From the April 2009 Review of Professional Tax Compliance Systems & Tax Specialty Products
The fully web-based Orange Door Tax Suite Pro was introduced three tax seasons ago, and since then has evolved into an advanced professional compliance system that supports all major taxable entity types. The system, best suited to mid-sized and smaller individual tax-focused firms, includes good workflow and collaboration functions, integrated e-file capabilities and built-in paperless management. And since it is web-based, it requires no installation or program updates.
Several bundled versions of Orange Door are available, including an unlimited use, all-entity version priced at $2,500. An unlimited use individual compliance version costs $1,750. Orange Door can be used as a per-return system for $20 per federal return and one state. E-filing is always included with pricing.
General Operations/Ease-of-Use – 4 Stars
Orange Door’s primary interface opens through the user’s web browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox) and, as such, a user can access the secure tax compliance system from anywhere they have an Internet connection. The work screen starts with the client selection list, which offers about a dozen sortable columns, including client name, return and e-file status, due amount and time spent on a return. Options for sorting by entity type or for searching are also available. Just as with disc-based programs, Orange Door retains all client and firm settings from previous years, and users of previous years of the program always have access to the data and can export it to Excel if needed.
The system also provides icons for accessing primary system functions, including a built-in IM-style chat feature that lets other users from the same tax firm communicate quickly with each other. Main system management consoles are available for firm profile, e-file summary, client messaging and RSS-based tax news, which automatically updates tax-oriented content from web-based news sources.
Within a client return, Orange Door is organized into a multi-tabbed interview entry format, with an expandable forms menu on the left side of the screen that allows users to drilldown to worksheets or forms by number, category or state. Below this menu, a tax summary is also displayed, along with notes.
The main area of a return initially shows the status of the client return, along with all forms and worksheets currently associated with the client. Data is automatically calculated and moved to appropriate form fields as necessary, and can be overridden by authorized users. Overrides are highlighted in a different color to denote this.
The system also offers a forms-based view from which users can drilldown to source worksheets or data-entry functions. Electronic and printable client data organizers are included with the system.
Workflow & Productivity Tools – 4.5 Stars
As the most affordable web-based professional compliance program on the market, Orange Door offers the inherent benefits of reduced IT headaches and remote, anywhere access for its users. The system’s developers also continue to add new features that are geared toward streamlining workflow processes, and in addition to built-in billing management tools, also offers client letters and electronic communications functions.
Users can scan in and attach source documents directly to client returns, aiding in paperless management functions, while review tools allow checkmarks and notes to be added to any form line. Other collaboration features include the chat system, return sharing and checkout.
Several customization options are available, including a user-specific to-do list. Orange Door includes smart data-entry features such as fill-in of city and state after entry of ZIP code. The system tracks all changes to returns, effectively providing a field-by-field audit trail. Security options enable limiting users to specific client returns.
Back at the start screen, the management center consoles make it easy to move between client tasks, firm settings, client messaging and the e-file center, which provides a quick status view of all e-filed clients.
Client messaging functions provide portal functionality, with the ability to share files and documents both ways. Orange Door users can offer bank loan products to 1040 clients, and also have the option of deducting preparation fees directly from a client’s refund.
Integration/Import & Export – 3.5 Stars
Orange Door can import and export from/to Microsoft Excel, while PDFs of any form or document can be quickly generated. The system’s portal functionality and built-in client communications provide good sharing functions, while the chat feature is a useful in-firm review and collaboration tool. The program includes automatically updated links to recent tax news, but does not offer integration with a tax research program.
Support/Training & Help System – 4.5 Stars
As a web-based system, no installation or program updates are needed, which can be a notable benefit. Orange Door also offers multiple Help functions throughout the program, including line-by-line instructions and guidance, plus links to the IRS and all state taxing authorities. Built-in chat functions make it easy to contact 24/7 customer support, which is also available by phone and is included in system pricing. An online support center also offers additional assistance, including access to user forums, FAQs and a knowledgebase.
Relative Value – 4 Stars
Orange Door offers a competent professional compliance package that offers support for all major taxable entities, but with a workflow design and features that make it more ideal for professionals servicing primarily individual filers. The system offers great review, collaboration and client communication tools, along with pricing structures that make it amenable to most practices.
2009 OVERALL RATING: