The accounting industry is evolving all time, but while this means greater value for clients it can mean an increase in problems and hurdles for small and medium sized accounting firms hoping to keep up with their competitors or meet the growing number of compliance standards required by external bodies.
Thankfully, technology is advancing at an even faster rate and there are now many accounting systems available to ensure efficiency when it comes to both productivity and finances. We’ve taken a look at some of the problems facing modern accountancy practices and how accounts preparation software could help you tackle them effectively.
Meeting necessary standards
As an accounts company it’s likely you spend a significant portion of your time ensuring your clients’ accounts are in a format that meets the standards of both Companies House and HMRC. Many of the standards set out by these organisations are similar, but this fact alone won’t have prevented you or your team spending hours ensuring all accounts are fully compliant. Thankfully, accounts production software such as that provided by Capium is capable of pulling data from all relevant sources in a way that meets these standards, before reformatting the data to meet the requirements of both agencies.
The process of retrieving the relevant information is the easiest aspect of the formatting process, requiring you or your team to simply point the software in the right direction for the required information. This may mean setting up links with excel documents, bank feeds, invoices or digital tax accounts, all of which can be easily accessed through this type of advanced accounts preparation software. Once linked, these data sources will be easily accessible from any area of the accounts programme, so you’ll only need to create these links once.
The result of linking all relevant data sources to the software is that it can be manipulated as and when required with minimal effort. This is particularly helpful when it comes to transforming data into iXBRL format, the tagging method used by HMRC and Companies House to read accounts data. This process involves the application of computer-readable tags to the accounts data, making it possible for the information to be read automatically by the organisations’ software.
Transforming this data to iXBRL would arguably be verging on impossible, or at the very least incredibly time consuming. However, many types of accounts production software is capable of doing this on your behalf in a matter of seconds, reducing wasted time and increasing efficiency.
The introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into law has prompted concern for businesses in all sectors and specialities. As an accountant, you’re likely to have the added pressure of having to ensure compliance for both your own practice and your clients’ businesses. Unfortunately, the fact that you’ll be responsible for the latter is reason enough for your practice to be labelled a ‘controller’ under GDPR, meaning you’ll be responsible for a stronger level of compliance than you would be as a ‘processor’. According to the ICO, the reason accountants will be labelled as such is due to the fact that you are responsible for determining what information you should obtain and process to achieve your goals, essentially acting as “controllers in common”.
As a result of this label you and your practice will be responsible for the handling of data subjects included in your clients’ data. This means its likely that the way you interact with figures from your clients and their subjects will need to be reviewed regularly to ensure that consent for data processing has been freely given by all involved. Currently, content is often included in contracts such as employment contracts and terms & conditions, with many people consenting to data processing without being fully aware of their decision. However, this will change as part of GDPR, requiring companies including accountancy firms to clearly state the future use of the data before the client or data subject freely provides consent.
Thankfully, tools such as Capium’s accounts preparation software make this process easier, making the most of the data clients and their subjects have consented to provide and making sure it is all processed in the method agreed. This type of software also regularly updates security processes to ensure they meet GDPR regulations, so you can rest assured that aspect of compliance is reliably met.
Fast sharing with clients
Arguably one of the most time consuming issues for many accountants is the necessity to wait for clients to confirm or review certain aspects of the accounting process. This might include queries related to individual payments or expenses, or perhaps the confirmation of payroll information when your client hires a new member of staff.
You will also be required to ensure all final accounts are checked by your client before they are submitted to Companies House and HMRC. This process can be particularly time consuming and difficult to endure if accounts need to be physically posted to them or even formatted to be easily readable from an email.
Accounts preparation software is an effective method of tackling this problem, providing easy methods of sharing that are regularly updated to ensure they’re as fast and efficient as possible. Modern accounts software even makes it possible for your clients to be given mediated access to your accounts tools, so they can save you time by accessing and commenting on them in an instant.
Combining all data sources in one place
The advancement of technology in all industries has led to a transformation in the way we do business. In the modern world, accountants can share information with a click, gain access to real-time bank feeds and send finished accounts in computer-readable formats. However, this rapid change to the face of accounting means those still relying on more traditional methods of processing will struggle to provide the best for their clients.
Accounts preparation software solves this problem, making the import of data from a variety of sources simple and fast. Simply gather previous data and transfer it into the new software with the click of a button. All future data can then be inputted straight into your accounts production software to ensure it’s easily accessible through all parts of the accounts process.
In some cases, it’s even possible for you to continue using some of your established methods. This is the case for areas such as deadline calendars, some of which can be linked with the software to provide accurate information on deadlines and tasks without requiring a complete overhaul of your current system.
Save time and money
As communication advances and the world gets smaller, businesses are becoming increasingly ambitious and desperate to grow. This might mean expanding into international accounting or perhaps you’d simply like to increase your client base within a specific UK sector. Either way, it’s now more likely than ever before that there are other companies out their aspiring to achieve the same levels of growth, and as a result it’s important to use your time and finances efficiently. Many aspects of accounts preparation software have been specifically designed to achieve one or both of these, but the opportunity to save time is fully integrated into every tool provided by many leading account software experts.
This is no clearer than it is within the main accounts production tools, where accountants can amalgamate all relevant information to create final accounts in an instant. From the quick import of trial balance and the easy sharing of accounts drafts with clients to application of iXBRL tagging and instant formatting for HMRC and Companies House, accounts production software is an effective method of saving many hours for you and your team. These valuable hours can also save money for your clients, who will receive significantly greater value from your practice if they’re not required to pay for lengthy analysis and accounts production services.
However, it’s not just your clients who will save money as a result of using advanced software. As a modern business, you may find yourself subject to an ever-increasing number of compliance standards, all of which require your methods to be updated and, in some cases, the addition of new software. By choosing to use comprehensive and advanced accounts production software you can avoid these added costs. This is partly due to the creators of such software taking on the burden of ensuring complete compliance for all relevant parties, including the introduction of GDPR. Additionally, money can be saved by choosing a system that provides a large number of powerful tools and regularly adds to its selection, so you can simply add new software to an already established system as required.
To find out more about how Capium’s range of accounts production software could solve your accounting problems, please call our support line on 020 3322 5578 or visit our website to book a demo.