The announcement that HMRC plans to implement a new electronic accounting system by 2020 will have huge implications for accountants, many of whom will need to change the way they work to meet the government’s new standards. However, the mass updating of systems likely to precede the launch of the Making Tax Digital plan could actually be a blessing in disguise.
If legislation remains the same, it can be tempting for accountancy firms to keep their practices the same to avoid unnecessary alterations to a successful system. While this helps accountants to avoid making new mistakes, it also makes it too easy to avoid embracing new technology, which could ultimately transform the practice in the long term.
We’ve taken a look at how the need to digitalise your accounting processes through tax software for accountants could actually benefit you and your clients, offering a number of advantages you may not have considered.
Traditionally, many accounting practices rely on a number of specifically designed manual and digital processes to deal with each part of the accounting process. These systems are then either concluded individually or manually tied together at the end of the accounting process.
By removing the need to complete paperwork or manually sync multiple data sources you can save yourself and your clients a great deal of valuable time. Accounts preparation software such as Capium’s Accounts Production online tool make it possible to view all of your client’s information at the click of a button, removing the need for multiple programmes. Either import your data from external sources to create an instant combined report, or use multiple accounts production tools from the same system to manage each part of your accounts process, before creating a single easy report.
Cloud software also makes it possible to manage your clients’ accounts anywhere at anytime via smartphones, laptops or other devices, so you can respond to any last minute requests for data from your clients and avoid wasted time. This is also useful when reports are uploaded to HMRC and Companies House. Should they require additional information or confirmation of calculations, you can respond in a matter of moments and ensure no delays.
The frequent updating of HMRCs compliance standards can be daunting to those reliant on manual accounting systems. Particularly in the age of increasing data breaches, it’s vital that your clients’ data is kept safe at all times. Whether you use traditional paper accounts or rely on a selection of individual tools, you will need to regularly check your compliance responsibilities to ensure your data is protected and your practice avoids penalties.
Thankfully, online accounts production software is often developed to update alongside government standards, ensuring simplified compliance as you prepare your tax and audit reports. Transfer your accounting processes to an online system such as Capium and you will benefit from avoiding the complications associated with compliance. Simply ensure your chosen software guarantees to update alongside government legislation and you can save a great deal of time and energy.
No matter how careful you are, it’s possible that at some point during your manual accounting processes you could make a mistake. Unfortunately, this can have a significant impact on your clients, particularly if they’re running a small business. In some cases, it’s even possible for a small error to result in an investigation by HMRC and even a financial penalty.
By switching to accounts production software you can eliminate unnecessary mistakes. Online accounts software is often designed to pull all relevant information from the appropriate sources, check it against other data to ensure accuracy, and then expertly calculate any final sums without allowing the opportunity for error.
You can also reduce your chances of submitting inaccurate calculations to your clients or to HMRC or Companies House by taking advantage of multiple validation opportunities. Capium, for example, offers a validation tool that repeatedly checks your calculations and data input throughout the accounting process, to ensure you avoid any costly mistakes.
Data security is an increasingly important consideration for all businesses, particularly those handling sensitive data on behalf of others. As an accountant it’s likely you have access to important financial data for a number of businesses, and some of these businesses could face failure should their data be compromised. In some cases, this risk is due to the sensitivity of their work in terms of their competitors. However, this risk could also be due to the sensitivity and volume of data they hold for their own clients. Should any accounting calculations made based on their own client data, this data should be kept entirely safe and secure to prevent penalties or damage to their reputation.
Thankfully, by choosing to use accounts production software over manual operations you can benefit from regularly updated security protocols and highly protected cloud backups. The former prevents your data security system from falling foul of the responsibilities given to you by the government and any relevant industry bodies. The latter, on the other hand, ensure you never lose or erroneously release any of your client data, or the data of your clients’ customers. Should you suffer from a systems failure, you can rest assured that your clients’ data is easily recoverable online in a matter of moments.
Reduce unnecessary costs
Setting up and accountancy practice and maintaining a wide variety of tools can be costly. Using accounts production software can reduce these costs immediately by removing the need for a large variety of external software solutions and providing a single system. However, costs can be reduced even further thanks to the flexibility of many modern digital tax systems.
Capium, for example, offers a huge range of accounting solutions that may only be relevant and helpful to some practices but not others. Simply pick and choose the services you require for your clients, reducing the need to integrate unnecessary tools into your process and significantly reducing your unnecessary outgoings.
Cloud software is constantly developing and upgrading, and by embracing online accounts production tools you can use this innovation to your advantage. As discussed above, the advanced nature of online accounting tools means a reduced need for manual calculations, validation and report creation. This not only saves time but also reduces the need for error and fact checking, so you can focus on other areas of your business and boost your productivity.
The ease with which you can expand and reduce the number of digital accounting tools you use also makes it possible for you to use any spare time to consider expanding into new markets or taking on larger or a greater number of businesses. Easy access from remote locations means you can even complete your accounts while travelling or working away, so you’ll never waste a spare moment.
The ease of use that comes with advanced digital tools also means you can take a new approach to smaller clients. Rather than spending time dealing with simple tasks for low value your clients, you can pass these back to them in exchange for lower fees and focus instead on securing high value projects with larger clients. Software such as Capium allows easy client access to selected areas of individual tools, so you can manage what your clients can alter and ensure they enjoy a fast and efficient experience.
There’s something to be said for knowing you’ll always have support from experts when things go wrong, and that is often the case when it comes to digital tax software. While smaller accounting tools rarely come complete with online support, software such as Capium is backed up with expert advice and guidance to reduce the amount of time your work is delayed when you’re I need of support. This fact alone can help to increase your productivity and boost your confidence when you approach new clients who are unfamiliar with online accounting software.
To find out more about the many benefits of taking your accounts online with Capium, call our support line on 020 3322 5578 or visit our website to book a demo.