“Technology is making it possible for smaller accounting firms to make sure their clients don’t get in trouble over payment of sales and use taxes. How have most firms handled this in the past?” was the speaker’s question. “They didn’t,” was the answer from attendees at MD Biz, Maryland Business & Accounting Expo, who were probably more interested in continuing education credits than the speaker’s comments (mine).

This could change. Internet packages such as Avalara, SpeedTax and CCH’s CorpSales Tax Online make tracking the changes enacted by thousands of jurisdictions much easier.

Granted, most applications are still geared to the corporate tax user. But there’s no reason why smaller public tax and accounting firms can’t get more involved in keeping clients grateful by keeping them out of trouble. It’s something of a “pay-me-now-or-pay-them-later” approach.

But that’s really one of the main functions accountants play to begin win.

In fact, SpeedTax, which thought most CPAs would be interested in its Manager Core product, is finding more interest in its Manager Pro online application, which enables them to make sure clients are in compliance and to file taxes. Some, of course, would rather not do the filing.

However, with any of the products mentioned here, there seems to be a great opportunity to provide the same kind of review that most firms already provide in 1040, 1065 and 1120/1120S returns.

Everyone agrees that as sales and use tax receipts drop, and as consumers shift spending from other goods to pay for fuel, governmental units are going to ramp up tax audits.

And why not keep clients out of trouble?

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access