Corporate Tax Software Solution

Improving Tax Efficiency Through Automation

Michael Mncube, Tax Product Manager at CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT, elaborates on corporate tax challenges and how automation can improve efficiency.

The Income Tax Act requires all businesses liable to taxation to register with SARS as taxpayers. This comes with income tax return submissions which must be done 12 months after the tax year-end. In addition to annual income tax returns, every company is required to submit provisional tax returns.

The Challenges For Corporate Tax

Timelines

Timelines are unquestionably important in the whole process of tax return submissions. All tax practitioners concur that taxes and timelines go hand in hand: missing such deadlines incurs additional penalties coupled with interest. All of these add up to additional costs added to clients’ bills. Time definitely costs money in the tax world.

Given that legislation allows for companies to select their own year-end dates, there is a high probability that a single tax practitioner will have a portfolio of clients with different year-end dates. For a single tax client, the tax practitioner needs to be cognisant of four dates: the first; second; and possibly, the third provisional tax, as well as the annual income tax return due dates. Imagine having a large portfolio of tax clients and all with different tax year-ends – now that is a nightmare guaranteed to keep a tax practitioner awake at night.

Provisional Taxes

Provisional tax is not a separate tax from income tax but a method of paying the income tax liability in advance, to ensure that taxpayers do not have huge tax debts on assessment. This is done through the submission of an IRP6 Provisional Tax Return. Provisional tax allows the tax liability to be spread over the relevant year of assessment. Taxpayers are required to pay at least two amounts, based on estimated taxable income, in advance during the year of assessment. A third payment is optional after the end of the tax year but before the issuing of the assessment by SARS. On assessment, the provisional payments will be offset against the liability for normal tax for the applicable year of assessment. Issues normally arise when estimating taxable income, as when this is incorrectly done it might result in penalties being imposed by SARS.

Corporate Income Taxes

Corporate income tax is a tax imposed on companies resident in the Republic of South Africa (i.e. incorporated under the laws of, or effectively managed in, South Africa and that derive income from within or outside the Republic). Non-resident companies that operate through a branch or that have a permanent establishment in South Africa are subject to tax on all income from a source within the Republic. Payment of such taxes is through the submission of an ITR14 income tax return. This return comes with its challenges.

If gross income as disclosed on the first page of the ITR14 tax return does not agree with the aggregate total revenue and total other income as disclosed in the income statement section, the ITR14 will not print or cannot be submitted.

Getting the right number in the right box of the ITR14 tax return is a challenge and consumes a bit of time. Take gross income for instance, which comes from three different fields in the Statement of Comprehensive Income (Income Statement) namely adding Revenue to Investment and Other Income.

For the Asset section of the ITR14 tax return, splitting the non-current assets section is also a hassle. The numbers are not disclosed on the same page of the Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet): this must be unpacked from both the face of the balance sheet and the property, plant, and equipment note.

These processes are daunting and time-consuming. Getting this wrong poses, a risk for tax practitioners as there might be reviews or audits imposed by SARS, meaning further time investment and costs to the taxpayers.

Penalties And Interests

Earlier this year SARS announced the implementation of administrative penalties on companies that do not comply with the requirement of submitting their tax returns. The penalties range from R250 to R16 000 per month that non-compliance continues, depending on a company’s assessed loss or taxable income.

With the possibility of penalties, there is now a more stringent requirement to stick to tax return submission deadlines in order to avoid such penalties and interest.

The Corporate Tax Software Solution

CaseWare Africa offers the optimal corporate tax software solution. Automating your business practices will save you both time and money. Your administrative time will be reduced. Automation can avoid costly mistakes and disputes with SARS by ‘getting it right the first time’.

With automation, tax practitioners will position themselves as strategic advisers. They will move into advisory roles and away from the traditional administrative role. One of the ways technology can create efficiencies is when tax practitioners make use of automated systems to submit their income tax returns.

Automated tax software solutions, such as CloudTax offered by Adapt IT – CaseWare Africa, can automate the income tax submission process. This process is usually done manually by tax practitioners and takes a lot of time.

