First, it offers a scan and organize system that allows users to scan in client tax documents, upload them to the secure Intuit servers, and then receive an organized and bookmarked PDF workpaper and an Excel file with stock trade details for cost-basis purposes. PDFs are organized into common data-entry order. Client data can then be imported and reviewed, greatly reducing manual data entry. The scan-based system can recognize Forms W-2, 1099, 1098, K-1 and many brokerage statements. The other significant and unique feature of the Tax Import system is the ability to directly interface with dozens of the largest U.S. financial institutions to import 1099-B, 1099-INT and 1099-DIV data, including cost basis, with all data securely transmitted and encrypted.
ProSeries also offers direct email and fax capabilities, along with customizable client letters and other communication templates. A “missing information checklist” feature lets preparers note items that a client still needs to provide and generate a single client reminder email or letter with that information included. Client communication and notes can be digitally attached to returns. The system can support any number of users and includes security settings that allow staff members to be assigned roles that limit their ability to access program features and client data. Roles include administrator, power user, tax preparer and data entry. Custom roles can also be created, allowing firms to more specifically determine the functions to which users have access.
The ProSeries Document Management System is available as an add-on, providing an organized paperless storage system that simplifies management of client returns and other documents and output them to PDF format. ProSeries DMS lacks built-in tools for adding tick marks or special annotations, or a method for electronically cross referencing or linking the PDF and the return. The DMS software includes email and fax capabilities, advanced search functions, the ability to track client notes, tasks and events, as well as the ability to save and launch Microsoft Office and other programs from within the DMS.
Although it offers optional services such as direct download of data from financial institutions, scan and organize features, and integration and import with accounting programs, ProSeries does not have client portals for collaboration and sharing of tax documents and final returns. The system can be directly linked to client QuickBooks data files, with live data being pushed into the return, and the program remembering tax form line assignments and mapping from year to year. Client data can also be imported from Quicken and most spreadsheet-based financial applications. An encrypted, email-based electronic client organizer offers an additional method for obtaining and importing data. Conversion of prior year client data is free and available for users of most professional tax compliance systems. 4.5
The program automatically moves data between associated forms and worksheets as necessary and offers a K-1 import tool for easily retrieving data from business returns associated with individual returns. A trial balance import utility provides guidance in pulling trial balance data from third-party applications. While the Lacerte system offers a tax planning add-on, ProSeries offers tax planning worksheets as part of the 1040 system, with support for planning up to four years ahead. A fixed asset management utility is available, providing tracking of assets and calculation of depreciation, including separate values for book and tax, various MACRS methods, client property tax returns, and multiple asset life events, including splits, disposals, exchanges and transfers. The ProSeries fixed asset module will also synchronize data with the Fixed Asset Manager in QuickBooks Premier Accountant Edition. And as previously noted, the program also offers a document management system.
For tax research, Intuit has partnered with BNA to offer the ProLine Tax Research system, which is integrated into the tax program and offers Google-like search functionality that lets users access more than 1.5 million articles, sections, charts, rulings and other documents, including all federal code, regulations and publications that provide guidance and expert analysis. Research can be attached to returns as notes. The research system can be used on a pay-per-use basis or can be subscribed to on an annual basis for unlimited use.