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Accountant Tish Bhagwandeen sitting at a desk talking to a colleague or client.
accountants and bookkeepers

Efficient and collaborative: Why the QuickBooks Prep for Taxes functionality is a no-brainer for accounting professionals

After spending over 12 years in the external audit industry , Tish Bhagwandeen transitioned her career to corporate where she took on the role as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for a tech start-up. 

“After spending some time in this role it became apparent that there was a gap in the market in terms of accounting advisory services that were available to small businesses,” Tish says. 

As a chartered accountant with an extensive audit background, Tish knew she had the ability to improve the accounting advisory being offered to businesses. With this in mind, she established Infinance Solutions.

“The initial focus of Infinance solutions was to offer CFO advisory services. This evolved very quickly when clients started approaching me to assist with their bookkeeping, BAS and taxation needs. I realised that by centralising these services, there was an efficiency to be achieved for my clients,” Tish says. 

Three and a half years on, Tish has now expanded Infinance Solutions with the help of the QuickBooks platform including QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) and QuickBooks Tax powered by LodgeiT. To learn more, Meagan Wood from the Advisor Marketing team at QuickBooks, spoke to Tish about what made her choose QuickBooks when setting up her practice, her favourite tips when using the QuickBooks platform and how it has given her a competitive edge in the industry. 

When did you start using QuickBooks Online?

Tish Bhagwandeen: I was in the process of researching various software solutions. Coincidently at the same time I onboarded a client who was using QuickBooks. I was familiar with QuickBooks from my time spent working in the US, so implementing the software within my own practice seemed like a natural transition. I also found that there was a synergy to be achieved between myself and my clients if we were using the same software.

What was your business need when you were looking for accounting software?

Tish Bhagwandeen: I myself was still very much in the start-up phase of my own business. It was essential for me to work with a software provider that could support me in my personal journey of developing my business. Through my research of the product, it became increasingly apparent that QuickBooks was going to be the right solution for my business.

What factors have influenced your choice of using QuickBooks Online?

Tish Bhagwandeen: The overarching factors were the seamless and easy to use interface coupled with the fantastic product support. QuickBooks Online has built in shortcuts which I can’t get from other providers. On a micro level, you are probably saving 2 or 3 minutes per task, which might seem insignificant on its own. However throughout the day this can easily translate into a few hours. This combined with the unparalleled product support for both clients and accountants is what makes QuickBooks a stellar product.

You mentioned that you also use QuickBooks Tax. How has your experience been?

Tish Bhagwandeen: I've been using QuickBooks Tax since its launch. It was during the formative stages when I initially started offering taxation services. I was looking for a solution that could seamlessly integrate into my business. The timing seemed very serendipitous. The QuickBooks team was very proactive and approached me to try their new product. I immediately recognised the efficiencies I could achieve and I appreciated not having to spend time doing extensive due diligence to find a tax solution that was secure and agnostic. QuickBooks had done the work for me.

What is the benefit of having an agnostic product like QuickBooks Tax?

Tish Bhagwandeen: Whilst QuickBooks Online is my preference, I don't impose this choice on my clients when they’re looking for accounting software. I like to provide all options available and request that they do some research. I'll then assist with any queries they may have. At the end of the day, I want clients to take accountability for the software solution they would like to implement. The fact that QuickBooks Tax imports data from a range of accounting platforms, means that I don't have to push my clients towards a solution that only suits my business. This helps me stay client centric.

Take the stress out of managing your firm

Any other benefits that you found when using QuickBooks Tax? 

Tish Bhagwandeen: The accounting and taxation landscape can be very technical, as accountants we have the ability to manage this with relative ease. However, as with managing any business there is always a fair bit of admin work and this can tend to fall to the wayside.

For me, it comes down to simple things that can save me time and make my admin load easier, such as electronic signatures and automatic reminders. Once I finalise a tax return or BAS return, it gets sent out electronically to clients. Clients then have the ability to sign it either on their mobile phone or their laptop, and that comes back to me electronically.

