Tax blog for accountants

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The Cloud – Time to Jump, or Wait to be Pushed?

written by Editor, 4 September 2015

Guest blog by, Mark Purdue, Product Manager – Tax products

cloud software

Over recent years, much has been written about the many benefits to moving your practice software to the cloud.

Whilst I’m not going to cover;
• Hardware cost savings,
• Disaster recovery improvements and
• Data security
As these have been discussed many times before, I am going to consider why cloud adoption may soon not be your decision to make.

Outside of the above factors, the decision is going to be driven from two areas;
• Client expectations, and
• Data interaction

cloud software

Client expectations

It is inevitable that existing clients get older, and younger clients come on board.  Without being too “Generational”, your younger clients have different expectations than previous clients.

This “Facebook generation” won’t accept “I’ll put it in the post”, or “I’ll send you an e-mail when I am back in the office” as acceptable levels of service.  There is a here and now expectation.  An expectation you will always be available.  Storing client data in the cloud allows you to access data 24/7 to offer the service these clients expect.  Having an integrated client portal allows your clients access to their data as and when they want.  Couple this portal with mobile technology, and your client can share their tax information with you instantaneously.  Portals also allow instant communication, allowing you to provide this new ‘cloud only’ generation the service they expect.

Later this year, Thomson Reuters will be launching a new cloud based document management system which allows you to upload documents from the desktop, and share these with your clients via a Client Portal.  This portal will also incorporate Digital Signatures, allowing your client to sign their tax return effortlessly.

Data interaction

The landscape in which we all operate is changing.  Currently, the tax compliance process exists to chase a paper trail of data.  Digital Tax Accounts are on the horizon, and with it, a complete change to the way we interact with clients and their data.

Digital Tax Accounts will be your client’s ‘go to place’ for their tax information and it is of course cloud based.  Your role will be one of “review and update” of the Digital Tax Account, rather than the current “prepare and submit” of an SA tax return.  In addition to your responsibility to review and update this Tax Account for the client, you will gain opportunity to add value.  As I have written about before, dealing with this data opens up advisory opportunities not currently possible. The Tax Account, via your compliance software, will provide you with near real time data to react to changes in your client’s circumstances, and offer bespoke advice that adds real value to your client.

If you don’t embrace the opportunities on offer, rest assured, others will

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