The COVID-19 pandemic has affected business practices, including key areas like sales, staffing, and tax compliance. This effect could last for a few years, and the practice of social distancing could mean that staying apart and working remotely will now become the new norm. Several companies already plan to make work-from-home a practice until the end of this year, perhaps longer.
Accounting and tax compliance are functions that can be performed remotely, provided you have the right software in place. Cloud-based software is of vital importance in the present scenario, to maintain business continuity, as well as tax compliance. For a CA, transitioning your business to a cloud-based platform will help manage client filings, without the need for physical data, and without missing out on any of the due dates.
1. Challenges That Affected the Traditional Practices of Accounting and Return-filing
There are several challenges faced by businesses and CAs who use the traditional route of accounting and return-filing, some of them being-
- Clients need to submit their data physically, and CAs can only file their returns once this data is handed over to them.
- There is a need for the installation of software into computers and laptops in a physical office, and the constant upgrading of the software needs to be done, either by installing or downloading the same from the internet, each time.
- The availability of working space, cost of rent, good internet connectivity and the energy resources required to run a physical office, are key constraints in a traditional system.
- There is no flexibility in working remotely.
- Each software installed serves a separate function. You cannot file your returns using accounting tools, or vice versa.
- There are no compliance-checking tools built into most software, and manual checks need to be carried out.
2. Why Should Businesses Adopt a Cloud-based Software?
- Remote working, that is any time, anywhere access is one of the biggest advantages of using cloud-based software.
- Companies and CAs can have huge savings on IT costs each year.
- Software updates are dynamic and automatic and eliminate the need to manually update a software each time and on each employee’s system.
- Data storage is no longer a hassle, and data can be accessed without needing to pay for hard drives and other digital storage devices.
- Data is secure. Client data security is, in fact, key for cloud-based platforms.
- The benefit of having everything in one place, from accounting to filing to reporting, at the click of a button, makes financial processes easier and faster for any organisation.
3. How Does ClearTax Solve All Your Business Needs in One Place?
Multi-user login access facilitates easy collaboration
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, social distancing is advised, and employees cannot sit together and work, as was being done in the past. ClearTax gives clients multi-user login access for our cloud-based software, where several tax consultants can remotely access the software at a given time. Despite the multi-user access, confidentiality of data can still be maintained due to our access-control feature. The admin can give a view or edit access for any of the accounts, returns and reports) to the concerned user.
For example, in the case of multiple branches of a company, only the concerned person associated with that branch will be given access to the data related to his branch.
Team members can work remotely, and connect from their virtual office
One of the biggest challenges of employees not working together in a physical office is teamwork and team management. Our cloud software helps solve these issues, where employees can work remotely and at the same time through our software, thus creating a virtual workspace. Here, team members can access data, file returns, share reports, and meet all the due dates and deadlines efficiently.
Digital tracking feature helps know the status of GST returns filed
Businesses who have never worked online through a cloud may wonder how to keep track of the several returns filed. Especially CAs with hundreds of clients who need to file several returns for each of these clients every month. ClearTax provides its users with a digital tracking feature, which helps the user know the status of all returns filed, such as the GSTR-1 filed report, GSTR-3B filed report, etc. All a user has to do is login and visit the reports page to get the return-filing status. You can ensure 100% compliance this way, and never miss out on filing any returns for you and your clients.
Unique Health-check tool to compare GST returns, and claim an input tax credit
The input tax credit can be claimed by a taxpayer, only based on invoices uploaded by the suppliers. For this reason, taxpayers must compare data with the GSTR-2A return, before filing their GST returns.
ClearTax has a unique and dynamic reporting tool called the ‘Health-check Tool’ which helps compare GST returns filed, with minimal effort. Reports such as GSTR-3B vs GSTR-1, GSTR-3B vs GSTR-2A are comparison reports which will help taxpayers check for data mismatches, such as unclaimed input tax credit. The best feature yet is the automatic email sent to the suppliers requesting necessary information, with just a click of a button.
In addition, users can also compare the GSTR-9 return with the books of accounts, before filing, to check for any mismatches and errors.
Easy export of data and shareability amongst clients and stakeholders
With clients sitting in their own home and offices, getting access to data may be a bit of a worry. Likewise, the management and stakeholders of an organisation would prefer to have their accounting team give them constant updates on their tax returns being filed. ClearTax ensures smooth shareability of data to stakeholders and clients.
Access to digital reports on our software, which can also be easily exported to Excel, makes data shareability a quick and easy process. It is way faster than needing to download, print and share manual reports to your clients. Besides reports, even challans relating to tax payments made can be instantly shared with the concerned persons.
Seamless data integration from over 100s of ERPs
In the present scenario, most businesses are worried about running their physical offices, as well as going to their CAs each month to submit their data. With social distancing being the need of the hour, coordination between CAs and clients has never gotten easier.
All the client has to do is submit their data in a digital format. This can be from any ERP system that the client runs. ClearTax integrates its software with over 100 different ERPs. Data is then, seamlessly ingested into our cloud software, validations take place, and returns are filed, all with the click of a button.
Lower in cost, more efficient in accessibility
Cost is an issue for businesses at this point of time, with the number of COVID-19 cases rising and the impending economic slowdown, due to it. This is why ClearTax has various packages for clients to choose from, depending on the number of businesses for which returns are being filed.
It is cheaper than having a physical software installed/downloaded on each of your employees’ computer systems and laptops in your office. Frequent updates are done, and upgrades are free of cost. It is far easier to access as you can even access our software on your mobile phones and tablets too if you are out of the office.
All-in-one software for tax filings
Having multiple different software for filing various returns of your business, or your clients, can be a complicated affair. ClearTax has an all-in-one platform where GST returns, TDS returns and income tax returns, can now all be filed under one roof. Yes, you heard that right. With this all-in-one facility, you can continue normal business practices through any situation, remain compliant, and avoid tax notices and demands.
4. Why is ClearTax the Best?
ClearTax helps clients continue with their business practices while minimising costs and remaining compliant at the same time. The three important features of the ClearTax software are-
Cloud – Facilitates remote access and usage
Secure – Client data security is our priority
Compliant – Never miss a deadline again
While business operations have been impacted around the world, ClearTax helps companies and CAs to continue to function normally, thereby minimizing the effects of COVID-19 on their business.
You can listen here to our expert Chartered Accountants tell us about overcoming the challenges of COVID-19, and why moving to cloud-based software is the need of the hour.