Press release: The Remote tax practice – make it happen with CaseWare CloudTax
CloudTax helps tax practitioners solve many of today’s challenges and lays the foundation for the tax practice of the future.
In the age of lockdowns and working from home, both practitioners and their clients find themselves having to run their businesses remotely. Many tax practices experienced revenue losses when the initial lockdowns were introduced. Others have been victim of cyber-attacks and ransomware. At the same time, SARS also increased auto-assessments to grow collection revenues, which has introduced additional challenges for practitioners to ensure assessments contain appropriate information.
One thing has become clear: there is a burning need for tax practitioners to effectively manage data and client information, to find better ways of assisting their clients from any location, whilst continuing to ensure that their clients’ tax affairs remain in order.
Covid-19 has certainly reemphasized the urgency for tax practices to future proof their firms. There’s no doubt that smart tax practices have already seen the writing on the wall and are looking to transition to cloud-based solutions. Research shows that this is where future-fit accountants still have considerable room to grow, with less than 20% of accountants using tax-preparation software, whilst the rest are still managing their practices using manual processes.
But moving to tax-preparation software is only the beginning. Whilst preparing the tax return is the final deliverable, it must be recognised that it is the result of a process that starts much earlier.
In fact, most taxpayers spend between 75% to 90% of their time gathering information and documents. As anyone who has done it knows, it’s daunting to collaborate with clients via the phone or e-mail, and response times can often be very long. Another major issue is the use of spreadsheets to calculate and check numbers - an approach that introduces errors and that is time-consuming. It also means that the information is all over the place, wherever people are working on it—instead of in one central location where everybody can access it.
In addition, when information is dispersed, version control becomes a continuing and difficult issue to manage. And, of course, there is the time-consuming and inefficient process of submitting each tax return manually.
A better way
Tax practitioners who transition to cloud-based solutions can quickly overcome previous challenges and take advantage of significant benefits. For one thing, moving to a cloud-based solution means that the firm is always assured of using the latest technology—without the upfront capital costs of acquiring a licence every time a product is upgraded or needing to roll out upgrades to every user.
Some of the main benefits of moving to the cloud are:
- Better cost model. Costs are predictable and easy to manage, and practitioners do not need to invest in server and security infrastructure. This introduces considerable savings.
- Better security. Data is stored safely and securely on multiple remote servers, without needing any resources or costs from the practitioner to maintain. The firm’s data, and that of its clients, is much more secure—no small thing given the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) and its stringent penalties.
- Accessibility. Tax practices and their teams can work from anywhere at any time, and all they need is a browser and access to the internet. This means that firms can save costs on VPN connections and do not need to coordinate software update installations with their IT teams.
- Centralised Storage. Clients don’t have to struggle with managing multiple copies of the same information in different places. In addition, the cloud offers unlimited storage space and comes with useful features like automatic backup, so practitioners don’t have to worry about losing or redoing any work.
- Enhanced productivity. Greater security is complemented by greater availability. Centrally located data is accessible to all who need it, from wherever they are. Tax professionals can service their clients from wherever they happen to be, and do not need to be in their offices to do so. Another big advantage is that any number of tax professionals can work on the same documents simultaneously.
Why tax practices need CloudTax
Adopting CloudTax is a great starting point for the move to the cloud because it has been specifically designed with the needs of the tax practitioner in mind. CloudTax enables tax professionals to access all the benefits of the cloud while minimising the risks. Some of the main benefits are:
- Easy collaboration with clients. Practitioners can make use of built-in queries and customisable questionnaires and send those to clients directly from within the app. Clients then respond easily by logging into their personal portal, answering the questions and uploading any necessary documents—even via smartphone. The system notifies the tax professional when new information is provided.
- Deadline Management. CloudTax keeps track of important deadlines and users can easily monitor provisional and annual return progress and status for all their entities.
- SARS Integration. CloudTax integrates directly with SARS eFilling, which means practitioners can process all taxpayer details, correspondence and tax return submissions automatically in bulk.
- SARS Compliance. Tax return forms and calculation frameworks are frequently kept up to date to ensure that they are compliant with all relevant tax legislation, greatly simplifying the tax return process.
- Seamless Data Integration. Trial balance information can easily and automatically be imported from CaseWare Working Papers, Xero, QuickBooks and Excel to pre-populate tax returns.
- Optimisation. Checklists, questionnaires and schedules are built-in that intelligently expand or collapse according to the complexity of the return.
- Prepare, calculate, and submit tax returns directly to SARS eFiling. CloudTax supports Provisional (IRP6), Individual (ITR12), Corporate (ITR14) and Trust (ITR12T) tax returns with built-in calculations aligned to SARS.
With CloudTax, tax practitioners are now more empowered than ever with a holistic cloud-based tax return solution, that can be used seamlessly for all provisional and annual returns for Corporates, Individuals and Trusts. The tax practice of the future will be cloud-based. With CloudTax, tax practitioners can take a very meaningful step towards setting up their firms for future success.