From the January 2013 issue.
Technology has changed rather dramatically since we started the Readers Choice Awards seven years ago, and certainly since this publication was initially started in 1991. Perhaps not as dramatic as the invention of the printing press, but when it comes to workflow processes and always-available access to personal and client data, there has been a significant transition.
In 2006, the first year of the Awards, there was no iPhone. iPad or tablet? Not a chance. The word smartphone wasn’t in our vocabulary. Most software was designed to be installed on a firm’s file server or desktop computers. For tax and accounting professionals, paperless was the “next big thing.”
Fast forward, and it seems like everybody has a smartphone or tablet or both, in addition to their laptop or ultrabook. Almost every software program is being designed in a version for the web, or only for the web. Online collaboration is the norm. Paperless is now only a component of the broader picture of firm workflow and automation.
Those are but a few of the changes that have affected the profession, and they’ve all been chronicled in our yearly survey, where we give readers the chance to tell everybody else which technologies, services and companies they love and trust. Whether programs that help them provide service to clients, or tools for running back office functions in their firm. The Awards voting is not scientific, but just a snapshot of a product or vendor’s popularity.
Technology and vendors succeed in these awards by helping firms and small businesses in real-work situations, helping professionals be more productive, efficient and profitable. With 2013 about to get underway, and the 2012 tax season a few weeks after that, now’s a good time to do a more measured assessment of your own practice and technologies by taking the free Productivity Survey (www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com/productivity). It helps measure a firm’s workflow practices and use of technology, provides benchmarks to see how you do against your peers based on firm size and location, and also offers suggestions for improvement.
Thank you to the more than 2,000 tax and accounting professionals voted in this year’s Awards. And thank you to the readers of CPA Practice Advisor and NSA Practice Advisor. Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday season and an increasingly productive and profitable new year.
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Federal/State Income Tax Compliance
Insight: Drake Software has led this category every year that we’ve had the Readers Choice Awards. Although their all-inclusive professional tax system holds about 10% of the overall market, it has a loyal base of users who often commend the company’s service, the program’s ease-of-use and its everything-included package. Thomson Reuters received the second highest number of votes this year, followed by Intuit ProSeries, CCH ProSystem fx Tax and Intuit Lacerte. Rounding out the top vote recipients were CCH Small Firm Services ATX and TaxWise, and the TaxWorks program.
Specialty Systems & Tax Prep Tools
Insight: Sometimes professionals want a utility or program that’s designed for a specific tax-related issue that either can’t be handled by their tax system, or that can be better managed with a specialty program. This year’s winner, SurePrep, is used in conjunction with many tax systems to provide tax document and workflow automation. Number two on the list, Beyond415 is designed for managing IRS notices.
- SurePrep 1040SCAN – 48.5%
- New River Innovation Beyond 415 – 24%
- Bloomberg BNA 709 and 706 Preparer – 16%
- DynaTax – 8.5%
- Others: 4%