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Software - Time to Reevaluate

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#1
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It is that time of year again where I reevaluate all software I am using--tax, encrypted e-mail, DMS/portal, even for accounting (though I still have not found anything to sway me from QB).

I switched away from Citrix Sharefile in favor of Encryo for encrypted e-mail, and SmartVault for DMS. ShareFile was just too expensive for what it provided. While it is not necessary and I can achieve many of the same functions via my existing UltraTax, I do like the direct integration SmartVault has with Lacerte/ProSeries. Already took a look at ProSeries and do not like it (literally ruled it out after 15 minutes of the trial--it feels like 20 year old software, just like Drake). Now, looking at Lacerte on the PRP equivalent basis, but have not even opened it up, yet. Honestly, nothing keeps me with UltraTax other than I know how to use it but they piss me off every year. Intuit Link certainly looks appealing, but I am definitely not sold on their tax prep products.

Next up is accounting. I feel like I need to have an offering besides QBO for cloud accounting. I do not like Xero when an accountant/CPA is involved, and I am with a number of my clients. There is a CPA here that brags about having an accounting system that has client portals where he can post key financial information and metrics (KBIs), but he will not reveal what he is using (or how). It makes me think he just has a portal and uploads PDFs of that information rather than anything that is automated. Is anyone aware of a cloud accounting platform that provides a portal where an accountant can release specific information to clients, but not allow full access? The information would have to be approved before being "published" to the Portal, though.

Goal is to try to streamline and simplify everything as much as possible on client side, and make it easier for me to ensure I have what I need. I would prefer to have organizers, engagement letters, and other basic tax information forms all completed electronically, rather than printed off and returned to me manually filled out. Seems Intuit Link would help achieve this, but do not see where it is available as a standalone product. Suggestions?
 

#2
TaxCut  
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I've been evaluating Lacerte, Proseries and Drake.

1. Lacerte - Probably the best of the 3 but it costs. It is quick and I feel comfortable with the calculations. I don't really second guess the results. I still can't get it to print to DMS though, which is frustrating. I don't know how it integrates with SmartVault. I guess drag and drop from DMS? Tried calling SmartVault but they have lousy customer service.

2. Proseries - the only thing Proseries has going for it is the diagnostics. Other than that I found bugs. Some numbers don't flow to the correct worksheets or forms. It's slow to load. Easy to get lost in the program with the scrolling and worksheets. Hard to pin point where numbers are coming from. I installed another state to do a multi-state return and now the return is blank. I dread calling their support. Long waits and most of the time they don't know how to fix. They go by trial and error which I can do myself. Just not feeling it with Proseries.

3. Drake - I thought that if tried other software I would not like Drake but I find myself navigating to Drake more and more each day. Sure it's not robust and fancy but it gets the job done. I will say this, in spite of newbies gravitating to Drake because of price, Drake is not for newbies. You better know your stuff because there is not much hand holding. It is meant for experienced preparers. It has speed and flexability. I can crank out a return in Drake as fast or sometimes faster as I can on Lacerte. Drakes weakness is state returns and business returns but if you know what you're doing it's not a big deal. It's very easy to get it to do what it's supposed to unlike Proseries.

I've prepared several of the same returns (1040's, 1120S, 1120's and 1041's) on all 3 and Drake and Lacerte seem to match up everytime with a few adjustments. Proseries is the odd ball. Usually have to go back in to do something you would expect the software to do.

As far as accounting software. Your friend maybe using AccountantsWorlds cloud based software. I had looked into it before. You can control what the client sees and does so they don't screw things up. I've used their Payroll Relief program which I liked when I had a few payroll clients but I don't that anymore.
 

#3
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TaxCut wrote:I've been evaluating Lacerte, Proseries and Drake.

1. Lacerte - Probably the best of the 3 but it costs. It is quick and I feel comfortable with the calculations. I don't really second guess the results. I still can't get it to print to DMS though, which is frustrating. I don't know how it integrates with SmartVault. I guess drag and drop from DMS? Tried calling SmartVault but they have lousy customer service.


You have to allow Smartvault to access Lacerte, and then it modifies the UI to include SmartVault as a print location. I cannot access the print function in demo version of Lacerte, but that is what the documentation shows and it did prompt me to allow Smartvault to access and modify Lacerte.

I immediately had issues with Proseries crashing, and not being intuitive. Lacerte does not seem too bad, but I still struggle with switching away from the software I have grown to know and trust even though I hate their other applications. I may wait another year to switch, but who knows. I am still figuring out Smartvault and ensuring clients know how to use it, and that each side receives appropriate notifications of uploads.

I want to duplicate my firm's return in Lacerte and see how it goes. On one hand, it is simple...on the other, it has elements that were difficult to handle in Drake and pretty simple in UT.

I'll take a look at Accountant's World--typically cannot stand their products, but I am curious to figure out what the heck this other CPA is utilizing since he is so secretive about it.
 

