Choosing a tax software can feel like comparing apples to oranges, so it’s important for firms to identify their goals and develop a list of priorities to compare against. Some firms need a simple, high-efficiency tax preparation solution, while others may be looking for a full end-to-end digital tax workflow. While some firms will focus on completing more returns more quickly, others will look for ways to improve the client experience. By evaluating these seven areas at the start of the process, firms can move forward with confidence.
Many of the biggest time savers in a digital tax workflow are related to minimizing data entry. While checklists can help ensure preparers don’t overlook anything, real efficiency comes from automating the process and creating direct connections between the tax return and the source of the data.
Comprehensiveness and accuracy
An accountant’s work is based on trust, so this is an area firms cannot afford to overlook. When faced with a choice between a more limited software and one with more forms and automatic calculations, firms should consider their future needs as well as the short term. When looking for the best price, quality is non-negotiable.
Workflow features may have been a nice-to-have feature in the past, but they are a must when capacity is stretched thin. Innovation is an important factor in tax software, especially when staffing challenges are increasing and client expectations are evolving. A software that offers new features and regular enhancements will keep firms ahead of the pack.
As client needs become more sophisticated, a firm’s software should enable firms to handle complex situations and entities. Otherwise, firms are left with too much manual work on high-complexity returns, or they are forced to turn away highly profitable clients.
The cloud might not be right for everyone, but more and more software solutions are available only in the cloud. Look for a system that is flexible, with hybrid-cloud functionality and the ability to integrate with other solutions, either in a solution suite or via APIs.
Online support options are convenient and can save a lot of time during busy season. Comprehensive help information should be easy to search and include videos when appropriate. Most importantly, firms should not have to pay extra for support.
Software pricing can be hard to pin down, with configuration options and bundled modules that firms may or may not need. Ask about package pricing to keep costs under control and avoid surprises.