“We now have much more accurate information at our disposal that we can use to advise our clients. This creates added value on both sides: Our clients benefit from professional financial services and we lay the foundation for long-term partnerships.”
– Mag. Friedrich Lehner, partner & tax consultant Aschauer & Rachbauer
Not every tax consulting firm has to undergo a revolutionary shock to remain competitive. Friedrich Lehner, partner at Aschauer & Rachbauer Steuerberatungsgesellschaft in Leonding, is a realist: According to him, digital change is a path of small steps. Thanks to continuous, incremental process innovations, WTAR has become a digital tax consulting firm. Lehner has always focused on optimizing existing systems. This is also demonstrated by the most recent step towards modernization: With the help of Finmatics’ artificial intelligence, document processing was digitalized and partially automated using RZL as an accounting software. This does not only save time but also costs and improves the quality of results enormously.
Every tax consultancy in the German-speaking world is currently faced with the same two questions: First, how to handle the Corona bridging aids? And secondly, how to digitalize and automate tax consulting services to such an extent that
- the work processes can continue without personal contact and
- at the same time resources are saved for time-consuming consulting activities?
Friedrich Lehner tells us that this is no different at WTAR. As a partner at the tax consulting firm with 24 employees and an annual turnover of over two million euros, he uses these special times to implement further digitalization measures. Determined but not rash – just as he has been driving the digital transformation in his firm since 2014. Already back then, the Upper Austrian tax consulting company recognized the potential of digital technologies. One of the first measures was the electronic processing of bank data and account statements, recalls Lehner. In accounting, WTAR has been working with the RZL software for many years now. This is an important cornerstone for digital document processing – and also a good basis for long-term client satisfaction. “We wouldn’t have many of our clients today if we hadn’t continually developed our processes,” says Lehner. “If you are based in Vienna and your tax consultancy sits in Leonding, you don’t want to go through the trouble of driving around with folders of documents.” So, instead of delivering the famous shoe box to the tax consulting firm, WTAR clients comfortably upload their receipts via the RZL client portal, from where they can be processed directly.
That way the document transmission had been digitalized with the help of RZL some years ago already. The account assignment, too, had been done directly in the accounting software. However, the 9-strong accounting team still had to put a considerable amount of time and effort into the entry of document data as well as into accounting preparation. With a document volume of up to 500 outgoing invoices per client and week, the manual processing effort is enormous. Although the automatization by using templates in RZL brought some relief, it still left room for optimization. Today, WTAR exploits this potential with Finmatics Connect. The module links RZL’s document processing with Abacus’ AI-based document data analysis. Thereby, digital documents can be processed in a few, largely automated steps:
- Digital document transmission
Clients upload their invoices as usual via the RZL Client Portal or the RZL Board.
- Automatic access through Finmatics
Finmatics can directly access the uploaded documents and automatically starts processing them.
- Readout via Deep Learning
Thanks to powerful technology based on artificial intelligence (Deep Learning), the invoice characteristics are read automatically. There is no need to manually type in document data. Duplicates are also immediately recognized by the software – double capturing of documents can thereby be avoided.
- AI-based pre-assignment
The artificial intelligence suggests the G/L account, personal account and tax account for posting. In order to be able to do so, the AI learns from the posting history in the RZL financial accounting. The data history is automatically used for new document postings. With each entry and each document, the self-learning AI continues to develop. At WTAR, only five months after introducing Finmatics the hit rate for posting suggestions is already significantly higher compared to using templates as account assignment aids.
- Seamless connection to RZL
The data and invoices are automatically forwarded to RZL document processing.
“The outsourced finance department”
This is what Friedrich Lehner likes to call his tax consulting firm. As such, the range of services offered by WTAR goes far beyond the preparation of tax returns. Depending on what is required, the entire process can be covered, from collecting invoices, payment transactions and accounting to reporting and dunning. In order to be able to offer this rich set of services, it needs two things: Firstly, a reliable data basis and secondly, time resources. Both could be created to a greater extent by introducing Finmatics. The software does not only support WTAR in its mission of being a financial services all-rounder, but also helps to improve data quality. “We now have much more accurate information at our disposal that we can use to advise our clients. This creates added value on both sides: Our clients benefit from professional financial services and we lay the foundation for long-term partnerships,” Lehner explains.
Small change with a big impact
Considering the extensive effects that working with Finmatics has brought about, one might think that there is a long implementation process behind it. In fact, there were only a few days between the offer and the integration using Rest-API. After Friedrich Lehner had familiarized himself with the software with the help of a test client, he trained his team with step-by-step instructions. Even though some people were reluctant at the beginning, everybody ended up appreciating the significant reduction in workload. Currently, the documents of about 20 of the 900 clients are processed with the help of Finmatics. These are mainly large companies with many repetitive financial transactions. More will follow successively.
The example of WTAR shows: In many tax consultancies, the foundation for AI-based solutions has already been laid by using accounting programs like RZL. Seamless connections to innovative software products such as Finmatics help to open up new efficiency potentials with the existing IT landscape. The better the instruments are coordinated and the more processes can be automated, the more resources can be saved. We are delighted to be part of WTAR’s digital landscape with Finmatics! Thank you for the great collaboration!