CloudTax is an automated cloud software that allows tax practitioners to store historical tax returns in the cloud, synchronise SARS correspondences and letters, track the work done by multiple professionals on a company’s returns, and create provisional tax returns 60 days before a deadline imposed by the tax authority.

Keeping a manual diary of deadlines is a thing of the past: CloudTax notifies you of all tax deadlines (income tax and provisional tax) 60 days before due dates and keeps track of such until returns are submitted through a single dashboard.

The aim with CloudTax is to save tax practitioners time and ultimately money, over and above minimising errors if not actually eliminating them completely.

CloudTax comes with an ITR14 tax return solution, the Corporate Tax Product which has automated integration with SARS synching. Populating the ITR14 has never been this easy. Using the solution puts the right number in the right box. The ITR14 is pre-populated through automated integration with CaseWare Working Papers. CloudTax also incorporates flexible integration with Xero, QuickBooks, and Excel. Through automation, completing the ITR14 has been reduced to only seven simple steps.

Contact CaseWare Africa to set up a free demo.

The Remote Tax Practice: Make It Happen With CaseWare CloudTax

CaseWare CloudTax helps tax practitioners solve many of today’s challenges and lays the foundation for the tax practice of the future.

In the age of lockdowns and working from home, both practitioners and their clients find themselves having to run their businesses remotely. Many tax practices experienced revenue losses when the initial lockdowns were introduced. Others have been victims of cyber-attacks and ransomware. At the same time, SARS also increased auto-assessments to grow collection revenues, which has introduced additional challenges for practitioners to ensure assessments contain appropriate information.

One thing has become clear: there is a burning need for tax practitioners to effectively manage data and client information, to find better ways of assisting their clients from any location, whilst continuing to ensure that their clients’ tax affairs remain in order.

Covid-19 has certainly reemphasized the urgency for tax practices to future proof their firms. There’s no doubt that smart tax practices have already seen the writing on the wall and are looking to transition to cloud-based solutions. Research shows that this is where future-fit accountants still have considerable room to grow, with less than 20% of accountants using tax-preparation software, whilst the rest are still managing their practices using manual processes.

But moving to tax-preparation software is only the beginning. Whilst preparing the tax return is the final deliverable, it must be recognised that it is the result of a process that starts much earlier.

In fact, most taxpayers spend between 75% to 90% of their time gathering information and documents. As anyone who has done it knows, it’s daunting to collaborate with clients via the phone or e-mail, and response times can often be very long. Another major issue is the use of spreadsheets to calculate and check numbers – an approach that introduces errors and that is time-consuming. It also means that the information is all over the place, wherever people are working on it—instead of in one central location where everybody can access it.

In addition, when information is dispersed, version control becomes a continuing and difficult issue to manage. And, of course, there is the time-consuming and inefficient process of submitting each tax return manually.

 Tax Practitioners Can Enjoy A Better Way

Tax practitioners who transition to cloud-based solutions can quickly overcome previous challenges and take advantage of significant benefits. For one thing, moving to a cloud-based solution means that the firm is always assured of using the latest technology—without the upfront capital costs of acquiring a licence every time a product is upgraded or needs to roll out upgrades to every user.

The Benefits Of Moving Your Tax Practice To The Cloud

  • Better cost model. Costs are predictable and easy to manage, and practitioners do not need to invest in server and security infrastructure. This introduces considerable savings.
  • Better security. Data is stored safely and securely on multiple remote servers, without needing any resources or costs from the practitioner to maintain. The firm’s data, and that of its clients, is much more secure—no small thing given the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) and its stringent penalties.
  • Accessibility. Tax practices and their teams can work from anywhere at any time, and all they need is a browser and access to the internet. This means that firms can save costs on VPN connections and do not need to coordinate software update installations with their IT teams.
  • Centralised storage. Clients don’t have to struggle with managing multiple copies of the same information in different places. In addition, the cloud offers unlimited storage space and comes with useful features like automatic backup, so practitioners don’t have to worry about losing or redoing any work.
  • Enhanced productivity. Greater security is complemented by greater availability. Centrally located data is accessible to all who need it, from wherever they are. Tax professionals can service their clients from wherever they happen to be, and do not need to be in their offices to do so. Another big advantage is that any number of tax professionals can work on the same documents simultaneously.

