Enterprise Search in the Corona Lockdown for More Efficient Tax Advice

Tax consulting and auditing is research- and information-intensive work that depends on barrier-free and friction-free access to documents and documents in the company. “For example, when it comes to various consultations, the preparation of expert opinions, annual financial statements, tax returns or audits, documents from areas such as accounting, contracts, time and work records or correspondence should be easily accessible,” says Christoph Wendl, CEO and developer of searchIT, an enterprise search product from Austria. “This is where the Corona lockdown becomes a challenge. This is because layoffs, short-time work, home office and closed business premises make it more cumbersome to obtain information – many documents, for example, only exist in printed form at the site. All in all, more working time is needed and mistakes can creep in.” In the following, we will therefore shed light on the potential of enterprise search systems (i.e. internal search engines) to remedy this situation and show what should be considered when buying them.

by | Jul 13, 2020 | Corona

Paradox: Lack and surplus of information in Corona times

Especially in times of Covid-19, there is a striking paradox for tax advisors and auditors: On the one hand, required documents and knowledge are often more difficult to access due to dismissals, short-time work, home office and business site closures. Examples are documents (postal letters, contracts, invoices, etc.) that are only available at the site in printed form. Relevant data and content can also be distributed across many data sources in the company, such as e-mails, network hard drives, databases, clouds, online sources such as intranets, wikis, websites, and many more.

On the other hand, if there is access, individual documents can often be difficult to find or complex facts (e.g. for the preparation of expert opinions or various examinations) can only be understood with a corresponding additional effort. Due to the recent increase in terminations or layoffs of employees, tax advisors and auditors often lose their contacts in the company for more in-depth questions or do not receive all relevant information in Corona times. All in all, there is additional work and a higher degree of susceptibility to errors. In terms of legal responsibility and professional ethics, this results in more difficult conditions for the industry.

The Corona contractions under control with Enterprise Search

Enterprise search, i.e. the use of an internal company search engine, can provide a remedy here. A modern content search across all data sources in the company (e.g. e-mails, databases, clouds, network hard drives, online sources, and much more), which quickly and clearly shows all relevant documents and information, saves working time and increases completeness (also legally relevant). A number of manufacturers offer enterprise search solutions with additional functions that can be used especially in the current situation and for the industry. The most important examples are:

  • Integrated OCR systems to automatically search scans and images of texts (such as postal invoices, customer correspondence, contracts, or government letters),
  • Excerpt modules, for searching, structuring and intelligent cross-linking of registers such as land registers, company registers, etc.,
  • File access, for searching and structuring invoices, personnel files, contracts, working time records, and much more,
  • Document clustering, for categorizing documents according to topics and areas,
  • GDPR modules, for legally compliant assessments, reports and deletions of personal data;


Buying tips for tax advisors and auditors

Before buying a search engine, tax advisors or auditors should definitely consider the following tips for several reasons, such as functionality, cost-effectiveness and (legal) security:

  • Define functions, scope of services and requirements: Factors such as the number of users, implementation variants (e.g. in the cloud or as an appliance), or service packages and additional functions have a major impact on price, usability and future-proofing. It is important to avoid undersizing (cheap, but difficult to use) or oversizing (too expensive) of the system.
  • Think through system integration: Many search engine providers are flexible in their implementation. The search engine can run on servers, in the cloud, or as an appliance directly in the office, for example. Aspects such as data security, speed, system stability and running costs should be weighed against each other in order to come to an informed decision. Good providers should advise and support their customers in depth.
  • Compare prices and consider additional costs: In the relatively young enterprise search market, comparable products have very different prices, which can quickly add up to a difference of several tens of thousands of euros. When choosing the optimal pricing model, factors such as renting at a relatively low cost or buying directly at a higher price as well as included services (e.g. ongoing support, guaranteed updates, etc.) must be considered. Depending on the provider, there are also additional costs for implementation in the company or for any extensions.
  • Security, future-proofing & scalability: Security should have the highest priority, after all, it is about absolutely critical systems (access to many data sources in the company). Appropriate protection is therefore a must. In addition, it had to be easily and cost-effectively scalable to future-proof companies and keep pace with their growth.
  • Test, test and test again: Ideally, tests are carried out in advance, depending on the possibilities. After all, many advantages and disadvantages of an enterprise search solution only really come to light in practical use.




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