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CA Magazine

9 Sept 2011


Accountants are exposed to change on an almost daily basis and keeping up to speed with new rulings and compliance regimes can be extremely challenging, especially in the tax arena. With new information to digest all the time, it makes sense to implement tax applications that pro-actively manage risk as well as handle compliance.

Tax software packages fall into two camps: those that just produce tax returns and those that add value, using in-built intelligence to highlight risks. The “smarter” tax packages support the accountant by flagging up areas that need attention. Take, for example, our highly functional TaxAware tool that acts as a virtual tax adviser, cross referencing data to detect errors and pro-actively highlighting potential savings. Its in-built intelligence means that a minimum of 120 tests are constantly performed; checking, noting and advising on a wide range of topics with alerts to prevent simple mistakes. At the simplest, this may be because the client’s UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) has not been entered correctly; or it might intelligently detect that losses that have arisen should be claimed, or recommend that due to multiple trading, Class 4 contributions should be deferred.

The innovative Client Review Tool is another great application that successful firms are using to transform the way tax returns are reviewed and they report time savings of at least 15 per cent on the review process. It ensures data consistency from one year to the next allowing a “virtual” reviewer to analyse completed tax returns to ensure that they are complete and accurate. It works by drawing the accountant’s attention to any unusual variances between years and issues a warning if a variance exceeds the pre-set level of tolerance. For instance, each element of income is matched with the same source in the prior year and the tool works at the level of the source of income, not at the level of box totals on the tax return, providing the reviewer with an instant and focused view of what they need to see. A full information trail is provided with a log of all events during the tax year and access is provided to notes made by other staff. A flag system creates alerts and it is easy to establish an enquiry with the client and then track it with the system.

Tax software has come of age. Today’s smarter tax applications do so much more than just tax returns. Intelligent tools are supplied as standard – not as a chargeable extra – to manage risk and highlight potential savings for your clients. But more than that; they deliver peace of mind.

JERRY RIHLL is managing director of Digita and head of the Accounting Firms EMEA for the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters. Simply Smarter practice software, from Digita, is part of the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters.

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