Deliver Internal Reports Digitally

Abstract illustration of binary data flowYes, even to the owners.

By Roman H. Kepczyk

Improving firm efficiency means that the owners have to get on board. One of the more obvious opportunities is the delivery of the firm’s own financial reports. Many firms still print a hard copy of the monthly financials and distribute them to each owner, many of whom physically store these documents in a binder or drawer in their office.

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Most firms consider these documents confidential and yet copies are distributed throughout the office, many of which are not secured. A better solution is to set up an “owner’s drawer” on the firm’s portal or document management system and post one copy of the monthly financial statements when they are ready.
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Why Daily T/E Entry Matters

Laughing businesswoman talking on the phone in office in front of four monitorsHow about better cash collection?

By Roman H. Kepczyk

Studies done over the past two decades have clearly shown that there is a significant improvement in realization for firms that enter, release and post time and expenses on a daily basis. This process allows for daily or “hotel”-type billing that is sent out with the completion of each billable project.

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The next step in the evolution of time and billing systems provided real-time dashboards to report on firm activities and effectively allow firms to generate invoices. This can work only if all time and expenses for all personnel are captured within the system. While most firms have a daily time entry “policy,” the biggest abusers of the policy are often owners and managers, so it is about time for them to get on board and use the system.
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The Case for Digital Auditing

It’s time for some outside help.

By Roman H. Kepczyk

Traditional audit practices use the previous year’s audit programs and processes updated for the current year as their standard operating plan. Eventually this can lead to a significant amount of “overauditing.” Breaking this habit is difficult as every level of staff has been trained in the manual processes and falls back on them when deadlines approach.

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Many firms have rightfully transitioned to digital “document container” applications such as CaseWare, WoltersKluwer/CCH Engagement and Thomson Reuters Engagement CS. Not all of these firms have changed their approach to reviewing progress on the audit and the financial reporting on a computer screen in a digital format.
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Pandemic Highlights Value of Digital Files

Post with two signs, "same" and "change"CPE and training needs are evolving.

By Roman Kepczyk

Last year’s extension to July 15 made for a very drawn-out busy season but did allow firms to shift resources to assist clients with PPP loans and other compliance. Second, the move to remote/cloud was forced rapidly and pointed out the advantage of firms already utilizing cloud vendors and hosting providers as their transition was seamless.

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Third, the difficulty and caution in physically meeting firm members and clients face to face forced adoption of virtual solutions such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams and pointed out the value of having a digital workflow tool as well as the importance of having all files in a digital format accessible remotely.
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What Your Auditors Need in the Field

Three partners, one male and two female, walking and smiling outside a buildingTWAIN compliance dictates some choices.

By Roman H. Kepczyk

The advent of today’s audit “document container” applications has transitioned every aspect of audit production into a digital format. The key to successfully using these engagement applications is to make sure your personnel have the optimal equipment with them to work digitally.

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This includes

  • multiple monitors,
  • image capture equipment and
  • remote communications capabilities.

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The Value of Firm Procedures Manuals

Scrambled thoughts enter man's head, straightened ones come outWhere does the most potential benefit lie?

By Roman H. Kepczyk

Every firm has accountants who are 10 percent, 20 percent or even 50 percent more productive in their departments than other personnel because they have simply “figured it out.”

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Unfortunately, when these people leave the firm, their unique knowledge of specific processes and shortcuts goes with them. It is the responsibility of firms to capture these individuals’ best practices so that that specific knowledge can be shared and accessed by all firm members both now and in the future. This can be accomplished by making a concerted effort to develop a best practices manual within each department.
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Teach Your Clients to Send Info Digitally

Concept of sending e-mails from your computer

Email is comfortable, but not always secure.

By Roman H. Kepczyk

One of the most critical steps in transitioning a firm to a paperless environment is capturing information in a digital format at its root source as that information enters the firm.

At the base level, this means having clients provide you information in a digital format, which can be done via email, digital fax or through a portal rather than with a physical document. While email is currently the most prevalent tool utilized by clients, it is anticipated the security concerns will help clients transition toward portals.

Email has been the most frequent tool used as most clients are comfortable attaching a spreadsheet or document and sending it to the firm. This method allows the digital file to be easily accessed and saved into the firm’s file storage applications. READ MORE →

Optimize Your Scanning Procedures

Woman in business attire with papers flying around behind her backBONUS: Specific tool suggestions.

By Roman H. Kepczyk

For the next few years it is anticipated that accounting firm clients will continue to deliver a significant amount of their organizers and supporting tax documents to the firm in a physical format. To utilize this information in a paperless environment, it must be effectively scanned and managed at the lowest possible cost.

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Early paperless adopters scanned the tax return and the supporting documents at the back end of the process when a return was complete. This is still usually the first step when firms transition from a completely manual environment.
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Why You Want a Digital Tax Workflow System

Pixelated blue text "workflow" on binary code backgroundWorkflow fails when admins are the only ones updating status.

By Roman H. Kepczyk

The most important aspect of transitioning the firm’s tax process to a digital environment is managing electronic files that are no longer physically viewable in assorted stacks around the office. This requires a digital tax workflow system that lets everyone know the status of every return and easily connects that person to digital copies of the return and the source documents.

MORE: Retaining Documents: How Long and Who Decides? | The 4 Buckets of Firm Knowledge | Internet Bandwidth: How Much Is Enough? | Why You Need Windows 10 with Automatic Updates | Laptops vs. Desktops
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Under traditional manual tax systems, firms utilized due date tracking databases that identified when a return was due, but not what information was missing, or the preparation, review or extension status, which was often recorded manually on a physical routing sheet.
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