2011 Review of Intuit —Tax Research for Lacerte and ProSeries

Intuit - Tax Research for Lacerte & ProSeries
800-200-7599

lacerte.intuit.com/products/tax-research

proseries.intuit.com/products/tax-research 

 

BEST FIT:
Tax practices currently utilizing the Lacerte or ProSeries tax solutions.

STRENGTHS:

  • Powered by Google Enterprise Search Engine helps to find the answer quickly
  • All-inclusive pricing with no additional fees for network use or multiple users
  • No separate product to load or login to
  • Strong Help and support options, including assistance from the Intuit social network tools

POTENTIAL LIMITATIONS:

  • Research limited to tax only, with little offering for accounting, auditing, payroll & sales tax
  • Little user customization options

 

From the December 2011 Review of Tax & Accounting Research Systems

Intuit Tax Research for Lacerte and ProSeries is the tax research offering from Intuit and is directly integrated into the Lacerte and ProSeries tax software solutions. Intuit is currently in the process of streamlining its tax solutions, and the tax research integration is designed to save time for users of the vendor’s tax software. With over 1.5 million documents available and a flat pricing structure, the Tax Research product may be of great value to Lacerte and ProSeries users.

BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS - 4.75 Stars
Intuit Tax Research is built directly into the Lacerte and ProSeries tax solutions. The only difference between the two offerings is the respective branding and location of the research screens. For Lacerte users, the research is located on the bottom portion of the screen, while ProSeries users see the research on the right-hand side of the screen. Functionality between the two is no different than as described below.

The research screen is divided into two separate screens, with search on the left and content on the right. The content screen is contextual and changes based on the screen and fields viewed. This functionality will prove invaluable to new staff as the research is pushed to them as they prepare returns.

Intuit Tax Research is designed as an internet-based product housed within a desktop solution. Due to this, the research offering is also offered as a web-based research solution. This allows users of other tax preparation products to still benefit from the value pricing, but without the experience of the direct integration. Intuit Tax Research may be accessed through any modern browser, including those currently offered on mobile devices, with content specifically formatted for smaller screens.

CONTENT - 4.25 Stars
Intuit has partnered with BNA to provide all content for the Intuit Tax Research lineup. The search engine design was crafted by Google search. This results in a rich set of research tools and the ability to search with plain English terms, without the user leaving the tax solution. Over 1.5 million documents are available and include content from the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, Fed and State Court Cases, publications and rulings, state code, regs, and summary for all states as well as BNA analysis.

All searches appear in a separate window divided into three parts. The left part of the screen shows an index with general category listings and the number of search terms contained within each category. The middle part of the screen shows the search results in the Google search style presentation, and the right part of the screen shows search results from the Intuit online forums.

When an article is selected, the article is viewed in an embedded window, and all search results remain intact at the bottom of the article. This removes the need to navigate back and forth between search result screens and articles.

The current content offering is limited to federal and state tax research. One included resource that may prove to be useful is the client letters feature. These letters are preformatted with various tax scenarios and explanations and are ready to send directly to clients.

Currently, only a limited amount of accounting and auditing, payroll and sales tax content is being offered. This may prove too limited for those with practice and interest areas outside of tax. Users do have the ability, however, to pose questions to other users of the Lacerte and ProSeries tax products. This may act as supplementary material for practitioners who have light accounting and payroll responsibilities.

CUSTOMIZATION - 4 Stars
Intuit Tax Research does not allow much user customization. Since the license is not user-specific, the options provided are done with an all-or-nothing approach. This creates consistency across users, but fails to consider the work methods and practice focus areas of specific users. Some customization options will be arriving over the next 12 months. Currently, when users perform searches, the search history is not saved. This functionality is set to arrive prior to the 2012 spring busy season and may be available by the time this article is published.

At this time, all newsletters are provided inside the Intuit Tax Research menu options and are not pushed to end-user emails. All newsletters are updated bi-weekly, and all content is pushed at the discretion of Intuit. An option to receive a user-specific email is in development; the planned release for this feature is set by end of January.

INTEGRATION/IMPORT/EXPORT - 4.5 Stars
Intuit Tax Research relies heavily on the tight integration within the Lacerte and ProSeries tax solutions. The research software is directly tied to each screen within each respective product and brings relevant information to the user as each screen and field is navigated. Research articles may be printed to paper, and printing to PDF leverages your computer’s PDF converter.

Users may attach a research document to a tax return, which may then be set to roll forward each year with the return for up to seven years. All documents may also be directly exported through the respective Lacerte and ProSeries document management software solutions.

HELP & SUPPORT - 5 Stars
Intuit offers a wealth of Help and support options to its customer base. Since the research is built into the Lacerte and ProSeries products, all Help and support is managed through the respective program. Typical phone, chat and email support are available during normal operating hours. Upon licensing the research software, users are provided a webinar that introduces the product, and are assigned a direct support contact person.

Self-paced training options are also available and include a variety of webinars and short click-through menus. One unique feature to Intuit Tax Research is the ability to generate feedback from fellow Lacerte and ProSeries users. If an item is not found inside the research, users have the opportunity to extend questions to other Lacerte and ProSeries users. This social network approach is exclusive to users of Intuit products. All research content is updated weekly and requires no user intervention. All Help options and product updates mentioned are included in the annual subscription license cost.

SUMMARY & PRICING
Intuit Tax Research is a perfect fit for users of Intuit’s Lacerte and ProSeries tax products. The research is directly integrated with these products and provides quick and easy access to a quality set of research tools. Also available as a standalone web-based solution, users of other tax software may also benefit from the product, but without the direct integration features. The standalone product may be accessed from any device, including mobile devices.

Intuit Tax Research is available for a flat rate of $849 for a 12-month subscription and includes access to all content, including Internal Revenue Code, Court Cases, state code and regulations, BNA analysis, and much more. The license fee is not increased for additional users or use on a network. A pay-per-use option is also available for a fee of $19.95 per use and includes all search results and access to up to four research articles.

2011 Overall Rating 4.5

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