confers value to a firm. Cloud technology is correlated with two indicators of firm financial success. Nearly 80% of firms using cloud-based tax compliance solutions reported increased revenue in 2021, compared to roughly half of firms with on premise solutions.1 Additionally, 73% of cloud firms enjoyed improved profitability, compared to 52% of traditional firms.  

Firms with comfortable revenue levels and better profitability have the freedom to budget more resources toward development of new services for clients. Launching value-added services, in turn, reinforces profitability. It’s a win-win for cloud-enabled firms.

We’ve actually seen an increase in our business. We have a large niche of restaurants that needed assistance, obviously, during this pandemic, with PPP loans and all of that. We've really increased our book of business. We hired a full-time recruiter to get the staff we needed for the work we've been bringing in. We're hiring another IT person as well, so we're expanding exponentially.   
Lisa Johnson, IT Manager & Systems Administrator, ADKF

2. Lower costs to free up financial resources

Firms can use the cloud to decrease or even eliminate IT expenses. Subscription-based cloud software is accounted for as OPEX rather than CAPEX, and the cost of a firm’s technology gets spread over time, with less upfront investment.  Cloud technology vendors take care of automatic updates and maintain the physical hardware and security infrastructure. Using a cloud portal to deliver documents and gather electronic signatures can also eliminate the cost of mailing information to clients and receiving and processing client documents on paper. 

3. Gain time efficiency through automation and document organization

Building new revenue streams requires time to focus on innovation. If your staff is covered up in lower-value mundane tasks, it can be hard to allocate time for creating high-value services. Why make people perform tasks that computers could do faster and with greater accuracy? The automation made possible by integrated cloud solutions allows staff to onboard new clients in less time. Changes to client information flow through the entire tax workflow, eliminating re-keying as well as the need to log in and out of multiple systems. 

Organization is also key to efficiency. Digital document delivery eliminates time that was spent preparing mailings to clients. Cloud document management creates a central location and organizational system for documents that enables professionals to locate information quickly.  

The time efficiency that can be had by being able to bring all the documents into one spot consistently from client to client helps the staff people who prepare tax returns know where to look, how to sign off on PDF pages, and how to call up the tax return and compare the same results.
Tom Savino, Principal, Bonanno, Savino, Davies & Ganley P.C.

4. Empower junior staff to free up more experienced professionals

When a firm adopts an integrated, end-to-end cloud tax preparation workflow, junior staff can complete returns more easily and with greater accuracy. Junior level staff can validate and import the tax data to provide a draft of the tax return. Reviewers can speed up their process, because it is easy to drill down into client data. This means returns are completed and delivered in less time and with better staff utilization. The firm’s managers and experienced professionals can dedicate more time to uncovering new opportunities with existing clients and developing new high-value services.

We’ve been really pleased with the uniformity that we get from having tax in the cloud. It speeds up my review time because there's a few more bells and whistles to be able to know exactly where you're at and find the details. As far as convenience, you can get what you need, anytime, anyplace anywhere in the world.
Nancy Ekrem, CPA, Managing Shareholder, DME CPA Group PC

5. Dedicate more time for advisory

When firms reduce time spent on basic compliance work, it leaves more energy to grow the value-added parts of the business. Cloud technology frees time that would have been lost to inefficiencies and lack of automation and lets firm dedicate more brain power to advisory and consultation. We can see examples of this in the CCH Axcess cloud tax preparation workflow:

  • Intelligent diagnostics, practical review tools and other advanced features in CCH Axcess™ Tax help firms stay in compliance with fast-changing tax legislation and regulatory guidance.  
  • CCH Axcess™ Client Collaboration provides a unified collaboration hub that helps firms obtain information from clients more quickly. 
  • CCH® ProSystem fx® Scan and AutoFlow Technology reads client documents, identifies key data, bookmarks the documents for consistent organization, and flows data into tax forms for enhanced preparer productivity.  

1. Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting Survey, 2021
Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting is a leading provider of software solutions and local expertise that helps tax, accounting, and audit professionals research and navigate complex regulations, comply with legislation, manage their businesses and advise clients with speed, accuracy and efficiency.
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