 Why Tax Practices Need CaseWare CloudTax

Adopting CaseWare CloudTax is a great starting point for the move to the cloud because it has been specifically designed with the needs of the tax practitioner in mind. CaseWare CloudTax enables tax professionals to access all the benefits of the cloud while minimising the risks. Some of the main benefits are:

  • Easy collaboration with clients. Practitioners can make use of built-in queries and customisable questionnaires and send those to clients directly from within the app. Clients then respond easily by logging into their personal portal, answering the questions, and uploading any necessary documents—even via smartphone. The system notifies the tax professional when new information is provided.
  • Deadline management. CloudTax keeps track of important deadlines and users can easily monitor provisional and annual return progress and status for all their entities.
  • SARS integration. CloudTax integrates directly with SARS eFiling, which means practitioners can process all taxpayer details, correspondence, and tax return submissions automatically in bulk.
  • SARS compliance. Tax return forms and calculation frameworks are frequently kept up to date to ensure that they are compliant with all relevant tax legislation, greatly simplifying the tax return process.
  • Seamless data integration. Trial balance information can easily and automatically be imported from CaseWare Working Papers, Xero, QuickBooks and Excel to pre-populate tax returns.
  • Optimisation. Checklists, questionnaires, and schedules are built-in that intelligently expand or collapse according to the complexity of the return.
  • Prepare, calculate, and submit tax returns directly to SARS eFiling. CloudTax supports Provisional (IRP6), Individual (ITR12), Corporate (ITR14), and Trust (ITR12T) tax returns with built-in calculations aligned to SARS.
  • With CloudTax, tax practitioners are now more empowered than ever with a holistic cloud-based tax return solution, that can be used seamlessly for all provisional and annual returns for Corporates, Individuals, and Trusts. The tax practice of the future will be cloud-based. With CaseWare CloudTax, tax practitioners can take a very meaningful step towards setting up their firms for future success.

CaseWare CloudTax is a financial software solution that can turn your tax business into a remote tax practice overnight. Read more about this tax solution and contact us if you have any questions.

 

Five Keys Area To Test When Building An Audit Plan

Auditors today are working in an exceptionally complex and ever-evolving industry. In an environment where there is pressure to add more value with fewer people and less time, auditors are challenged to discover more risks, audit more areas, more frequently, and uncover fraud for their clients.

Yesterday – Ineffective Audit Planning Methods

Many audits today are conducted at planned intervals rather than based on thoughtful consideration of evidence that points to patterns or areas of risk. Instead, auditors select a given area and assess risk areas based on consultation with the organisation. Depending on responses, an audit will either be performed annually or every two to three years for internal controls if it’s deemed to be less risky. Unfortunately, this method can facilitate overlooking risk areas and permit fraud or other issues to go undetected.

Today – Effective Methods For Building An Audit Plan

To help improve the effectiveness of audits and clearly demonstrate their value, auditors can deliver more value for their clients by firstly optimising audit planning. Secondly, empowering teams with systems and tools that focus subject matter expertise on the audit, as opposed to spending unnecessary time in extracting information from systems and preparing data within spreadsheets.

Thirdly, it is important to pinpoint findings that will save the company money and improve business operations. A more systematic approach to audit planning offers a variety of advantages, including:
• Breaking risks down into individual factors and then being able to align them across the audit landscape
• Individually scoring risks for each financial statement area.
• Calculating an overall score but also ensuring that specific levels of risk are clearly reflected on financial statements.
• Evaluating relative risk levels in order to establish the audit scope.

