From XU Magazine, 
Issue 33

The quest for work life balance – an accounting industry evolution

More accounting firms in ANZ are looking to technology to help them achieve work life balance in the post-pandemic landscape
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Wolters Kluwer surveyed 430 Australian and New Zealand accounting and tax professionals earlier this year, presenting our findings in the 2022 Tax Season Challenges Report: Accounting evolution: how firms adapted to the global landscape in 2022.

One of the key findings in the report was that the number one issue faced by accountants in 2022 was achieving work life balance. In fact, the top 3 challenges were all related to time – or lack thereof. For many accountants, there are simply not enough hours in the day. 

Top 3 issues faced by accounting firms in 2022

  1. 1. Work life balance
  2. 2. Finding time to identify opportunities to add value to clients
  3. 3. Obtaining correct data and information from clients on a timely basis

Wolters Kluwer 2022-23 Tax Season Challenges Report

Fifty-nine percent of the survey respondents confirmed their number one issue this year was work life balance. This isn’t surprising; amidst a backdrop of a global talent shortage, accountants are needing to do more with less. Forty-six percent of respondents said their major challenge was finding time to add value to their clients. Again, with accountants struggling to find the hours in the day to complete fundamental compliance work, making time to generate advisory work can feel impossible.

Finally, the third most common issue faced by firms this year, with 45% of respondents was chasing client information. This isn’t new and was also reported as a major challenge in our survey last year. 

Interestingly, when queried on key business goals for the year, time was again a key theme. Firms reported their number one strategic goal in 2022 was to improve operational workflows and standardise processes. This came in ahead of revenue growth; indicating that firms are looking to gain efficiencies of time and thus improve profitability and ultimately aid work life balance.

All of these challenges are underpinned by the fact that accounting and tax professionals provide “always-on services” in a post-pandemic economy. Small to medium businesses account for 97% of all businesses across Asia Pacific. These SMBs look to their accountants as their most trusted business advisor. SMB clients are expecting higher levels of service and advisory from their accountants, while employees are looking for firms that are ahead of the curve. Going forward, successful firms will empower their people, optimise workflow and embrace technology to help them address their key issues and tax season challenges of the 2022-23.

Embracing technology

Technology is proving to be a big-time saver for accounting firms in Australia and New Zealand. Firms reported that technology is reducing the number of hours spent per client and enabling them to focus on core business rather than administrative duties.

 Wolters Kluwer 2022-23 Tax Season Challenges Report 

For the last 50+ years, Wolters Kluwer has been equipping firms in Australia and New Zealand with the cloud-based technology and tools they need to gain these efficiencies of time. This is enabling firms to do more with less to enhance service offerings and contribute to firm growth and profitability. 

From our intelligent cloud-based practice management software which helps to automate tasks and workflows, to our compliance tools such as CCH iFirm Tax; there are a host of solutions available.  

Automated workflow streamlines repeatable processes, minimising errors and improving both efficiency and communication between team members. Over 76% of all firms stated the most important area when preparing a tax return is to prepare it with minimal data entry and clicks. By optimising workflows and streamlining processes, tax technology can save valuable hours each day. 

In our compliance suite, we also have the must-have tool for any accountant who deals with investments: CCH iFirm CGT Reporter. With unrivalled historical capital gains data and powerful portfolio worksheets, this can save hours producing reports on shareholdings dating back to 1985.

To support in business growth and client advisory, we have predictive intelligence tools, such as CCH iQ Client Match which identifies clients who may be impacted by a recent tax event – again saving you time from having to do this process manually.

And to simplify the process of connecting with clients, there is CCH iFirm cloud-based Client Portal and integrated e-signatures tool.

At the end of the day, our products are designed to help you reclaim hours in your day to do what’s most important to you and your business.

Post-pandemic, we are seeing the conversation shift from “productivity” to “work life balance” and Wolters Kluwer is here to support you in this goal.

About the Wolters Kluwer 2022-23 Tax Season Challenges Report

The Accounting Evolution: how firms adapted to a changing landscape 

The pandemic triggered a fundamental shift in the values and attitudes of individuals across Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). In 2022, future-focused firms are embracing digital technologies to empower their people and engage their clients.

Digital transformation has enabled remote work and virtual interactions at scale, providing opportunities for professionals to work anytime and anywhere. As an industry that values time, (and never seems to have enough of it), advanced technology promises to improve efficiency and free-up capacity. But has it worked?

Do early adopters of technology report higher revenue? Does a simplified workflow boost profitability? And - across an industry experiencing a talent squeeze - do advanced tech-stacks help to attract and retain loyal and talented staff?

The Wolters Kluwer 2022 Tax Season Challenges survey aimed to address these questions. Download the report to read the key findings.

Why leave it there?

Need some more info on time saving cloud technology for your firm?

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