If they haven't signed after a certain number of days - I have it set for five days - there are built-in automatic reminders. This means I don’t have to think about sending manual reminders. There is also an extensive audit trail that is maintained within QuickBooks Tax that keeps track of when you sent out the return, when it was signed, when it was lodged, for example. So, if you ever need to go back and look at the timeframe of a tax return, it's all electronically stored in one place.

QuickBooks Tax definitely hits all the marks for me from an audit perspective. Not only can you save your working papers within the software, but it also has a built in tools which enables you to create depreciation schedules for example. This is a massive time saver, especially when you're using different methods of depreciation for accounting versus tax. Instead of processing the depreciation adjustments manually, I can create the working paper in QuickBooks Tax and the software will automatically process the adjustment when I am drafting the tax return. 

What functionality of QuickBooks Online do you find most useful?

Tish Bhagwandeen: I’d say the Prep for Taxes function within QuickBooks Online usually saves me at least an hour on a tax return. One of the bottlenecks when drafting tax returns is obtaining access to supporting documents such as bank statements and reconciliations. Prep for Taxes gives me the ability to save supporting workpapers directly in the file, meaning you never have to send an email requesting documents such as bank statements. This feature alone creates huge efficiencies especially if you have an external bookkeeper or other people working on the job with you. 

Apart from providing direct access to the workpapers, I also have the ability to leave notes on the file. I can add notes on specific balances. This is a great way to keep communication centralised and it means that I am sending one less email, hence reducing email traffic. By minimising potential follow-ups, I am able to get at least an hour back in my day.

How has Prep for Taxes allowed better communication between accountants and bookkeepers?

Tish Bhagwandeen: Prep for Taxes enables you to maintain a full audit history of your tax review. In the event that my client gets audited, all supporting documentation is saved and referenced on file. This is where the single source of truth comes into play. A client can have their bookkeeper adding their working papers and any other relevant notes they may have to the file. So, when the accountant comes in to review, they can just pick up where the bookkeeper left off. There is no duplication of effort. 

I think one of the failings that we sometimes have as accountants is when we post adjusting journal entries and fail to communicate this to the bookkeeper or we simply feel pressured for time and don't keep appropriate records in files. In Prep for Taxes, when you process an adjusting journal at year end, the software is automatically collating this into a report that is accessible for both the bookkeeper and accountant. In this way, Prep for Taxes offers more transparency between the bookkeeper and the accountant. There should be no mystery as to how we derived a particular balance. There should always be working papers and an audit trail to substantiate how we got there and Prep for Taxes does just that.

How has the QuickBooks platform provided you with a competitive advantage?

If there is a software solution that can provide me with the flexibility in how I meet my clients needs, then it's automatically giving me a competitive advantage. 

Within the Prep for Taxes function, the Grouping and Statements feature is another time saver. I would previously export financial accounts based on trial balances. But the Groupings and Statements feature actually lets you take it one step further by mapping your balances to meet your financial statement requirements, which you can then export into Excel. It makes it an easier read when you're doing your financial statements.

If another firm was looking to use QuickBooks Tax, what would you tell them?

I would say it's definitely a move in the right direction for all the reasons that we've just spoken about, but also because of the unparalleled support that the QuickBooks team provides me and my clients. 

There are instances when you need queries resolved within your timeframe and don't have the luxury of waiting for an email response. When you have a service provider who can recognise that and provides that support in your timeframe, I think that's a winner. 

My overall experience using the QuickBooks platform has been extremely positive. If someone is looking at setting up their practice, and they're not sure what software providers to use, my recommendation is always to consider QuickBooks as a solution, especially if you are in the early phases of setting up your practice. Being a new business owner can be really daunting. With QuickBooks I feel that there's a whole team behind you that goes beyond just providing software – it’s like having a business partner who is vested in your success. This reassurance is extremely comforting and it just makes life so much easier. 

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