If you look around, connectivity is all around us. In the simplest terms, APIs enable that connectivity by providing a way for applications to work together. But what exactly is an API, and why should you care about the API policy of your accounting software and solution vendors?
What is an API, exactly?
API (or application programming interfaces) create connectivity to increase efficiency, automate tasks, and improve staff retention by helping tax and accounting applications work together. One way to think about APIs is to imagine a restaurant diner sitting at a table with a menu in front of them.
Back in the kitchen, you have a team of chefs. In the middle, you have someone who takes the guest’s order, relays it to the kitchen, then delivers the meal when it’s done. Think of that server as an API.
Why APIs and open integration important to accounting firms?
Some tax and accounting firms are using 40 or more applications. Imagine the duplication of work that’s involved with that many applications.
With APIs and integrations that ensure the applications work together, your staff can avoid inaccuracies and eliminate time spent on mundane data entry tasks. Those benefits save money and improve the customer experience, but those aren’t the only benefits.
APIs allow you to build a better, happier staff. Firms have always had talent challenges, and looking at the accounting pipeline, it doesn’t look like the staffing shortage experienced by many firms will go away any time soon. APIs and their associated integration gains help drive a better employee experience. Because staff are spending less time on monotonous and repetitive work, they gain the capacity to focus on high-value work. In short, your staff can work at the top of their capabilities.
Tried and tested technology
APIs will continue to play a significant role in a firm’s technology ecosystem, ensuring that you have the ideal tech stack for your firm. And though the technology may be new to some in the accounting industry, it’s not new to us.
Wolters Kluwer has offered APIs on the CCH Axcess™ platform for most of the past decade and even longer for other applications. Our APIs are tried and tested, and because we know how important APIs are to ensuring an accounting firm is running at peak effectiveness, we’re incredibly bullish on reliability.
How your firm can leverage APIs
The way firms can use APIs is almost endless. We have firms currently using APIs to automatically transfer data into tax returns, automate roll forwards, and do batch extensions.
To determine how your firm can leverage APIs, you first need to catalog all the applications used in your practice. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself:
- Where are there potentially duplicative processes
- What part of your current workflow could lead to inaccuracies
- What administrative tasks does your staff a significant amount of time working on
There’s potential for an API could potentially perform that activity to drive significant efficiency gains or reduce inaccuracies.
Wolters Kluwers’ API Marketplace and open API policy provides tax and accounting firms with access to APIs and advanced integrations. Firms benefit from advanced integrations, whether they are developing these integrations themselves through the new developer portal or implementing a third-party solution from a Wolters Kluwer technology partner.