It's no secret that tax and accounting firms often struggle with the challenges of disconnected teams, a lack of data visibility, and inefficient workflows. While many firm leaders may have heard of API automation, most are unsure of how APIs work or the ways in which they can simplify daily workflow, boost productivity, and provide a competitive advantage.
As most of us know, tax and accounting automation involves streamlining and standardizing tax inputs and workflow processes using technology. The result is more accurate results in less time — and more time for rewarding, high-value work that engages staff and wows clients. While standard tax software offers some of these benefits, the most transformative results come as a result of the holistic integration of APIs.
How do APIs help with automation?
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are bits of software code that allow two unrelated systems to access and use each other’s features or data. From reducing human error to connecting teams to insightful analytics, APIs are transforming industries by stitching together disparate systems and unleashing endless ways to increase efficiency.
In fact, 70% of businesses that added automation to their accounting processes reported a stronger ROI. But how your firm applies APIs depends on your specific workflow and solution set. This speaks to the flexible nature of APIs and the need to personalize an approach that works best for your firm.
In general, API automation enables your firm 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
Specific examples of API automation efficiency include:
- Setting up document security permissions for clients which have been outsourced
- Automatically filing different e-Signature applications into your files as documents
- Creating and deactivating users via an Excel spreadsheet import
- Viewing data in Business Intelligence applications such as Power BI or on mobile devices
- Retrieving a client list, submitting an e-File, or retrieving an e-File acknowledgment
Today, many firms automate only one or two specific tasks. Perhaps your firm is using automation to simplify document storage or automate some of your workflows. If so, that’s great! However, a more holistic approach to automation can pave the way to transformative outcomes and greater ROI. But where do you start?
What are the benefits of a personalized automation consultation?
A personalized automation consultation from Thomson Reuters can help your firm document each step of your daily workflow, identify gaps and inefficiencies, and build a custom API roadmap that can open the door to transformative benefits. Your Thomson Reuters Automation Consultants will build a customized journey designed to uncover your needs and develop strategies to address them.
Typically, your journey will consist of four, two-hour sessions with API and automation consultants that dive deep into every aspect of your business. The sessions are designed to understand the day-to-day work of each job function and assess opportunities for automation. After compiling a detailed report of their findings, the automation consultants will share the opportunities, gaps, and recommendations for which products and automation tools would be most impactful for your firm. From there, they will help you in prioritizing and implementing the recommendations.
One of the most important considerations in creating your automation roadmap is ensuring that your systems can communicate with one another. Technology providers that embrace other companies’ tech and create APIs that allow disparate systems to work together bring another level of value to accounting firms. Because each firm uses tax software and systems in their own way, a customized consultation and plan of action is of the utmost importance in ensuring the benefits of APIs are maximized for your firm’s specific needs.
Overcoming barriers to change
As with any major transformation, decision makers at accounting firms may face barriers to change. Your automation consultants can help you navigate and address concerns about cost, complexity, or resistance to change.
Many firms have been getting by with the use of techniques and practices passed on by partners of the past. Now more than ever, tax and accounting firms need to integrate technology solutions and automate processes — and the recommendations from seasoned consultants can help move this transformation forward.
After attending this fully inclusive consulting session to address all areas for potential automation within your firm, you’ll come away with a renewed vision for the practice and optimization of business practices. Your personalized API roadmap will integrate your entire technology ecosystem, allowing you to do more in less time while the powerful combination of data from all your systems, workflows, and processes provides endless ways to surface valuable insights and powerful analysis.
With a holistic approach to automation, roles and relationships will change — in a good way. With less focus on manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks, your firm can shift focus from strictly compliance work to providing value-added insight that is not only more lucrative but also more fulfilling for staff.
Book your Thomson Reuters Automation Consultation
With a personalized automation consultation, Thomson Reuters can help you apply APIs and unlock endless ways to increase efficiency and help you better serve your clients.
If you’re ready to unleash the power of holistic automation in a way that maximizes the unique benefit for your firm, learn more about the process and book your Thomson Reuters Automation Consultation today.