Web-based platforms, sleek questionnaires, and AI aren’t novel; in most industries, they’re the norm. So, why are these 21st tools only being introduced to tax firms now? Here’s a brief overview of what the tax software landscape has looked like and where it might be headed.
For decades, a few tax softwares have ruled the roost – Lacerte, Drake, ProSeries, UltraTax, and ATX. These are expensive, Windows-based softwares that reside mainly on company desktops – precluding the possibility of remote work for accountants. (Yup, many accountants have been required to be in-office even these past 2 years.)
While some of these companies offer web-based correlates, most firms continue to use the Windows-based versions to avoid much higher price tags. Further, these softwares are extremely difficult to integrate with, cementing them as stubborn software isles that firms must work around.
To circumvent the low-tech nature of these softwares, firms have poured money and time into hiring specialized admin teams and IT specialists. Admin teams take on all the grunt work that accountants are too busy to do – file organization, data entry, and client communication to name a few. Meanwhile, firms hire IT to built complex security networks to protect client data on their office computers. These additional contractors function as an expensive band-aid to the tax industry’s outdated software problem.
Innovation hasn’t been completely absent from the accounting world, though. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and AI were introduced in the early 2000s to minimize the burden of data entry by automating input. While these tech aids have been around for a while, adoption has been slow and scattered. Many companies have cropped up that specialize in this tech but they costly and time-intensive, since most want to train at least 1 firm employee on how to run their proprietary automation software.
We’re proud to say that no company offers the comprehensive admin support and automation that we do. We’ve done our homework and developed a host of tools that firms need. We’ve developed admin tools that create custom questionnaires, auto-remind clients of upcoming deadlines, and keep information organized. We’ve streamlined client-accountant communication and developed a bot which automates data entry without having to train a single team member.