5 services accounting practices can add without increasing staff

It’s no longer enough for accounting professionals to simply take care of the books. As demands on businesses increase, so do the demands placed on accountants. For smaller accounting practices to remain competitive in a changing marketplace, they’re adding services or expanding existing ones to develop new revenue streams and better serve the needs of clients.

Supplementing your practice’s offerings with new advisory services can be a great way to improve profitability, retain existing clients, and attract new ones. Of course, the big question with any upgrade to your business is often how much it will cost. How can accounting professionals incorporate new services into their practice while retaining their existing headcount and remaining profitable?

Find out how accounting experts are expanding their services without additional staff, and learn about a few services that may be right for your practice.

Advanced technology and automation help new services improve profitability

Client expectations are changing, and clients are willing to pay extra for the services they want. Luckily, sales tax compliance software and automation have made it so accounting practices can add many of these services without the need for more employees.

There’s a good chance that many tax professionals spend much of their time on important but monotonous tasks. This may include research, tax registrations, assigning sales tax rates, and other necessary jobs that can take a long time when performed manually.

By streamlining processes through technology, these jobs can be performed much quicker. Less time spent on these tasks also helps to reduce operational costs, potentially making them profitable additions to your service offerings. What’s more, these are assignments you can offload through automation to focus your time where it might be more valuable.

The wide range of services accounting professionals might consider includes sales tax returns filing, business license management, and solution implementation (to name a few possibilities). Discover five services you could add to your firm without increasing your staff.

1. Advisory services

Accounting professionals are much more than bookkeepers for many businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses. A study by OnPay found that 87% of small business owners surveyed agree that their accountant is their trusted advisor.

With so many clients asking their accounting professionals for guidance, it should be no surprise that advisory services are in high demand from many accounting practices. The same report showed that more than 20% of small business owners surveyed expect advisory services from their accountants. Services in high demand include business consulting and help with financial projections, in addition to software and service recommendations.

By harnessing the power of technology and indirect tax automation, accounting professionals can save time and recenter their attention on clients to provide the full breadth of services their clients have come to expect.

2. Sales tax returns services

Retailers continue to struggle with the regulations and requirements brought on by the United States Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. A study commissioned by Avalara and performed by NetReflector/Potentiate found that 43% of businesses surveyed were spending more time on sales tax collection and remittance than they were previously due to marketplace laws.

A few sales tax returns per year here and there might not seem like much, but they start to add up when you begin handling potentially dozens of returns for multiple clients. The increase in the amount of sales tax returns and their complexity, particularly in regard to ecommerce, has made returns preparation and filing services popular among clients.

Because of their complicated nature, sales tax returns services were something that rarely made sense for accounting practices until now. While clients may want help preparing and filing sales tax returns, the manual process was often too time-consuming to make financial sense. Sales tax returns software for accountants helps to make the returns process more efficient through automation.

By leveraging sales tax returns automation software for your accounting firm, you can speed up the sales tax returns process with the goal of making it an efficient and potentially lucrative addition to your firm.

3. Tax research and audit support

Even if your practice has a dedicated sales and local tax (SALT) manager, combing through regulations, statutes, and taxability rules can take a long time.

Furthermore, tax documents are hardly light reading. Citations and statutes can be difficult to parse and full of jargon that can confuse even some tax professionals. This is why access to clear, understandable research is vital to accounting practices.

By simplifying indirect tax research for your firm, you can empower your staff to quickly and easily provide reliable research backed by relevant statutes and citations. You can even present your findings to clients in plain language that’s easy to comprehend.

Access to tax research and tax content subscriptions can also improve your staff’s tax knowledge. Tasks that may have required experts before can now be performed by staff with lower levels of expertise. They’ll even learn more in the process.

Tax research software and services make accessing and sharing research easier and faster than ever. Quickly find the answers you need regarding product taxability, supporting statutes, citations, and more to keep clients informed and up to date. Thanks to improved tax research services, you’ll be ready to support your clients in the event of a potential audit.

4. License management services

From getting a business off the ground to ensuring it has what it needs to stay open, business license management is another area where your firm can further expand its offerings. License management can be an effective way to add a recurring revenue model to your practice that’s both transparent and profitable.

More clients are looking toward accounting practices for guidance and assistance in getting their businesses up and running. This may mean helping a business identify and apply for the correct business licenses. The right license guidance software prepares accounting practices to help clients identify the licenses they need and point out the ones they don’t.

Clients with established businesses may need assistance with managing license renewals. A business might be undergoing an organizational restructuring or looking to move to a new location and could use a hand with its business licenses.

Using the right software, your firm can manage the license portfolios for multiple clients from a single, secure dashboard. Managing license renewals for clients is fast and easy with the help of dynamic calendars and proactive email alerts.

Automation and software solutions can help you add potentially valuable services like license management while removing the time constraints that previously made them cost-prohibitive.

5. Solution implementation

Sometimes it isn’t just about performing the solution, it’s about providing your clients with the tools they need to succeed. In fact, the ability to efficiently and effectively implement a fix can be just as important as the solution itself.

When accounting practices enable clients by providing and guiding them with the right tools, they have the opportunity to build deeper relationships with clients. These relationships can also serve to help further cement your practice’s reputation as a trusted advisor to your clients.

By becoming Certified Implementation Partners with their technology solution providers, accounting firms are equipped to provide the right solution and support for clients. This arms accountants with the education and training necessary to help clients find the solution that works best for their business.

Expand services through software and improve profitability

There are all kinds of possibilities available to your business with the right indirect tax software. The above are only some of the many services accounting firms can add to meet client demand. Discover what else your business can do with all the time it could save through automation.

Learn more about how you can expand your services to give your clients not only what they want, but what they need, and have it be profitable for your practice. 

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