The technology footprint of CPA firms typically consists of a mix of different applications running on different platforms (Cloud, premise). There are solutions for tax, audit, practice management, accounting and other point, or one off solutions. Administering these systems can be a challenge and issues with data and process standardization, consistency, and accuracy are common.
The benefits of integrations are clear: fewer redundancies, greater accuracy, and smoother processes to name a few. Therefore integrating your back office systems is an easy decision, right?
Not necessarily. Every situation is different. To help determine what’s right for your firm, consider the following questions:
- What systems (and why) have the most overlap of data? This will help understand the scope of your potential integration issues.
- Where would you like to share data? What value would that give you? This will help you determine the ROI of any efforts you undertake to integrate your systems.
- If you are using one of the Accounting / Practice Management Suites, how well does it integrate with external systems? Many of these solutions make it difficult to integrate.
- What would a seamless process look like to you? The ultimate goal is to make your processes as seamless as possible. Map out what that looks like.
- What falls through the cracks? How do you stop things from falling through the cracks? This will help you get your arms around how much fire fighting occurs in your firm today.
If you are one of the lucky few where integration is not an issue, congratulations. For everyone else, help is on the way.