There are a wide range of pricing plans and options within each vendor offering, and many have multiple offerings within their product lines. Because of the significant variations in how each product is priced, users shopping primarily based on the price of an offering should be very careful to understand the nuances of the pricing structure of each offering. Each vendor may also offer disclosed or undisclosed discount plans to prior tax year customers who renew early, those who make multi-year future purchase commitments, or those who purchase a large number of processing units. As with any purchase, it is important to read the fine print associated with each offering in this evolving competitive marketplace.
Finally, there is no substitute for performing your own due diligence before selecting a solution for your firm. A wide range of issues, from the hardware settings selected all the way to the types of forms processed, can have a material impact on the effectiveness of each of these tools. Some have significantly better integration with outsourcing products, and others are tightly linked to client portals. The client dashboard listings are contained in a web page for some products, requiring additional work to upload and download files from the processing service, while other solutions place completed jobs directly into the document management and tax applications. Given the wide variety of forms, the different services provided to clients and the varying needs of each client, there is simply no substitute for personally testing the solutions you are considering. Any product can work in a laboratory environment with very simple documents. Practitioners should take their hardest, most complex returns and compare the real-world results for their specific needs, using the tools you have today. We think you will be pleasantly surprised how well the category has evolved over the last five years.
If you have any comments (good, bad or ugly) about how your firm’s tax document automation efforts are working out, please drop me a line (email@example.com). I’d like to know how your firm is using these tools to become more efficient and profitable, and would like to use some of this input for future research about how the profession is adapting to the advances in technology.
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