Like many industries, the accounting profession is in the midst of profound change. The impetus behind this transformation is technology—and the firms who are moving fast to leverage it are boosting productivity, strengthening client relationships, and staying ahead of the competition.
In terms of impact, one tool has emerged as a game-changer: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). APIs offer the ability to create a connected ecosystem that streamlines accounting workflows and revolutionizes the way firms operate.
But where do you begin in terms of integrating APIs and effectively leveraging them? It starts with understanding the challenges and embracing the solutions to work smarter. Let’s take a look.
What are the pain points of a disconnected workflow?
If your firm is like most, your staff spends a good portion of the day formatting financial statements, entering trial balance data, and cleaning up spreadsheets. But this type of manual work hinders the true value of your firm and stifles your relationships with clients.
The truth is that when your data is siloed in separate applications that don’t communicate with one another, your firm is missing out on significant opportunities. APIs can bridge the gap between your legacy systems and new technology to unleash the true power of your firm’s data.
To determine if APIs can benefit your firm, ask yourself:
- Do you spend a significant amount of time entering data, reviewing spreadsheets, and cleaning up files?
- Do you struggle with receiving client documents in a timely manner?
- Do you find yourself wishing your data was integrated across various systems and third-party applications?
- Are you looking for a better way to keep pace with legislative changes and related tax research?
- Would you like to incorporate advisory services into your value proposition?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to integrate APIs into your tech stack.
How can API integration transform your accounting workflow?
In short, APIs connect the dots between disparate systems so data can flow effortlessly, thus reducing manual data entry, minimizing errors, and freeing up valuable time for your staff to focus on more strategic tasks.
To demonstrate the power of APIs in creating a seamless accounting workflow, consider these benefits.
- A single source of truth. APIs eliminate the need for manual data entry and the constant switching between different applications. Your staff can access all relevant information from a central platform, making it easier to manage and analyze data efficiently.
- Real-time data syncing. With APIs, all connected applications (whether they are legacy systems or new technology) have access to the latest and most accurate client information from a centralized platform, thus minimizing the risk of mistakes and discrepancies.
- Client collaboration. APIs enhance the client experience by enabling them to upload and sign documents, share data, and communicate seamlessly with your firm anytime, anywhere.
- Integrated tax research. Conduct a single search for regulatory updates, news, or other tax content across multiple practice areas and sources. Even junior staff members can answer complex client questions quickly and accurately.
- Reporting and analytics. With APIs, your firm can combine data from various sources to generate comprehensive reports and conduct in-depth analytics to provide clients with valuable insights.
- Security and compliance. With robust security measures, including authentication protocols and data encryption, APIs ensure the safe transfer of sensitive financial data.
- Scalability. APIs are designed to be scalable and adaptable to your firm’s evolving business needs. As your firm grows, APIs can seamlessly incorporate new software into your ecosystem ensuring a smooth and future-proof workflow.
Long story short, embracing API technology enables your firm to stay ahead of the competition by optimizing your accounting workflow—but that’s not all. Automating your workflow with APIs also opens the door to additional benefits like improved staff engagement, stronger client relationships, and increased profitability. Here’s how.
Unlock benefits beyond accounting workflow automation
Whether it is engaging staff or kick-starting a shift to advisory services, APIs can improve operational efficiencies, mitigate risk, and unlock new growth opportunities.
Here’s a look at how APIs provide additional benefits beyond a seamless workflow.
- Talent acquisition. In a competitive labor market, firms that employ advanced technology are more likely to appeal to high-performing new professionals—and retain them. We all know that turnover can be a costly issue, but when APIs make manual data entry activities a thing of the past, your talented staff are here to stay.
- Work-life balance. In terms of staff satisfaction, today’s job seekers are looking for flexibility. Not only do APIs provide the ability to share data and documents in real time but they enable the work-life balance today’s professionals desire. Plus, APIs can support succession planning and business continuity because the resulting automation is not reliant on the knowledge of a single person—it’s embedded into your daily workflow.
- Advisory services. Amidst such a complex regulatory and legislative landscape, forward-looking firms are placing a greater emphasis on providing clients with higher-value strategic advisory services. In fact, a recent survey from the Thomson Reuters Institute found that nearly 95% of tax professionals believe their clients want business advisory services.
Offering advisory services creates an opportunity to capitalize on your hard-earned knowledge and expertise, while creating a deeper relationship with your clients and building a year-round value pricing business model. By using APIs to analyze data, surface valuable insights, and stay current on the latest tax laws, your firm can identify opportunities, build niche practice areas, and provide proactive guidance that helps your clients make more informed financial decisions.
By building a connected ecosystem with APIs, accounting firms like yours can boost productivity, improve accuracy, and gain strategic insight while delighting clients and becoming an employer of choice. Embracing API technology is a strategic move that enables firms to stay ahead in a competitive landscape by fostering a culture that encourages flexibility and enables growth.
As technology continues to evolve, there is no doubt that APIs will play an increasingly significant role in shaping the future of the accounting profession. Are you ready to take advantage of this opportunity?
To learn more about how automating with APIs can tackle pain points and transform your accounting practice, download our latest whitepaper on the topic: Automate with APIs to solve pain points.