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Accounting

An introduction to APIs: Are they right for your accounting firm’s tech stack?

Dustin Teribery  API Sales Specialist, Thomson Reuters

Dustin Teribery  API Sales Specialist, Thomson Reuters

Of all the lessons learned during the pandemic, the need for reliable, anywhere/anytime business connectivity may have been the most startling—but arguably the most beneficial.

Efficiency is one of the pillars of success in business. And efficiency is dependent, in large part, on streamlining processes as much as possible. Enter Automation. Automation can be an uncomfortable term for tax and accounting professionals. It can bring to mind fears of being replaced by a machine. On the contrary, the purpose of automation is to help you thrive in your career. Automation is more about getting mundane, manual tasks off your plate so you can focus on meaningful work that fulfills you and contributes to the firm.

As an API Sales Specialist at Thomson Reuters, I regularly talk to accounting professionals who have misgivings about automation in general. And what I tell them is, “Think about those tasks that you always put off, the tasks that get in the way of the performance goals that you just barely miss every year because you’re doing busy work. What if you could get some of that time back, an hour or two every week, to actually put towards your goals for that year? Think about how much more time you’d have to focus on the tasks that would help you reach those goals. That’s what automation can do for you.”

The basics of APIs for disparate tech solutions in your accounting firm

For accounting firms, one of the first ways to increase efficiency is to reduce redundancy and the need for comparing data sets. For that to happen, disparate tech solutions need to be able to work together. But how do you connect all those tools?

Many firms are finding that APIs (Application Programming Interface) are the best approach.

What is an API?

In short, an API is a custom-built connector that allows two otherwise unrelated systems to talk to each other. Among other things, APIs can be used to automate numerous manual functions that take up countless hours of accounting professionals’ time.

How you can use APIs with your accounting firm’s tech stack

There are many practical applications of APIs for accounting firms. By leveraging APIs to automate manual tasks, firms can save time, risk, and cost. Here are a few examples of how GoSystem Tax APIs enable efficiency in tax workflows:

  • Efficiently track eFile status by adopting GoSystem Tax Power BI dashboard
  • Directly import custom Excel workbook data into GoSystem Tax
  • Ability to easily get workflow information in and out of GoFileRoom to allow for use in other systems in your tech stack.

What are the benefits of APIs for accounting firms?

The single largest benefit to your firm is consistency. In the accounting industry, you could spend a lot of money chasing mistakes or, on the other side of that coin, cost the company a lot of money by missing them. Consistency is key here.

In a lot of firms, there are multiple people performing the same or similar tasks. It’s probably safe to say that each of them is going about it a little differently from the others. If you automate that task using APIs, it gets done the same way across the board. Not only that, you don’t have to worry about that process from a succession planning or business continuity perspective since it’s not reliant on the knowledge of a single person.

So, if you have asks consistently happening the same way and have the checks and balances built into your processes, the benefit of APIs becomes pretty clear.

Thomson Reuters’ API development for accounting firms

It’s a really exciting time to be working on APIs at Thomson Reuters. Accounting firms are becoming more and more innovative, and that’s pushing our team to continue thinking and working in more creative and innovative ways.

In the last few years, Thomson Reuters has put a lot of resources into supporting, promoting, and creating our open API environment – both for customers to use and for third-party companies to enhance their service capabilities. At the end of the day, I think it’s really about helping customers in the best way we can. And if that involves opening up our software, we’re ready to go there.

In every conversation we have with customers, the big questions we want to answer are, “What else can we do to help you?” and “What else do you need?” We genuinely want to give them what they need to be successful. And we want them to be able to do business how they want to do business rather than having it dictated to them by the limitations of their technology.

There is almost no limit to what can be accomplished using APIs at your accounting firm, and Thomson Reuters is ready to help.

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