The Data Analytics Approach to Audit Planning

It’s well known amongst auditors that data analytics helps to simplify and improve audits, eliminate manual tasks, reduce costs, detect potential fraud, errors, and abuse – and most importantly these valuable insights are attained earlier in the process. However, many auditors are missing the opportunity to leverage data analysis software to help prepare a rounded and well-thought out audit plan. Using data analytics during the audit planning phase helps to focus audits, allocate resources effectively, optimise audit expertise resources, save time, and identify significant information about the business.

Audit Planning – Get It Right With Data Analysis

Running data analytics tests during the audit planning phase, helps to provide a better understanding of what is happening and highlights the areas of greatest risk. Moreover, it shows where control breakdowns are occurring, and the state of risk management in the company. Utilising insights provided by data analysis in this phase of the audit process helps shift or refine the focus of the audit early on. Also, if used in the planning process it can provide auditors with a comprehensive understanding of the scope of the business and can help to identify specific questions that need to be put to the company to adjust the focus of the audit – as and where required. Moreover, data
analytics helps to automate a significant number of manual tasks and save considerable time and costs. What can often take days to complete can be executed within minutes when the audit commences.

What Is The Best Approach To Build An Audit Plan?

Firstly, complete a risk assessment – but where to start? Trying to analyse each area can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Instead, the best option is to start with a few key areas at a time and the ones that reveal the most problems are the ones that should be audited first. Testing can then be expanded from there.

The Five Key Areas To Test

Data analytics applied to the following five key areas will reveal potential risk – an audit plan can be built based on the information revealed from scrutinising the following:

1. Accounts Payable
2. Accounts Receivable
3. General Ledger
4. Payroll
5. Stock and Inventory

Why Use CaseWare IDEA®

Advanced data analysis tools help auditors strategically plan their audits and lead to better, more effective, audits. CaseWare IDEA® has been the trusted industry leader for audit analytics for over 25 years. CaseWare IDEA® has a strong presence in over 130 countries, is used by more than 250,000 users globally, and is trusted by audit firms of all sizes.

The Value Proposition CaseWare IDEA® Brings To Audit Capabilities

  • Increases audit scope by allowing users to import all their records, including spreadsheets, and exported data from databases, accounting programs such as Pastel, for example, other ERP systems plus travel and entertainment applications in formats such as PDFs, plain text (.txt), print-report (.prn), open database connectivity (ODBC) and SAP.
  • Automates the sampling processes by eliminating the need to export data into spreadsheets and preparing manual sample sets.
  • Analyses 100 percent of the data across a multitude of datasets.
  • Streamlines testing procedures with built-in workflows.
  • Protects the integrity of the data by locking source data files so that they are read-only.
  • Creates an auditable trail so analysis can be documented, shared, and repeated.
  • Creates repeatable tests to reduce time spent on routine tests. CaseWare IDEA® also offers more than 100 audit-relevant tasks and a variety of advanced features to help auditors better plan and execute their audits.
  • The following is a sample of these features:
    • Universal file conversion capabilities make it fast and easy to import all records.
    • Advanced audit functions with just a click, including Gap Detection, Benford’s Law, advanced fuzzy duplicate, summarisation, stratification, sampling, and more.
    • Data visualization with the ability to either auto-populate or custom-build dashboards with charts and field statistics into which auditors can drill down.
    • Audit automation through languages like Python or IDEAScript.

Brief Bio:
Christiaan Steyn, Assurance Product Manager, CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT. Christiaan is an Associate General Accountant (SA), with extensive technical knowledge and a passion for technology. He completed his articles at a medium-sized auditing firm where he gained experience in various industries. He was later appointed Template Developer and then moved to the role of Product Manager at CQS Holdings – which was subsequently acquired by Adapt IT and renamed to CaseWare Africa.

The Future of Financial Reporting in the Public Sector

Proposed amendments to Kenya’s Public Finance Management (PFM) Act, giving Chief Financial Officers only one month to submit their Annual Financial Statements to the Auditor General after the end of the financial year, are sending shockwaves through the public sector accounting community in Kenya, reports international auditing and financial reporting software company, CaseWare Africa. 

