Simplify tax season (and beyond) with APIs
If you’re a leader in a tax and accounting firm, you know the pain that disconnected teams, lack of visibility, and inefficient workflows can bring. You also may have heard of APIs; however, many accountants are unsure of what they are and how they can help simplify workflow and boost profitability.
So, let’s start with the basics.
What are APIs?
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are software code that allow two unrelated systems to access and use each other’s features or data. Essentially, an API acts as a facilitator that enables two different and separate applications to talk to each other.
How do APIs help accounting firms?
APIs can increase efficiency and reduce redundancy by enabling disconnected systems to work together to compare data sets. This helps accountants automate tasks that bog down productivity.
Some examples of an API for a tax application include retrieving a client list, submitting an E-File, retrieving an E-File acknowledgement, and much more.
In general, APIs enable accountants to:
- Automate key processes and reduce hours spent on non-billable work
- Avoid entering data manually to reduce the risk of errors
- Increase visibility of client needs with connected solutions
- Connect otherwise disconnected third-party systems
- Gain insights for analysis and decision support
In addition, APIs can support succession planning and business continuity because the resulting automation is not reliant on the knowledge of a single person.
As your firm gets comfortable with APIs, you can start expanding their use and enabling interaction between multiple products. This transforms the workflow of your firm and enriches your staff’s work life by allowing them to focus on more meaningful, value-added work.
How can I implement automated APIs in my firm?
The way in which your accounting firm can utilize APIs is specific to your workflow.
If your firm uses Microsoft, they now offer Power Automate, a set of connectors that allow users to create automation between applications. Recently, Thomson Reuters partnered with Microsoft to release a GoFileRoom connector within the Microsoft Power Automate ecosystem.
This means that GoFileRoom users can now automate more than 45 manual processes using Microsoft Power Automate. By combining these actions together, you can create an automated workflow customized to your firm’s specific processes.
Luckily, you do not need programming expertise to implement APIs. They can be put to work right out of the box. Of course, for more complex tax workflows, Thomson Reuters offers the ability to customize an API solution that best fits your business.
Making the most of APIs and automation
Let’s imagine a few scenarios to understand how APIs can automate your day-to-day tasks and transform your workflow.
- To streamline new staff onboarding, simply import a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to create new GoFileRoom users.
- To save time, create a PowerApp which enables you to take a picture of a document that is then automatically added as a PDF to GoFileRoom.
- To boost productivity, retrieve a document back from e-signature applications and then have it automatically saved to GoFileRoom.
- To increase efficiency, create a PowerApp which enables adding and removing users to group permissions based on files stored in GoFileRoom.
Another great thing about the Microsoft Power Automate ecosystem is the sense of community. Ideas and solutions are easily shared and used by other community members. If there are common tasks which involve a Thomson Reuters connector, they can be made available as a “Power Automate Template” which can then be utilized by other firms.
As new ideas emerge through the use of these connectors in the Microsoft Power Automate ecosystem, Thomson Reuters will release additional templates and power apps for our customers’ benefit. If you are a current GoFileRoom customer, reach out to your sales representative for more information and training on Microsoft PowerApps.
How do I get started with APIs?
To get started on your API journey, take some time to reflect on the inefficiencies that hindered your productivity this tax season. Chances are you’ve experienced many pain points similar to other large firms.
In our white paper, How APIs can help transform your practice, we’ve taken a deep dive into the many benefits of APIs and how they can improve your firm’s profitability.
When you’re ready, join the community of accountants who are revamping outdated processes and using APIs to their advantage.
Visit tax.tr.com/us/en/cs-professional-suite/gofileroom to learn more.