Trending Technology for Your Tax Business
Tax season is in the rearview mirror, which means it’s the perfect time to redirect your attention and start focusing on ways to improve your business. If there anywhere you could have been more efficient during your major rush? Can any processes be streamlined and any kinks smoothed out?
Nearly everyone can identify one or two places where there’s room for improvement. Whether it’s the need for better communication, scheduling, or documentation, the solution probably lies in technology.
If you want to make your CPA business even better in coming years, check out this list of trending technology that can help you get there.
Switch to the Cloud
A shockingly low number of accountants are still running their software on desktop hard drives, unaware of the robust options offered by the cloud. Switch over to tax software for accountants that runs on the cloud for a small monthly fee to reap all of its benefits, including access to your accounts from anywhere. It’s easier and faster, saving you time and boosting your efficiency.
Optimal Character Recognition (OCR)
Are you pained with attempting to read hand-written receipts? Good news: with OCR, now computers can do the reading. This technology goes beyond photocopying and turns images into readable, editable text. Now you can simply upload your envelope of receipts onto an online accounting platform, with relevant information and data pulled along the way. With OCR, gone are the nightmares of trying to process documents; make it your new best friend!
If you find yourself increasingly dependent on your smartphone and constantly managing your business while on the go, you should look into mobile accounting apps to make your life much easier. Companies such as Xero are ushering in the age of mobile accounting by offering apps that allow firms to reconcile, send invoices, add receipts and create expense claims from their phones or tablets. Ask yourself which clients stand to benefit from your mobile accounting and which solutions it can provide.
To that end, it benefits you to equip your team with their own individual portable, hand-held devices to conduct business. The upfront cost will pay itself off in improved productivity and inefficiency, so don’t hesitate to make the investment. Not only will they be able to tend to clients while on the road, but they can seamlessly walk in and out of meetings without skipping a beat—and without lugging along massive folders. Check out the latest Microsoft Surface Pro for Business, which has a high-speed processor and enterprise-grade security.
Is your tax business getting the exposure it needs? If not, could be time to take advantage of social media—an essential tool for firms who want to engage with their current and potential customers while expanding their brand reach. This marketing platform allows for instantaneous connection and should be a part of your long-term growth development plan. Having a strong social media outreach can make your other marketing efforts more effective, as well.
Online Scheduling Tools
Firms that still rely on a secretary to schedule their appointments are stuck in the past. There is a multitude of online scheduling tools that allow your clients to see when you’re available and easily book appointments from the comfort of their home, without an effort on behalf of your business. Simply sync the software with your calendar and enable text/email reminders or push notifications; add a link to your website and you and your clients can access their information across a span of devices.
Today’s technology allows you to automate and streamline many of your tedious processes, including customer support and email follow-ups, freeing your time to focus less on busy work. Think twice before downsizing and letting go of your receptionist, however. Seeing a welcome face and receiving a warm greeting upon walking in will go a long way with your clients—especially while you and your team are stressed and slaving away in your offices come next tax season.
You can see that the current technology trends are tether-less: cloud-based computing over local installations; automated scanning software; mobile apps; smartphones and tables; web-based social media; scheduling without secretaries. The ability to work remotely from virtually anywhere has knocked down (virtual) office doors, so get down to work and up to speed!