Automation has for too long been plagued with the consensus that it is complex and complicated, whether that be it is too difficult to install or will take jobs away from staff.
It is often met with resistance from employees and clients alike who assume that the technology will be hard to adapt to, and that all processes will have to be automated. But these are all from the rumour mill.
Automation in fact has the power to make better value out of staff, by allowing them to do what they do best and are trained to do, with manual data input reduced.
Putting automation into action with Practice Gateway
BKL, a leading accountancy practice in London, has been advancing with technology and decided they needed to change and revive their tax processes. Before looking to automate, BKL found that some of their clients did not provide data in good time for tax season, had last minute calls which lead to a lack of standardised data through misinformation, and staffing supply issues that did not match demand or quality. All a reflection of the industry taking a limited approach to innovation.
Enter in Practice Gateway. A unique, single portal designed for every interaction between client and accountant. The implementation of Practice Gateway has been a game-changer for BKL by making the tax return process much easier. Now information chasers are automated into Practice Gateway and sent out to clients. This has relieved a huge burden of manual work from staff. Advisors at BKL have freed up time to be bespoke with clients when they are not spending time sending chasers, which is better value for customers who receive more time and professional expertise from their accountant.
The one-stop portal ensured that onboarding was easy for all (both employees and clients) as there was no juggling multiple platforms. This, with the high-level integration Practice Gateway has with other software providers, meant that BKL had standardised and accurate data input into all the systems across the business.
As for the rumour of perceived complexity, BKL found their employees and clients adapted to the new technology with complete ease, and training was not daunting. The best bit of Practice Gateway for them was choosing what works for them both individually, and across the wider tax team. Not everything had to be automated; they could simply blend it into their tax process system in a way that suited them.
The uncovered truth of automation
The rapid adaptation to Teams, Zoom, and other digital applications during COVID revealed that people are more ahead of the technology curve than they think, and automation should not be underestimated as being a part of this. Robotic process automation has already transformed the industry in many ways and is proving to enhance the working day for accountants, rather than replace jobs, or complicate processes.
More than ever, the workplace is becoming conscious of the work vs life balance. Tools such as Practice Gateway can be used to rebalance workloads by managing the burden. This is an encouraging trait that many practices are realising, especially when it comes to attracting new talent. Millennials are quickly becoming a huge part of the workforce, and that raises the expectations of technology integration in the workplace. To attract talent, workplaces need to be agile and innovative, which is where automation ticks the box. It’s a win win.
With Making Tax Digital just around the corner, BKL is now in the perfect position to thrive, whilst being one step ahead as a practice. Automation within Practice Gateway has primed them to be industry leaders. So, the truth is that automation is not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks to be the future of tax.