Uncovering the hidden value in data entry
Energized Accounting is happy to include a guest post from the Intuit Team, on a subject that is close to my heart: reducing the pain (and time!) involved in tax return preparation.
Data entry can be a tough slog for any accountant. Most accountants would rather be working with clients, doing financial planning or heck, maybe some accountants would prefer dealing with the CRA. As painful as the task may be, accountants may not realize that they benefit greatly from it.
We all know that data entry isn’t the most rewarding task, but it’s a crucial component to understanding a client’s business.
All of a business’ data tells a hidden story that needs to be deciphered. It’s as if you’re an archaeologist uncovering hieroglyphics for the first time. You need to take a step-by-step approach to understanding the numbers in front of you to dig out conclusions from the data. Combing through it gives you insight into the company’s health, such as cash flow issues, unmanageable expenses or a boost in profit, and you get a glimpse into the business’ story through data entry.
Most accountants face a dilemma around which data entry method to use, either entering the data yourself or using an algorithm, with neither option being perfect. Typos can happen and the accuracy of OCR technology needs improvement, which means that either way, the data needs to be checked.
If you take on the Herculean task yourself, the thought of sitting in front of a computer with those numbers staring back at you will likely make you cringe. The task becomes that much worse when you’re exhausted. The good news is that you’ll be on the lookout for any glaring anomalies and at the same time, familiarizing yourself with the business’ numbers. The bad news is that it’s time consuming.
Your other option is to hand it over to a third party for verification, but before you make that decision, you need to consider the quality of their service and your timeline. Taking the OCR route can make it harder to find mistakes, similar to looking for a needle in a haystack, since it will take valuable time figuring out your starting point.
Accountants can now breathe a sigh of relief at the third option Intuit will soon offer, which combines the two choices. These new options are currently being tested in the US and they’ll be coming soon to Canada.
For T1 returns, you’ll be able to get the data directly from the CRA and access it in ProFile. Your T4s will be pre-populated and your chances of error are drastically reduced since you’re working with data that was already submitted. You can then collaborate with your client to verify the numbers you’re working with and this way, you also have a chance to collect their receipts and T4 and T5 forms, without needing to chase them down. Say goodbye to expensive scanning or OCR services and access data that’s already been submitted.
For T2 returns, there’s integration between QuickBooks‘ tax modules, which means you can be confident that the data used last year will be shifted to this year’s submission. You’ll no longer waste time inputting the same data or have a typo that could derail your holiday plans.
Accountants rejoice! You can look forward to spending less time amending filings, transcribing or tracking down needed information. You’ll no longer face embarrassing issues arising from silly mistakes and you’ll no longer need to chug down coffee to stay focused during long work hours. Catch up on your Zzz’s and enjoy the holidays with your family, courtesy of Intuit, a gift from your valued accounting partner.
Authors: Chris Fudge and Graham Sharples
Graham Sharples is the Product Leader for ProFile.
Image courtesy of krishna arts at FreeDigitalPhotos.net