Producing statutory accounts for businesses ranging from small businesses to large corporate entities can be a time-consuming and labour-intensive process, causing headaches for accountants.
With the Making Tax Digital initiative ramping up the reporting schedule to compulsory quarterly accounts updates from April 2019 for new businesses, and updates in the pipeline for GAAP and IFRS, how can accountants ensure that their accounts production process runs smoothly and quickly without compromising accuracy?
One way that accountants help to negotiate the myriad of accounting structures and client demands is by letting accounts software take the strain. But what are the benefits of implementing accounting software for your business and how can it ensure accounting compliance?
Automate the tagging and submission process
The production, tagging and submission of final accounts are often time-consuming for accountants who use Excel or Word to prepare financial statements. They could spend hours checking information and inserting the correct tags to ensure everything is correct prior to submission.
Of course, the tagging process is something that gets easier the more it’s done, but, in an environment where time is of the utmost importance, manually managing the tagging and submission process is far too inefficient.
To alleviate the time pressure, many accountants outsource the tagging of financial accounts to specialist providers, so that they can focus on other activities. It certainly expedites the process, but there are more cost-effective solutions that accountants can utilise to streamline the tagging of financial accounts and ensure accounting compliance.
Automated solutions, such as CaseWare’s Account Production software, can simplify and speed up the process. Accountants can automate the XBRL tagging process, produce compliant financial statements across a wide range of entity types, access powerful analysis tools and submit accounts to HMRC or Companies House.
They can build statements quickly and easily, as guidelines on how to populate key information – such as Director’s names, registered addresses and company numbers – is available.
These solutions can work in tandem with a document manager, allowing the user to add Excel/Word documents, which may contain a breakdown of a particular figure within the accounts, and automate lead schedules.
Keep track of complex regulation updates
When looking for an accounting software provider, businesses and accountants alike must ensure that the provider’s software can handle complex account structures and that it covers your entity type, such as pensions, charities and academies.
A good accounting software provider will offer a wide range of templates that are compliant with accounting standards – and regularly updated.
CaseWare provides iXBRL solutions for UK and Irish FRS 101, 102 and 105, plus UK charities using the FRS 102 standard, and regularly reviews its templates.
Consistent accuracy across your business or practice
Reporting accuracy across the business or practice is key – and inconsistent or incorrect tagging can slow down the submission process. For businesses and practices that submit certain financial accounts regularly, it’s important to have a solution that automatically records tags year on year so they don’t have to retag the same items again.
A good accounting software provider will build efficiency and support accountants by retaining previously used tags on financial statements so businesses and practices only need to tag any changed or additional content on their financial statements.
Another efficiency-boosting feature of a iXBRL tagging solution is to utilise a ‘traffic light’ system for all of the accounts. For example if data is tagged to its standard iXBRL tag, it’s green, if it’s missing a standard, it’s red. This drastically enhances the ability to review financial statements and accounts and identify problems with the tagging.
While accounting accuracy and compliance is key for good financial reporting, it shouldn’t be at the expense of manual and time-consuming checking and matching processes. Accounting software can take the strain of financial year-end reporting and streamline the process for businesses.