Clients and accountants no longer have to accept the 15-45 day delay between when a transaction occurs and when it is included in the financial reports. Real-time financial reporting makes it possible for employees to post transactions on the earlier of (1) when they are entered into the software by the client, or (2) when the transaction is recorded at the client’s bank or credit card company.
Clients can have real-time financial information which can be used to make rapid adjustments to strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities or eliminate unprofitable transactions. Outside accounting professionals no longer have to wait until the client sends the checkstubs and bank statement to work on the client’s books, as the work now occurs in real-time instead of in a batch at the end of the month.
This transition eliminates the workload compression and overtime associated with the month- end closing of the books and gives the firm earlier access to the data needed to prepare required filings like payroll and income tax returns.
Online Payroll Preparation and Tax Reporting
Payroll is one of the most mature cloud-based services offered to clients. Many firms have been preparing client payroll online for years, and the products, systems and procedures have been proven to be effective. Firms who are not yet using cloud-based tools can try them out on a small number of clients first.
There are a wide range of online payroll products available where the client, the firm and the payroll service work together to meet the client’s business requirements. More information on specific products can be found in the reviews section of www.cpapracticeadvisor.com.
Moving client accounting online is a strategy whose time has come. The tools have the potential to save accounting professionals and their clients significant amounts of overtim e while also providing better client service. There is no question that the future of accounting is online – the only question is how and when your firm will implement the required changes.
Brian is a CPA and consultant whose practice is focused on technology consulting and training for accountants. He is also a nationally recognized speaker with K2 Enterprises (k2e.com), and blogs on accounting technology at CPATechBlog.com. Comments, suggestions, and errata are always welcome, and should be e-mailed to brian.tankersley@CPAPracticeAdvisor.com.