Accountants Don’t Just Talk the Talk, They Walk the Walk

Professionals at the Fourth Annual Accounting Technology New York Show and CPE Conference heard a lot of talk about the practicing in the cloud. But they didn’t just talk about it, they walked it.

Led by CPA Practice Advisor Executive Editor and Managing Partner of Root & Associates LLC, Darren Root, CPA.CITP, dozens of professionals walked the show floor, learning about some of the products and services offered by vendors. Participants met Root in the Session Meeting Area, where he provided a brief overview of each of the tour’s exhibitors.

“When I first heard of Xero, I said ‘I would never use this; you can’t write a check.’ Then, I realized my daughter doesn’t own a checkbook. Today’s clients don’t use checks,” Root said, reminding participants of the importance of having the right technology in place to provide the necessary services to their clients.

As Root led participants to each booth, vendors provided quick demonstrations of their products and services, while offering best practices and answering questions.

Key takeaways from each exhibitor included:

  • Office Tools Professional - With this solution, users can bring all of their clients into one database that can be used for time management and workflow. It also features a company-wide calendar and integration into CRM.
  • CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business - The key to having a good website is to have useful and relevant information that is constantly pushed out to clients. It’s not enough to simply have the information on your website. “You don’t want to work in the business. You need to work on the business,” advised David Bergstein, CPA.CITP, Director of Strategic Relationships.
  • ShareFile - With approximately 40 states making it illegal to email confidential data such as tax returns, professionals need other ways to share documents electronically with their clients. ShareFile offers a secure file transfer solution that doesn’t require third-party access or logging in through a website.
  • Intacct - With this solution, firms can reduce their turnaround time from 30-45 days to almost immediately, collaborating with clients in real-time. Firms of any size can use Intacct and it allows users to keep simultaneous tabs open on multiple clients. Similar to opening tabs in an Internet browser, this feature is not currently available in desktop software.
  • Thomson Reuters - Firms need a strategy in place when planning to implement client portals and other cloud technology. The five important things to keep in mind when beginning the transition process are: the chosen cloud solution must integrate seamlessly into your existing system or it will cost you more money and time in the long run; portals offer more features than just transmitting documents and messages; tailor your communications for your targeted audience, starting with your staff; offer training for both your staff and your clients and lastly, look at the best practices of firms and companies that have already successfully made the transition. Today’s technology has been around for more than a decade and firms can learn from the mistakes of others.
  • AccountantsWorld - Offering With majority of all financial institutions offering client portals for services such as checking, savings and retirement accounts, accountants need to offer 24/7 access via client portals as well. In today’s world, websites are more than just marketing tools. They are the foundation for business and firms need to effectively utilize them.
  • Xero - Xero has branded itself as the “beautiful accounting software” and is currently connected to over 5,000 banks in the U.S. Every night its software is updated with the latest bank rates and if offers more than just banking transactions. Xero features a comprehensive dashboard, real-time rebalancing, real-time foreign currency gains and losses and the ability to take pictures of receipts. Many accounting firms have started bundling Xero software with their services and selling it to their clients.

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