CPA Rexon Wachira, a public sector consultant at CaseWare Africa’s Nairobi office, says the process of compiling and reviewing these entities’ Annual Financial Statements typically takes public sector financial professionals three months or longer, challenged by the fact that in the fourth quarter in a year, reports must be submitted in the same period as well. “There is grave concern that it may not be possible to produce Annual Financial Statements so quickly,” he says. 

Stephan van der Merwe (CA) SA, Specialist in Public Sector Solutions at CaseWare Africa, notes that audit opinion is typically used to measure the entity’s performance. “The better your audit opinion is, the better the assessment of your entity’s performance, which is another reason why these Annual Financial Statements can take a long time to prepare; every entity wants to be very thorough to ensure they get a good audit opinion. Now with the proposed tighter deadlines, this could pose a huge risk for entities, and therefore, introducing efficiency into the process is now more important than ever before,” he says. 

While the amendment is still in the pipeline, CaseWare Africa says now is the time for public sector entities to review their processes and do away with time-consuming and error-prone manual systems to ensure that their reporting is more efficient, accurate and compliant. 

CaseWare’s IPSAS and IFRS Financial Statement solutions enable public sector finance professionals to automate the preparation of compliant financial statements on either International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), whichever is required. This includes flexible lead sheets and a centralised document manager to organise all working paper collateral. Both these solutions simplify collaboration, consolidation and assure preparers of compliance with international standards. 

Mr. van der Merwe notes: “In the East African public sector, several entities have successfully implemented either CaseWare Africa’s IPSAS or IFRS Financial Statements solutions for process efficiency, data integrity and compliance. In the past, the focus among Kenya’s public sector customers was mainly on harnessing CaseWare Africa to reduce manual processing, but we now see a sharp surge in interest in using our solutions to achieve compliance in terms of both international standards and reporting deadlines.” 

CaseWare Africa launches Trust Tax

CaseWare Africa, part of the Adapt IT group, has launched a holistic, cloud-based tax return solution designed especially for trusts. Michael Mncube, Tax Product Manager at CaseWare Africa, says that the new software enables tax practitioners to handle all tax administrative matters relating to trusts in one application, including the preparation, calculation, and submission of IRP6 and ITR12T tax returns directly to SARS.

“Administering trusts is complex and the tax authorities are especially rigorous in their oversight of trusts, thus further raising the stakes for administrators. Trust Tax provides practitioners with a single application that makes it possible to keep track of all trustees and beneficiaries, as well as managing all trust administration and tax-related matters,” he says.

“In the age of remote work, practitioners are enabled with greater flexibility as Trust Tax is offered via CaseWare Cloud, which means it is available from any location, on any device, at any time.”

Trust Tax is also included with CaseWare CloudTax, a tax management platform that provides tax practitioners with an invaluable overview of their entire client base, and corporate tax teams with a unified view of all tax return-related matters for all their taxpayers. It integrates directly with SARS e-filing.

“The cloud offers many time-saving features that will help users get more done faster. Of particular importance in Trust Tax, is the ability to collaborate directly with taxpayers in the app to assemble supporting documentation, as well as maintaining a single copy of all taxpayer records to preserve data integrity,” he says. Other important features include the ability to manage and monitor deadlines, and a full suite of checklists, questionnaires, and schedules that intelligently expand or collapse according to the complexity of the return. Trust Tax also automatically links to the latest SARS forms and calculation frameworks, so all returns are automatically compliant.

“Trust Tax will greatly help to optimise efficiency for tax practitioners in a complex area of tax administration. Like all CaseWare products, it is designed to help practitioners use their time more effectively while enhancing the service they deliver to clients. What we are especially excited about is that with the introduction of Trust Tax, practitioners can now, when combined with both Corporate Tax and Individual Tax, manage all their provisional and annual tax returns for all their clients on a single cloud platform.” Mr Mncube concludes.

CaseWare Africa launches CaseWare IDEA

CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT, has released details of its latest product addition, CaseWare IDEA® Data Analysis – a comprehensive powerful data analytics tool that guarantees data integrity, accelerates the performance of data analytics, and enables faster, more effective external audits.

