For traditional tax and accounting firms, the transition to the cloud can be very overwhelming, and even firms that have used the occasional cloud tool have some opportunities to refine their workflows.
So I’ve put together a list of Intuit tools that are available to Intuit professional tax customers that can help you “crush it” in the cloud. Taken together, these tools provide the efficiencies needed for advisory services and improved client experiences – all from wherever you are working. It is best to consider how technology can either optimize or replace your standard workflows and then decide whether a hosted or cloud solution is most appropriate to support your long-term business plan. A great exercise is to think through and write out the steps it takes to support the journey of a business client through your firm, which is what I have done for us here.
1. Manage the work
There are various practice management options available, some of them specific to accountants. A tool like this could help you keep a handle on the many tasks to manage, including emails, client requests and work projects. Solutions from Karbon and Practice Ignition are trusted by many accountants, for example.
This year, Intuit is excited to introduce Intuit Practice Management powered by Karbon. You can now deliver even better client experiences with a connected, collaborative workforce from anywhere in the world. Think of it this way: this tool stays on top of the back-office work so you can focus on delivering more value.
Find a practice management tool that works well for your practice to help organize and automate your workflow wherever possible.
2. Close the books
If you offer accounting services, it’s important to have an accounting solution available to you anytime, anywhere. If you don’t use one already, consider moving to a solution that’s in the cloud or hosted.
Did you know that, regardless of which QuickBooks Accountant product you use, you can use it from anywhere at any time? QuickBooks Accountant is an excellent option to consider in a hosted environment with Right Networks. Hosting a software simply means that you can keep the same QuickBooks desktop and QuickBooks enterprise that you know and love and access it from a remote server.
Alternatively, are you ready to adopt a cloud platform with an entire ecosystem of apps with QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA)? QBOA is free to accountants. Both QuickBooks Accountant options provide access anytime while offloading IT costs associated with maintaining them.
Be advised, there are some pretty unique differences between a hosted and cloud environment. I prefer the access QBOA provides with my mobile device, but I know many pros who are comfortable with hosting. It is good to have choices!
3. Prep the taxes
Thanks to hosting providers like Right Networks, Intuit professional tax customers can take our traditionally desktop tax programs – ProSeries and Lacerte – and host them with ease. With a process identical to hosting QuickBooks, those legacy desktop programs become available remotely. No IT or server costs; no hassles. Alternatively, your team may prepare taxes for your clients in the cloud with ProConnect Tax. Working in the cloud opens up a world of collaboration tools.
All of our tax customers can benefit from leveraging Intuit Link, which is included with your tax software at no additional cost. You can collect and organize your clients’ information with the secure online portal included with your tax software. It provides a quick way to accurately import your client data directly into their tax forms, and can also send requests for additional information to your clients to help you complete their return faster and without the wait.
4. Finish and file
With the work assigned, the books closed, and the tax return prepared, it is time to get it signed and get paid.
You and your clients are going to love the newly redesigned eSignature powered by DocuSign. In this age of “social distancing,” collecting signatures electronically is important for safety. Thanks to a recent redesign, you can upload and collect signatures on any document or form. And did you know that eSignature can also help you complete your work faster – days, sometimes even weeks, sooner? There is no good reason to put off the accessibility, speed, and security of collecting signatures electronically any longer.
While we are on the subject of convenience – do you allow your clients to Pay-by-Refund? For many Americans, the tax refund check just may the largest single chunk of income they receive all year. And, the tax preparation fees may be one of their single most substantial outgoing expenses as well. Intuit Pay-by-Refund allows your clients to do exactly that – pay (you) with their refund. The service is free to you, the tax professional, and can come with additional value-added services like identity theft insurance, ID restoration, and 24/7 fraud resolution support for your tax-payers.
5. Have a BIR!
One final recommendation. Now that you have designed a workflow that supports a remote workforce, you should have a virtual BIR with your client – that’s a Business Insight Review.
And there you have it! When you put it all together – workflow, closing the books, prepping the taxes, and finish and file, these tools by Intuit contribute to a virtual workflow for you and your team to use from anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection or mobile hotspot. The added benefit is that they provide efficiencies that give you the capacity to offer advisory services and improved client experiences.