Implementing tax automation and digital workflow

September 3, 2019

By Steven J. Kurinsky, CPA, CGMA for The Tax Adviser

To implement automation technology into a tax practice, as the old saying goes, "teamwork makes the dream work." Organizations will not achieve success with just one person championing the new software; team members at all levels of the organization need to buy in to the change. Without a strong and widespread commitment, roadblocks, delays, and dissatisfaction will quickly arise. Change is difficult because it requires people to step outside their comfort zones. However, with commitment from colleagues, positive change is possible.

Research and demo
Planning for change is just as important as making the change. Consulting colleagues at various levels within the organization will help to develop a well-rounded perspective. Presenting a big-picture view helps everyone to understand why his or her task is important and necessary and how it affects other steps in the process. Consider forming a committee to research and try out the various software products available. This helps create buy-in at all levels. Additionally, the committee members can facilitate training, be the go-to people for questions or concerns, and act as a positive force within the firm.

As a first step, the committee should document the current processes and procedures involved in all tax engagements. This will help identify problem areas, any process duplications, and areas where the new software can create efficiencies and improve upon current processes. Along with documenting processes and procedures, indicate the amount of time currently allotted for each task. This will help to show where time savings are possible, especially by applying those efficiencies across all client work.

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