SYNERGY Conference Previews Technology, Business Models

A future with dramatically less paper, more collaboration, and ubiquitous mobile connectivity was the key vision outlined by Jon Baron, managing director, Professional, Tax & Accounting, Thomson Reuters, during his conference-opening keynote address at the 2012 SYNERGY Users' Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

Speaking to an audience of over 1,100 attendees, Baron stressed the increased digitalization of the profession and how it's fundamentally reshaping the tax and accounting work environment and making traditional practice norms - such as managing and producing volumes of paper documents and reports - largely irrelevant.
Much of Baron's address focused on the sweeping changes brought about by the rapid adoption of mobile technology and its unprecedented speed of adoption among both businesses and consumers. Baron said these changes are creating a new reality that is disrupting business as usual, yet creating new opportunities for firm leaders who are willing to reinvent their practices, both internally and externally.
"Digitalization is no longer an option for the tax and accounting profession. It's a necessity," Baron said. "This is a ground-up, consumer-driven shift, and it's happening faster than anything we've ever seen previously. Consumers' adoption of technology devices, their expectation of instantaneous connectivity and information, and their dramatic departure from the use of paper are fundamentally changing the client service dynamic. Every firm needs to look closely at its methods for providing documents and information to clients and ask whether they're relevant in the new environment."
Baron outlined how the new environment puts technology at the core of tax and accounting workflow, with data available anytime, anywhere across a growing myriad of mobile devices. The CS Professional Suite from Thomson Reuters is poised to help progressive firms seize opportunities created by the new environment with a variety of new and updated technology offerings. Baron shared some of the new product development areas as part of his keynote.
The NetClient CS® mobile app is a new, first-of-its-kind mobile app, that's an extension of NetClient CS portals. It offers accounting firm clients on-the-go access to services and content, while allowing the firm to retain control over which services are available.
Branded with the firm's name and logo, the NetClient CS mobile app offers clients access to tax returns, financial statements, and other documents as well as online accounting and payroll services, payroll data, and more. It also includes a built-in task center that enables the accounting firm to alert clients of important to-do items. The NetClient CS mobile app makes it even easier for firms to connect with their clients and do business anytime, anywhere. NetClient CS is available as a free download for users of Apple and Android mobile devices.
The NetClient CS mobile app is one of four mobile apps available to CS Professional Suite users. Other mobile apps in use by CS Professional Suite users include:
  • Mobile CS®, which enables firm staff to access a variety of Practice CS® capabilities in real time in a mobile-friendly format.
  • myPay Solutions®, a mobile payroll app for the employees of clients who use myPay Solutions payroll processing services. The myPay Solutions mobile app enables employees to perform a variety of the most common payroll activities in real time from Apple and Android mobile devices.
  • ARNE, which provides on-the-go access to ARNE, the Thomson Reuters online community exclusively for tax and accounting professionals.
In addition to the mobile developments, Baron announced a variety of enhancements to its core software offerings that will help firms work more efficiently across the increasing variety of PCs and mobile devices. The new enhancements include:
  • The most extensive update of Thomson Reuters NetClient CS portal technology since its introduction. The centerpiece of the enhancements is a new flat navigation structure that will enable clients to find documents more easily with fewer clicks.
  • Enhancements to Workpapers CS, the new workpaper management solution designed to support completely digital workpaper management and collaboration for tax engagements. New enhancements to the software include a PDF annotation tool that allows users to import PDF images from mobile devices or other sources and add tick marks, stamps, text, new trial balance tie-in features, and more.
  • Accounting CS enhancements, including accounts receivable functionality, transaction spreadsheet import capabilities, integration with ToolBox CS® and TimeValue Software's TValue, and Batch Payroll data entry customization.
"Just last year we were talking about how mobile would enhance tax and accounting workflow," Baron said. "Now it's shaping many aspects of firm workflow and changing how accounting firms communicate with and serve clients. It's going to create new opportunities, new efficiencies, and new ways to add value for firms that are poised to take advantage. Thomson Reuters is committed to mobile and Cloud technologies and to providing our customers with the tools they need to thrive. The old saying "business as usual" has no relevance in today's continuously evolving business environment. Being progressive and agile is the only sustainable strategy for success."
The longest running professional conference of its kind, this year's SYNERGY Users' Conference follows more than three decades of growth since the event began in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1981. Over the years, the annual conference has evolved into one of the profession's premiere venues for sharing insights, exchanging ideas, and gaining hands-on experience with the latest technology in the tax and accounting profession.
The conference also offers roundtable discussions and keynote presentations by profession leaders and motivation experts. This year's roster of keynote speakers includes Baron; Gale Crosley, CPA and recognized consultant and thought leader to the profession; and Connie Podesta, motivational speaker, author, media personality, and comedienne.
For more information on the SYNERGY Users' Conference and about Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting applications, visit
Source: November 8, 2012, Thomson Reuters Press Release

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