Recently, a small business owner came to RT Taxation to enquire about the services that were on offer – in particular the tax services. While in the discussion, he asked if we were worried about the evolving trends. And the increase in the use of cloud-based software to perform accounting tasks. With so much software easily available online, it does make a business owner question their investment into outsourcing to a tax accountant. While I did understand his questioning of tax accountants services and whether the investment is worth it – I assured him that we at RT taxation are not concerned with the rise in accounting software. In fact, it is exciting to work in a constantly changing, evolving, and competitive industry. The increase of cutting edge, advanced accounting software also helps us as a tax accounting firm to save time on monotonous filing. And also spend more time helping our customers grow their business. 

What did concern me about our conversation, was that the small business owner was under the impression that with accounting software, you no longer need an accountant – but you can do all your accounting by yourself… Well, if this were true, then I would definitely be out of a job. But I can assure you, accounting software does not make a tax accountant obsolete. And just because you invest in accounting software to avoid the cost of outsourcing to a tax accountant, doesn’t mean you won’t need one in the long run. Business owners are still time-poor, and they will often need professional guidance, advice, and someone to assist them with navigating tax. 

Benefits of accounting software to tax accountants

As a small business, you may not be able to focus on the small details. You may overlook the details when it comes to observing sales patterns and the umbrella picture of your business profits and loss. Working together with a tax accountant and financial professional allows them to keep an eye on the details that you oversee. Finding the right accountant with complementary abilities is crucial for you to continue growing your business. A tax accountant is details oriented and their role is all based on facts. Business owners want accurate and relevant numbers for clarity and legal requirements. In addition, business owners need to be aware and up-to-date with applicable legislations that apply to their business. 

While tax accountants live and breathe all the finer details – they find themselves so busy finalizing the end of year financials, chasing up missing records, problem-solving the best taxable benefits and situations, and also trying to find new customers. Therefore, it is welcoming when our clients are using accounting software and are educated on basic accounting principles. It means we can spend more time consulting and discussing business issues, rather than spending our valuable time explaining the basics of accounting which often takes up a precious and costly consultation time. When our clients have an understanding of the accounting software, they are empowered to also keep an eye on basic accounting tasks and have confidence that the tax accountants will be taking care of the finer details. While the software is obviously important to keep track of many things accounting, it also helps a business owner understand the reasoning behind the problem-solving tax accountants take and allows them to feel confident following their advice. 

On the contrary – some business owners do not want to invest their time to understanding accounting software used for their business. They feel it is more important to continue focusing on the business and empowering the tax accountant to focus on all things financial. However, with the emergence of social media, and the ability to have information (and opinions) available at the press of a finger, the kind of hands-off behavior is much rarer. Business owners are more ambitious and want to feel more empowered – taking ownership of their business and financial decisions. They want to be involved in the financial process and make decisions based on real-time information. Therefore, to please their determination and curiosity – accounting software is used together with a tax accountant. 

Evolving accounting firms

Accountants are workers who need to adapt quickly to change. They are constantly on the receiving end of evolving tax laws, payroll legislation, and remuneration thresholds to name a few. And the speed of change is quick. In the past, a tax accountants’ value proposition was to assure that all their client’s information was accurate, to timely file and pay taxes, wages and abide by relevant legislation. They also interpreted the data to assist business owners to make educated decisions. While these value propositions remain the same, the new sources of information that are available to business owners have changed. These include Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), customer behaviors and engagement metrics, customer lifetime cycle, customer sales cycle, cost of customer acquisition (through advertising spend), organic customer acquisition, and customer satisfaction. This information can now be integrated into leading accounting software and business owners can access this information at any time. 

The challenge for tax accountants is that their value proposition needs to go beyond filing taxes, compliance, and keeping a store of a client’s data. Fundamentally, business owners need a partner who is also a technology champion – and accounting firms are quickly ensuring that this is one of their services – ensuring that their tax accountants know how to get the best results from technology and how to integrate all aspects of the technology stack together. When tax accountants and accounting firms have a comprehensive view of what information a business is capturing, their value adds to business owners is indispensable. The combination of a tax accountants’ skills and the information retrieved from accounting software allows for better interpretation from a business owner. 

When we discuss the role of tax accountants and the importance of outsourcing to an accounting firm, we are reminded that our role as tax accountants is not only to file taxes and abide by compliance laws. It is also to provide solutions to client’s problems and guide them in taking steps to overcome business challenges and assist with their business growth. And it doesn’t end there – with the emergence of accounting technology and cloud software, our services include championing this very technology to ensure our customers can work together with us to streamline daunting accounting tasks and make the most out of the information that can be retrieved from the accounting software. At RT Taxation and Accounting Services, we can be your technology champion. We can manage your accounting tasks and work together with you to understand your business and what requirements you need to make the most out of your accounting software. Get on top of your accounting software today, and reach out to us at R T Taxation & Accounting Services.