Why would a tax accountant use legal practice management software to manage his firm?
It’s a question we posed to Lynn Jones of Summit Financial Services, LLC who’s been using the LexisNexis® Time Matters® all-in-one-practice management solution to manage his accounting firm for the better part of the decade.
While some may be scratching heads wondering why an accountant would look outside of his industry for a program to run his business, Mr. Jones states it plainly: “I can’t find a better program out there for staying in front of the information and data in a timely fashion.”
In reality, the legal and accounting professions are actually quite similar in terms of business operations. For example, both professions deal with matters. Attorneys handle legal matters while accountants handle tax and accounting matters.
Mr. Jones, who predominantly develops tax preparations for his clients, and represents clients before the IRS, says he needs tools that can help him maintain and track his clients’ tax history. Since this information requires a great deal of upkeep and oversight, he uses the Time Matters solution to help him manage the data – and also to import this information into client tax preparation documents. This is a process he says makes life a lot easier.
Prior to using software to manage his accounting firm, Mr. Jones says he would have to prepare clients tax filings manually on paper which would take an enormous amount of time and effort. Today, he ne notes, “his accounting firm is completely paperless.”
Moving to a paperless office is just the tip of the iceberg for the accounting profession, according to Mr. Jones. He believes accountants will continue to rely more heavily on technology in the future. He sees this trend unfolding in daily dealings with the IRS, as he has less person-to-person contact in favor of technology to fill those roles. This change he believes is due in part to growing budget constraints and also a natural evolution of the business.
Mr. Jones predicts there will be more emphasis and investment on developing digital tools and applications for the accounting industry. He believes social media will play a more significant role in the profession as well.
There’s research to support his prediction. For example, according to a 2013 accounting industry study digital technologies are already transforming accounting. The study identifies the top 10 technologies that have the potential to change the playing field for the accounting profession as: mobile; big data; artificial intelligence and robotics; cyber security; educational; cloud; payment systems; virtual and augmented reality; digital service delivery and social media.
For now, Mr. Jones says whether you’re an attorney or an accountant, the best tools are the ones that are easy, reliable and effective. For him that happens to be time and billing tool designed for law firm practice management. We just think it’s pretty neat the software has a vote of confidence from a tax accountant.
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