Benefits of Intuit Tax Online for Tax Professionals
It stresses me to recall life as I knew it before Intuit® Tax Online. It’s like remembering life before email, personal computers and my most prized possession – my iPhone.
As a solo CPA and QuickBooks ProAdvisor®, I have a few staff members who help me provide bookkeeping, tax and part-time CFO services to small businesses. Although I’m based in Nashville, I have clients located across the country.
Before Intuit Tax Online, I was like any other CPA or tax preparer. I worked extremely long hours and was bombarded with a lot of hardware and software issues. Equipment costs seemed to be spiraling upward while profit margins descended like an airplane preparing to make an emergency landing. As a result, I dreaded each time I had to tell my clients there would be another price increase for tax services.
Things like that are very difficult for me because I really believe in offering great service and affordable prices. That’s always one of my top goals when dealing with clients. Anything less is not acceptable!
In 2010, I began to focus on how to change my business. Every task and process was analyzed. Here was my old “recipe” for tax season:
- Order tax software (costing thousands of dollars)
- Hope that we prepare enough returns to where the cost per return is reasonable
- Install the dreaded software on all of our PCs
- Install software updates on all of our machines
- Call a computer technician (if necessary)
- Prepare tax returns
- Install software updates
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the April 15 tax deadline
While it doesn’t sound like a terrible process, it really was. First, we were chained to the office. Working from home or elsewhere was not a real option. On occasion, we would have to consult with computer technicians regarding software updates, firewall issues, hardware failure and other problems, but unfortunately, these guys were never available to help on our timeframe – at 11 p.m. or on Saturdays when we were having computer issues. During those times, it reminded me why I majored in accounting instead of computer science.
Regardless, the entire routine made me realize we needed to change … I just didn’t know what that change would be.
In December 2010, I saw an advertisement for Intuit Tax Online, formerly Intuit ProLine Tax Online Edition. My initial thought was, “What do I have to lose?”
From the very first time we began using Intuit Tax Online, I can honestly say it brought many positive changes to a typical tax season. When I think of tax season now – just two years later – I think of all of the wonderful advantages of using it.
Here is what I consider to be my shortlist of benefits:
Easy to Use – There is less training time for staff members. This helps tremendously during a typical, fast-paced tax season.
Flexibility & Mobility – Intuit Tax Online allows me to work outside my office. If I want to work from home, I can. If a client wants me to come to her place of business to prepare taxes, I say yes. If I want to take a partially working vacation to Phoenix to visit family, I do it. If I need to travel to the latest QuickBooks® conference, it is not an issue.
Cost Effective – Intuit Tax Online has a SaaS (software as a service) pricing model, so you control how much you are spending to file returns. For example, if a tax preparer expects to prepare 100 tax returns during tax season, he has the option to purchase only what he plans to use.
Convenient – Intuit Tax Online is cloud-based, so there is no software to install or update on a constant basis. If one of our computers crashes, it’s not a big deal. We can replace the laptop or PC without experiencing a lot of down time. Having information technology staff on the payroll is not a must.
Mobile – There is also an iPhone app called Intuit Tax Online Accountant. The feature I like about the mobile app the most is that it allows me to quickly review tax return e-File status for my clients.
Because of my company’s size, mobility and flexibility are huge selling points that offer me a competitive advantage. Intuit Tax Online has become integral to my business model for that very reason.
The cost savings associated with Intuit Tax Online is a definite plus. With significantly reduced overhead, I can pass along these savings to my clients through reduced tax preparation fees.
Convenience is a priority for most clients, and Intuit Tax Online gives new meaning to the term “virtual CPA.” As a tax preparation professional, Intuit Tax Online gives me the option and flexibility to meet with clients and prepare returns at their place of business, at my office or during a phone meeting. As a result, clients are happier and far less stressed.
At this point in my career, I’m extremely excited that I have finally achieved a great balance of work and personal life responsibilities. Intuit Tax Online has provided significant inroads in this area, enabling me to receive a call, quickly access my clients’ information and consult on an accounting issues no matter my location — out-of-town conference, international vacation or across-town errand.
Intuit Tax Online is my tax software of choice because it allows me the flexibility to work anywhere, at any time. Most important, we have happy clients during tax time.