2006 Review of Website Tools for Accountants
Drake Software (www.drakesoftware.com),
maker of one of the most popular professional tax preparation systems, offers
all of its users free websites through the company’s www.1040.com
portal, which offers general tax information for public visitors. Websites
created by tax and accounting professionals are hosted for free as subdomains
of the website, so a firm would likely have the web address www.1040.com/FirmName.
Firms that already own their own domain name can also utilize the free website
The actual tools to create a website are accessed online through the Drake
support center, which provides a template page that essentially shows that page
as it will appear online, but also includes little tags that read “Click
to Edit” for many of the components of the webpage. In addition to being
able to add a personalized company logo along with up to three other images,
the system provides customizable vertical and horizontal navigation menus. Nearly
100 stock business images and logos are included and can be used on the site.
Designed for accounting and tax firms, the websites created through the system
include general tax information such as filing requirements, standard and itemized
deductions, exemptions, as well as a tax calendar, tax estimator, federal and
state tax forms, and a list of filing addresses, as well as a list of related
links that include the IRS, the AICPA, SSA and several other organizations.
All of this information is automatically updated by Drake at no cost. Websites
can also offer a return status checker for clients or other website visitors
who have filed online, and the system enables firms to gain revenue by providing
do-it-yourself online tax preparation to website visitors who use an online
version of Drake’s software. There is no review or other involvement on
the part of the firm, but the firm sets the pricing and splits revenue with
Drake with 80 percent going to the firm. The website building program also comes
with one free e-mail address (YourName@1040.com).
The Drake Tax system’s website builder provides a good basic system
for helping firms get an online presence, with professional templates that help
keep websites looking sharp. The system is very easy to use and automatically
includes many features that should be useful to visitors of the websites, whether
clients or not. The system is free to all current users of Drake’s professional