CCH Axcess Open Integration Kit Can Save Your Firm Time and Money Without Sacrificing Quality
It's December, which means your accounting firm should be planning for the 2022 tax season, starting with an assessment of the 2021 tax season. Part of that assessment no doubt includes what was done by deadline, how much was extended, and how to increase capacity and get more returns out the door.
While I know that all three answers could be found using tools offered by CCH AxcessTM solutions, today, I'm focusing on the last one.
We all know that return prep is getting commoditized. You want to get more returns out the door in less time but maintain the quality you and your clients expect. To be more efficient, firms can leverage automation to remove duplicate work or low-level tasks.
For firms using solutions built on the CCH Axcess platform, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is called CCH Axcess Open Integration Kit.
What is CCH Axcess Open Integration Kit?
CCH Axcess Open Integration Kit (aka OIK) is a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide firms with a direct connection to background functions in Axcess, bypassing the user interface. Most of you may not understand what APIs are or what they do, which is okay. All you need to know is that, when used properly, they can save your firm time and money without sacrificing quality. That is something that I know interests everyone.
Is Automation Right For Your Firm?
Automation is a great thing, but it is not always the solution. Automation requires consistency and access to data. In our digital world, access to data usually is not the hard part. Consistency is a whole different conversation.
To automate a task, we have to document what steps are required. If there are ten different ways to do a task, the effort required to automate that task will most likely out-weight the savings provided.
When I have sat down with firms to discuss leveraging OIK, we also take the time to discuss standardizing processes. Some firm environments thrive on custom processes aligned to specific client needs. However, just because you have custom processes in certain places, there are usually areas where you can find similarities that allow for automation. Firms need to take an honest look at their processes and see where automation may work.
Where can OIK Support Your Firm?
The next step in the automation journey is understanding where OIK can be inserted into your existing processes. OIK is not meant to replace your entire workflow, although it can do a lot. OIK has many different areas where it can offer potential automation.
In the tax area, OIK can help automate data entry, printing, roll forward of returns, and e-file reporting.
The most used Tax tool in the OIK toolbox is our Tax Transfer technology. It allows firms to import data to any input field in any return. Firms have been leveraging this technology for the past ten years, automating the input of everything from Excel templates to data stored in databases. I have seen the import of schedule C's, rentals, electronic organizers, depreciation assets, and foreign transaction reporting. If the data is in a standard format, you can map the data to where you want it input, create the import files, and send the files to the background service.
How Do We Get Started?
This probably sounds great to everyone. Now you ask yourself, how do we get started? The first step is finding a team and building the technology interface to leverage Tax Transfer and other OIK technologies.
Your IT teams may have the knowledge necessary to build the interface. If not, firms can leverage Wolters Kluwer consulting services to help build solutions, or engage 3rd party IT consulting companies for assistance.
APIs may sound complicated, but they can save your firm time and money without sacrificing quality when used properly.