Needless to say, most tax, accounting and financial practices are under intense competition. While outsourcing has many benefits, most practices are pressured to do more with less. Tax accounting used to be something that was considered as a “local” expertise and therefore protected from “outsourcing”. However, in this borderless world that we live in has given birth to opportunities and technology headaches at the same time.

So how does a small business/accounting practice compete? Considering that millennials are becoming the consumers of the future and are “always on”, “always connected”, demand answers instantly, how does a traditionally “closed” practice as tax accounting stay relevant to their customers of today and tomorrow? How do they market to millennials? How do they engage with them all year long? How do they make this customer “sticky”?

Digital technology, social media and cloud-based platforms has the answers

Digital technology, social media and cloud-based platforms has the answers. The only companies that will survive the future will be ones that embrace this disruption to the fullest. Accounting businesses that continue with outdated, manual practices (higher headcount requirements due to manual processes) will inevitably fall behind more nimble, younger, technologically advanced competitors.

There’s a growing trend towards accessing tax, accounting and personal data via mobile. Organizations that don’t recognize this will face the same fate as banks that failed to recognize that tellers were being replaced by mobile banking.

The idea behind this mobile and web platform (see images) was just that – to capitalize on mobile and cloud technologies and not only gain more customers, but keep them, turn them into life long customers.

Business automation to lower your costs

Tax preparations are a seasonal business for most tax payers and many accountants. The process of preparing taxes for tax payers usually involves the accountants needing to collect multiple documents (1099s, W2s, sales receipts, investment docs etc) from each individual. Most of this document exchange happens via emails. These practices are un-safe, not secure and are, generally, not recommended.
In addition to above mentioned documents, tax accountants typically require tax payers to answer a series of questions – most of which are really standard (or can be standardized). A lot of information exchange happens via phone calls and emails between the tax accountants and the tax payers – hence, it ends up being quite a laborious and time consuming process. This leads to inefficient business processes and reduces the earned profits per tax payer for a tax accounting firm.
Finally, there’s always the concern around secure storage of PII (personally identifiable information) data that is generally sent across via email, is stored on various computers across an accounting organization etc.

A simple mobile app to solve your problems

Nisos Technologies solved these challenges by creating a mobile app that tax payers can use to respond to all questions that their tax accountant would generally ask thereby eliminating the need for accountant’s time on the phone or email. The mobile app also allowed for taking pictures of all required documents and uploading them securely via Parse.com cloud. These documents could later be accessed by the accountants via a web portal we had created.
The web portal supporting the accountants’ business processes allowed them to see all tax returns that are in various steps of completion. Thereafter, depending on the step that the tax return was in, the accountant(s) could request additional documents from the tax payer.
This would, in turn, generate a push notification for the tax payer and they could, thereafter, upload the required documents. Once all the requirements are met from the tax payer side, the accountant can proceed towards generating a tax return and send it to the tax payer for approval.
The tax payer can then, in turn, electronically sign the tax return using their mobile app which would allow the accountant to e-file their taxes.

Outcome, technology, services

Outcome

  • A fully functional, robust iOS mobile app
  • A scalable backend that can support millions of users
  • A secure web portal that complies with all PCI DSS concerns
  • Significant reduction (over 70%) of accountants’ manual, data collection and entry work

Technologies used

iOS, Parse, MonkeyTalk, , HTML5/CSS3, Stripe Payment Gateway

Duration: Ongoing
Total Effort: Ongoing