“Auditing teams spend a significant amount of time selecting samples and analysing client’s data for audit engagements”, says Christiaan Steyn, Assurance Product Manager, CaseWare Africa. “It is now more important than ever for auditors to look at all of the data in the audit, rather than just a sample. This is because of the explosion of the amount of data available to auditors, together with the fact that risk-based auditing is now the expected standard for external audits, as well as the focus on the analysis and management of risk that’s applied within the risk-based auditing approach.”

Steyn says that although auditors cannot be expected to identify 100 percent of fraud in all cases, they have an obligation to find material misstatements that would change the audit opinion. “It does not matter whether it is due to an error or fraud – if it is a material misstatement, auditors need to identify it. With IDEA®, auditing teams can increase their data coverage, by investigating a large number of items and potentially covering 100% of the transactions” explains Steyn.

“IDEA® enables teams to save an enormous amount of time using built-in risk-based sample models that allow for systematic, random and monetary unit techniques, and prioritise areas of elevated risk” notes Steyn. “Not only can teams easily sample within minutes but can also take advantage of over 100 audit functions for a robust analysis, including ageing, duplication detection and Benford’s Law.”

IDEA® allows audit teams to import information seamlessly and easily from almost any data source, in almost any format. “Once data is imported, IDEA® protects source data integrity by only providing teams with read-only access” adds Steyn. “With a built-in workflow, teams are empowered with a full suite of analytical tests for financial audits, that drive additional efficiency and again saves a great deal of time” Steyn further explains that IDEA® allows auditors to display data in different ways, and to generate analyses that would otherwise not be available. “IDEA® can also be helpful in identifying unusual or strange items, testing the validity of items by cross-checking them against other information, or validating calculations.”

Additional features include the ability to visually pinpoint patterns, trends and outliers based on the outcomes of tests to focus audit efforts. “IDEA® provides a built-in audit trail that easily enables repeatable analysis which can be used as audit evidence”. Steyn notes that IDEA® also provides users with the ability to implement bespoke advanced analytics in the analysis process with Python scripting support.

Steyn confirms that while new auditing tools and emerging technologies hold the key to evolving the audit, strategic risks around their adoption remain, and must be acknowledged, to ensure the industry continues to develop systems that generate value for firms and their clients. The quality of data, auditor’s knowledge of databases, and experience will contribute to the success of the processes that IDEA® enables.
“Not only will the amount of the Internet of Things and real-time generated data dramatically expand, but so will the amount of data that will be created and managed by enterprises,” says Steyn. “It is estimated that by 2025, nearly 60% of the 175 zettabytes (~175 billion Terabytes) of existing data will be created and managed by enterprises versus consumers.”

Steyn encourages auditors to empower their teams with analytical tools like IDEA®. “Given the volume of transactions, quantity of data and the rate at which both are growing, it is imperative for auditors to embrace analytical tools”. He notes that in his experience, the best way for firms to build adoption is by starting small.  “Identify a few audit engagements and commit the partner and the team to start and, especially, to complete the audit enabled by IDEA®”.  By building up a collection of successful audit engagements powered by analytics in IDEA®, teams build expertise, confidence, and skill. “The audit of the future will undoubtedly not be possible without data-driven analytical tools”. Audit firms that drive adoption first, will be best-placed to meet the needs of the rapidly changing audit landscape,” Steyn concludes.

The Benefits Of CloudSec Secretarial Software

If you need assistance managing your CIPC statutory compliance needs, CloudSec secretarial software is the solution for your business.  CloudSec manages and builds structure around all your secretarial tasks while taking care of all your CIPC statutory compliance processes in one place.
CloudSec uses our CaseWare Cloud Platform to manage and take care of all the processes that surround secretarial work. It connects you, the client, and CIPC. You will also earn more from secretarial work by building up efficiencies at every point in every process.

