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How Does Your Client’s Accounting System Affect Operations?

Accounting systems are an important ingredient to a business’s success. When was the last time you talked to your clients about accounting software?

Every business is different and has a unique set of financial responsibilities, so it’s important to ask your clients early in the process what matters most to them. What do they really need in accounting software? Most likely, they will list some of the following features:

  • Low cost 
  • Inventory management
  • Asset management
  • Time tracking
  • Bank and credit card synching
  • Retail integration
  • Sales and payroll tax support
  • Financial statement reporting (balance sheet, income statement, cash flow)
  • Scalability

Having the right accounting software can provide your clients with the resources they need to streamline their operations, so let’s look at ways you can help your clients select the accounting software that’s right for their business.

Synching with Other Technology

Your client likely uses multiple platforms to operate their business. For example, if they are a retailer, they may use different software to process payments, manage inventory, and track the time of their hourly workers. If you have an accounting system that syncs with these other platforms, you can automatically transmit data into your general ledger. This automation saves time and reduces human error that could occur if your client were forced to manually transcribe data.

Reporting Capabilities

What type of financial reporting would best suit your client’s business model? Having an accounting software that provides a full suite of reporting tools can help them make better business decisions.

Business decisions should be based on data, so you’ll want to steer your clients toward an accounting system that can produce accurate and up-to-date financial information. If your client only receives reports once per quarter, that information is too dated to be useful in making operational decisions. Your clients should have the ability to run reports in real time, upon request. Business owners will then have a real sense of the inner workings of their business and allow them to track trends, manage cash flow, budget, and forecast.

EXAMPLE 1: Reporting Needs for Retailers

Retail clients will need an accounting system that can produce the reports necessary to file sales tax returns. If their business is selling in multiple states, it has become increasingly important for businesses to monitor nexus and keep track of sales tax obligations.

EXAMPLE 2: Reporting Needs for Employers

If your clients are employers, you may recommend an accounting system that can generate accurate payroll data for payroll reports. These reports can help your client complete payroll tax filings, track overtime hours, measure vacation and sick leave, and produce retirement plan reports.

EXAMPLE 3: Reporting Needs for Car Dealerships

If your client has a lot of inventory to track, they will want an accounting system that can produce detailed reports. Consider the needs of car dealerships. Each item of inventory is unique. If your client downloads an inventory aging schedule, they will want to know which specific vehicles remain on the lot, not just a summary of the value that remains unsold.

Cloud-Based or On-Premises Capabilities

Accounting software can either be stored on your client’s local network or it can be stored in the cloud. While cloud software isn’t necessary, it can be a huge benefit to your clients. Why?

  • Your clients and their colleagues can access the system from anywhere with internet access, at any time.
  • Cloud-based software offers heightened security measures to send, retrieve, and store data by using encryption to rewrite the information into a secure code.
  • Cloud software is always kept up to date. Your clients won’t need to buy new versions of their software or question whether they have the most recent version of the application.
  • If your clients hold or transact with sensitive data, such as in the healthcare or professional services industries, most cloud-based software provides data storage services that adhere to strict security and compliance measures to protect confidential information.

As a bonus, if your clients use cloud-based software, you will benefit. If they give you access to their system, you will be able to review their information on demand. You can pull up their financial data if they have questions, and come tax planning season, you can plug those numbers directly into Corvee’s tax planning software to optimize tax strategies.

Grouping Line Items

Your client’s accounting software should have the power to group line items differently based on internal and external reporting methods. Oftentimes, your client will need to group line items a certain way for GAAP-based reporting but a completely separate way for tax reporting. At minimum, their software should be able to easily pivot between book and tax.

Industry-Specific or General Accounting Software

Industry-specific accounting software will have advanced capabilities that could appeal to your client, allowing them to track and report on items essential to their unique business. Unfortunately, some niche software programs have a narrower range of integration. In fact, choosing an industry-specific software may reduce automation, thereby increasing cost by requiring your client to purchase intermediate tools to convert and export data.

Since general accounting software for accountants has a broad user base, most have been built to sync with other popular platforms and streamline data across multiple systems. Many have even added modules and features over time that serve common industries. Depending on your client’s industry and its needs, it may be worth the effort to reach out to similar businesses and ask for feedback on their chosen accounting software. They may be using an option you hadn’t even considered.

Next Steps

As you begin the process of helping your clients sift through the sea of options, consider what features their industry may require, the system’s accessibility, how user-friendly it is, and whether cost and scalability weigh into your client’s decision making. Similar to Corvee’s tax planning software, you can help make your client’s accounting easier, faster, and more accurate with the right accounting software.

Tax Plan 2021: Corvee is Ready, Are You?

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