In mid-July, just as this article went to press, Intuit released a new component
to its Lacerte Tax application, the Lacerte Trial Balance Utility.
Lacerte Trial Balance Utility is a focused application that has been designed
primarily to efficiently group and adjust a client’s general ledger account
information so it can be used in a Lacerte tax return, supporting 1065, 1120,
1120S, 990, 1041, and Schedule C returns. Lacerte Trial Balance Utility has
minimal financial statement and reporting capabilities.
Lacerte Trial Balance Utility imports data from QuickBooks and EasyAcct, as
well as from Excel spreadsheets. The import capability has good features for
ignoring “junk” lines that should not be imported and can deal with
an Excel spreadsheet that has multiple worksheets. One interesting feature is
the product’s SmartMap feature. SmartMap was initially part of the integration
between QuickBooks and EasyAcct and Lacerte but has now been expanded to the
Lacerte Trial Balance Utility (Intuit received one of The CPA Technology
Advisor’s 2007 Tax & Accounting Technology Innovation Awards
for SmartMap (http://www.cpatechnologyadvisor.com/article/article.jsp?siteSection=1&id=1611).
SmartMap assigns accounts to tax lines by matching account description, account
type and business entity type. Additionally, SmartMap “learns” as
new tax line assignments are made. It is a system-wide database that applies
“learned” assignments to all subsequent tax clients. Lacerte Trial
Balance Utility also features a very easy-to-use process for assigning general
ledger accounts to tax lines and features a very “visual” approach
with drag-and-drop capabilities.
Lacerte Trial Balance Utility has some very basic internal report writing
capabilities. For preparing financial statements, there is a feature for exporting
information to Excel. To promote a paperless work environment, the product exports
information to the Lacerte DMS document storage system.