Experience The Benefits Of Secretarial Software That Works For You

Work faster than ever before as CloudSec automates functions that by nature have high activity volumes and are admin intensive. Do this while building structure and automation around all the processes to ensure that you are always compliant. Never worry about behind-the-scenes admin as CloudSec uses the powerful CaseWare Cloudfile management functionality to archive, maintain, and automatically back up all your secretarial documentation. The power of the Cloud allows you to access the most up-to-date information and documentation from anywhere at any time. Over and above always having one version of the truth, the application is built for better collaboration with you and your clients when preparing, submitting, and maintaining secretarial documentation.
How has this changed the way you work today? You are better able to track daily tasks, assign activities and view this in one timeline. Work closely with your client on a secure portal by sharing documentation and project updates.
You’ll never miss a step with the predefined workflow which guides you step by step to a completed CIPC bundle. The capability to track daily tasks, work closely with your clients and manage the Cloud documentation allows you to work much faster than before.
Find out more about CloudSec secretarial software and how it can transform your CIPC secretarial statutory compliance requirements.

How Connected Data Benefits Financial Accountants

Connected data in accounting software vastly benefits modern accounting teams. But what is connected data, anyway? It is simpler than it sounds, and we use it every day.

CloudData

Connected data in software applications allows users to reuse data across other different software applications, which is extremely beneficial for accountants who perform a wide variety of functions.

Accountants who use CaseWare’s suite of products, for example, can reuse single-sourced data in many of CaseWare’s other products.

Connected data allows all enterprise data to be connected to and accessible from a centralized source. This can be a software suite of two or more applications where data can be easily exchanged between platforms, a well-known example of which is Microsoft Office 365. Often, programs in the suite feature a similar graphical interface and common navigation conventions, allowing users to easily use new software in the suite.

Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, well-known software applications in the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products, share a very common user interface, and data can be easily exchanged between platforms. This improves the user experience as individual users are able to do more with the software they purchased.

Enterprises with connected data often use a large number of software applications, and they have many different suites targeted to different professions and purposes. Some well-known examples of these software suites include:

  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • G Suite
  • LibreOffice

The Benefits of Connected Data

Connected Data is also important for the software company itself producing the software, and connected data is pertinent to the success of a software company for the following reasons:

Greater Opportunities for Innovation
Connectivity in software suites enables software companies to make great innovations. With complementation from other previously existing software, new software can be easily created to perform new kinds of functions. As a result, a new software in a suite, especially software for a specific industry, can easily be created.

If new software is being built, the process can be made faster if UI and programming elements can be reused rather than made from scratch.

A Better Experience for Users
A product suite that allows data to be transferred saves the time-consuming process of having to re-import data manually when using completely different software products. Instead, data can be single-sourced to allow for a seamless transition between software. For example, CaseWare imported data from Working Papers can be reused throughout CaseWare’s suite of products. For example, CaseWare data imported from Working Papers can be reused throughout CaseWare’s suite of products.

Artificial Intelligence
An important topic when discussing the impact of connected data is a software company’s ability to provide AI services. Artificial Intelligence is gaining prominence in the software industry because of the competitive advantage it provides within the industry. AI software can pull data from a variety of individual software and use that data to perform highly advanced functions that would be difficult for standard software perform.

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence is changing the software industry.CaseWare AnalyticsAI, for example, makes it easier to perform analysis in any engagement by incorporating automated testing into established workflows.

These days, you can’t have a conversation on connected data without discussing cloud-based data.

CaseWare Africa launches Cloud – Individual Tax

CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT, has released details of its latest innovation, Individual Tax. This additional app on the CloudTax platform facilitates the preparation, calculation, and submission of individual tax returns (ITR12).

Individual Tax
Individual Tax

“It is estimated that the majority of tax practitioners spend between 75% to 90% of their time gathering information and documents in preparation of tax returns”, says Michael Mncube, Tax Product Manager, CaseWare Africa .“This together with ensuring that accurate, high-quality tax returns are submitted to SARS on time, often leaves very little room to optimise the efficiency of the methodology and improve the process that the practice follows.”

