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Talent Acquisition and Retention

The secret antidote to the talent shortage

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

How can accounting talent acquisition benefit from automation?

In an era of staffing shortages, accounting firms must increasingly look outside the box to fill gaps in talent. If you find yourself in this position, it may be time to welcome your newest staff member: automation.  

Historically, accounting firms have dedicated junior staff to handle manual data entry tasks and labor-intensive workflow processes. As a matter of fact, most entry-level positions start out examining spreadsheets for inaccuracies, entering trial balance data into engagement software, and formatting financial statements. However, amid the struggle for accounting talent acquisition, it might be time to consider reducing these manual activities and increasing your reliance on technology.  

Here’s a look at how automation can help tax and accounting firms address the staffing struggle. 

More accurate returns in less time

As most accountants know, tax technology can automate manual activities, save time, and improve accuracy. With sophisticated diagnostics, accountants no longer have to enter information, detect blank fields, or search for numbers that don’t add up.  

By linking tax returns using a tax ID number, the same changes don’t have to be made across multiple documents. Errors are caught automatically — before it’s too late to fix them. This reduces both the margin of error and the time needed to review your returns for accuracy. But how exactly does this work? 

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are software codes that allow two unrelated systems to talk to each other. For accounting firms, APIs can increase efficiency and reduce redundancy by enabling disparate systems to work together to compare data sets. The result is the ability to automate numerous manual functions and save a significant amount of time. 

The ways in which accounting firms use APIs to automate depends on their workflow processes. 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; and 
  • Gain insights for analysis and decision support. 

With technology that automates the entire tax workflow, even entry-level accountants can jump right into value-added work like looking for trends and outliers, collaborating with clients, and thinking on a more strategic level.  

The bottom line? Automation enables your firm to do more with less staff — and better serve your clients.  

Boost staff engagement and retention

In such a competitive landscape, it’s critical to modernize your technology to recruit and retain top employees.  

It goes without saying that turnover is a costly issue for accounting firms. However, when automation makes manual activities a thing of the past, the door is opened to improved accounting talent acquisition and sustained retention.  

Picture this: Your staff collaborates without version control issues. Data passes seamlessly and securely between platforms. Clients get more value out of their interactions with your firm and less billed manual work. Your staff achieves work-life balance. It’s all possible with automation.  

Today’s job seekers are looking for flexibility. Not only does technology provide the ability to share data and documents in real time, but it also enables remote work, boosts engagement, and increases job satisfaction. Additionally, for firms looking to grow, scale, or expand their offerings, automation provides peace of mind that the right people are working on the right activities at the right time. 

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.  

With technology as your foundation, your firm can foster a culture that encourages flexibility and enables growth. Amidst the demands of a challenging landscape, automation can help you become an employer of choice — and that gives your firm a considerable strategic advantage.  

Unlock new opportunities for growth

With the success of your firm at stake, technology can be a catalyst to unlocking new opportunities and sustaining growth. Automation enables a shift in focus from compliance-related tasks to more meaningful (and profitable) work achieved by moving to an advisory services business model.  

Offering advisory services creates an opportunity to capitalize on your knowledge and expertise, create deeper relationships with clients, and build a year-round business model. By using technology to analyze data, surface valuable insights, and stay current on the latest tax laws, your firm can identify opportunities and provide proactive guidance to clients.  

With a leaner and more engaged staff, you can shift your engagement strategy for new clients based on the value your firm brings to their business. New client services can be geared toward identifying end goals, setting the path toward those goals, and guiding your clients down each step of that path. Technology can also help you analyze trends and support your clients with the insight that helps their businesses grow and thrive.  

Automation and accounting talent acquisition

At the end of the day, the benefits of automation are two-fold. When software handles manual tax work, your firm can operate with a lower, more engaged headcount and shift your focus to what matters most: better serving your clients.  

The combination of your knowledge and experience alongside technology is powerful. The result is happy staff members who are empowered to build deeper client relationships — and that increases your bottom line.   

To learn more about how APIs can transform your practice, download our latest white paper.  

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