Mncube says gathering tax data using hard copies, client collaboration via countless emails and phone calls, is both tedious and daunting. “This entire process results in long and delayed response times. The use of Excel spreadsheets to calculate and corroborate numbers, a multitude of disconnected datasets used by tax teams, plus the resulting errors, are all compounded when needing to submit each tax return, per taxpayer individually as well – leading to an inefficient and time consuming process,” he says.

“Individual Tax offers unsurpassed efficiencies as the collection of tax data for specific tax years is achieved via digital queries that then automatically store the information in the relevant sections of the return – saving significant time and effort” notes Mncube. Individual Tax offers a centralised data storage in a single format, a comprehensive tax calculation framework aligned to SARS, powerful overviews of tax-related balances and the ability to prepare both IRP6 and ITR12 returns in a single solution. “This new addition to our CloudTax suite offers a multitude of benefits including the presentation of a clear view of provisional and income tax returns, together with related values grouped per tax year – all a single view allowing reconciliations of submissions and assessments.”
Additional features include built-in schedules that facilitate the summary of tax data inputs and auto-calculation of totals, thus, eliminating human error. “It also caters for bulk submission of tax returns to SARS, saving additional time and further enhancing efficiency. Seamless annual updates empower practitioners with peace of mind by ensuring that the latest changes in tax legislation and compliance are incorporated,” says Mncube.

CloudTax integrates directly with SARS efiling, which automatically synchronises all taxpayer details and historical correspondence in bulk, into a one-stop centralised location for fast and easy access. Built-in dashboards ensure that deadlines are never missed and that efforts can be directed to the most urgent action items. “By managing all client contact information in one place, practitioners can collaborate directly with taxpayers from within the platform.

“Powered by CaseWare Cloud, CloudTax is always available from any location, on any device, at any time and is included when customers buy Individual Tax,” Mncube concludes.

CaseWare Africa launches ISRS Agreed-Upon engagements

CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT, has released details of its latest addition to the assurance product suite, ISRS Agreed-Upon.  This additional app on the CaseWare Cloud platform facilitates accepting, performing and reporting on findings of ISRS 4400 (Revised) Agreed-Upon procedure engagements.

“It is estimated that audit teams spend a significant portion of their time reconciling reporting of the performed procedures and the gathered findings”, says Christiaan Steyn, Assurance Product Manager, CaseWare Africa. “This together with facilitating and documenting inquiries from management, as well as obtaining accurate, high-quality feedback on questions to management, often leaves very little room to optimally focus the team’s time on performing the agreed procedures and improving the efficiency of the engagement”.

Steyn says that reconciling procedures from accepting, agreeing terms of engagement, performing and finally reporting, as well as client collaboration via countless emails and phone calls, is both tedious and daunting – leaving too much room for potential errors in the repetitive manual transfer of information between documents. “This entire process results in long and delayed engagement turnaround times and repetition in the workflow. By using Excel spreadsheets and emails to document procedures and communication with management, many engagement teams end up with a multitude of disconnected datasets. Additional potential errors are then also introduced and compounded when teams are working under pressure to complete and submit the ISRS Agreed-Upon findings report,” he says.

“ISRS Agreed-Upon provides audit teams with a streamlined workflow that guides users through the entire engagement process – including all applicable documentation like agreeing the terms, documenting the procedures and completing the agreed-upon procedures report”, notes Steyn. “The app offers numerous built-in efficiencies, as the documentation of agreed procedures are completed only once-off, and are automated further throughout the engagement by incorporating the collection of client inquiries via digital queries, that then automatically store the information in the relevant procedures – saving significant time and effort”.

ISRS Agreed-Upon offers a centralised data storage in a single format on CaseWare Cloud with integrated reporting on engagement progress. “This new addition to our Assurance Cloud suite offers a multitude of benefits including the presentation of a clear view of engagement status, client inquiry status and outstanding deliverables” Steyn adds. Built-in dashboards ensure that deadlines are never missed and that efforts can be directed to the most urgent action items. “By managing all client contact information in one place, teams can collaborate directly with clients from within ISRS Agreed-Upon.”
“Powered by CaseWare Cloud, ISRS Agreed-Upon is always available from any location, on any device, at any time” Steyn concludes.