#4
jon  
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The usual survey for tax software in the Journal Of Accountancy (it is done every September) has some nice recaps!! I think Drake comes out as best "for the price". For overall rating Drake had 4.6 and Ultra was next at 4.4. Favorites by firm size Drake was first with one preparer 25.7% and the "Would you recommend it to someone starting a tax practice?" 98.3% of Drake respondents said yes. The next highest was ATX 87.6%.

Lots of other categories are given. Drake like the last five years has really shown well. Remember there are certain areas where it did not score as well, but small size firms it shows up as strong, it gets weaker with things like multi-state applications.
 

#5
jesella  
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For accounting, have you looked at AccountingSuite? It's cloud based like QBO, more reasonably priced (especially for partners) and does have a client view that you can release reports to and includes a dashboard. We've just signed up, so I haven't completely gotten into it yet to be able to give an opinion.

The other thing you could look at is LivePlan. It integrates with QBO and you could give your clients access to view financials/KPIs without giving them access to the actual books.
 

#6
zl28  
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I'm surprised by the assessments of ProSeries. I wouldnt' say it's as easy to use as UltraTax, but i find the accuracy excellent for individual taxes, it's very, very good for state taxes (since it's basically turbo tax in professional form - what program is more tested for states than turbo tax since they sell to the public)....I can see it has an overwhelming feel in the beginning, but after 1 year i think you'll find it intuitive, and the INTUIT LINK (proseries' portal) is a game changer....i save tremendous time with Intuit LInk - no more going thru 100 emails to get everyone's documents PLUS if your clients are uploading docs in early Jan, the program let's you get a head start on entering data. Further, there is this feature ("where do i enter") - it's just a green box in the corner of the program.....if you dont' know where to enter something, type in what you are dealing with and it'll provide links...ie type hsa and up comes the links for where you can enter the hsa data.....this is especially helpful for young staff.

Overall, i think it be hard to beat ProSeries for indiv taxes for the bang for the buck............the corporate, partnership, and trust layout is not as great, but i'm fine with it.

I tried out Drake, granted it was 2012, brutally not intuitive then and more importantly, didn't feel confident with the software. I am very confident with the ProSeries individual. Granted, Drake may have kicked up a few notches since 2012 - i don't know- but i was not satisfied with the software when i tried it out.....sometimes the most expensive thing in the world is a bargain ....................also, i think sort of tough to switch software now - transitioning will probably take a ton of time and stress...........maybe ideal time to start to transition is July/August....so in great shape by next tax season....(also consider hiring someone that has used the software to help teach you and transition you). i'm going to look into encryo and see what is offered.
 

#7
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I currently use Drake as my compliance software and would largely agree with the consensus in the recent Journal of Accountancy and Tax Adviser articles.

For the price it's hard to beat. I don't like the lack of integration with other software and the inability to import/export data. CCH Axcess excels at the latter.

I have used CCH Global fx, CCH Axcess, and Gosystems in the past. Long-term I want to be back in CCH Axcess but Drake is fine for now. Gosystems was horrible...hated every minute of using it.
 

#8
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I'm debating if I want to buy a PRP license for Lacerte and try it with NEW clients for 2019 tax filings, since I would already have lost the convenience of being able to proforma. The fees are higher, and I do not trust Intuit with fees upon renewals, but I think I could save time with its tight SmartVault integration.

Same time, I am afraid of too many simultaneous changes. I am already focusing heavily on SmartVault and converting tax forms I need to electronic format via DocuSign, and eliminate typical client organizers altogether...no one uses them, and I only care about the checklist questions, anyway. I want to work towards eliminating clients not returning all forms mandatory before I even look at their tax docs.

I want to like Drake, but every single time I try it out, it just gives me an uncomfortable feeling. Can't believe they do not even have a standard "uninstall" function.
 

#9
jon  
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CCH Access sure did not do well in the Journal's evaluation except for the % used by the largest firms - they were by far the highest %%%. I think this was the first year or close for Access and if the biggest like it and use it that is a good sign. It is also the most expensive I believe and they are not going to move off of that.
 

#10
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CornerstoneCPA wrote:I want to like Drake, but every single time I try it out, it just gives me an uncomfortable feeling.


That is a strong sign that you just need to stick with the premium-tier products (CCH Prosystems or Access, Lacerte, UltraTax, and perhaps ProSeries). I don't think anyone really recommends Gosystems for the average small preparer. As you're evaluating a lot of software, it's probably best to go into this with a plan to find the right software for the firm you expect to have in 2020, as well as the firm you expect to have in 2025. There's too much dead weight to you in constantly changing tax software.

jon wrote:CCH Access sure did not do well in the Journal's evaluation except for the % used by the largest firms - they were by far the highest %%%. I think this was the first year or close for Access and if the biggest like it and use it that is a good sign. It is also the most expensive I believe and they are not going to move off of that.


Two points to make about CCH Access:

(1) The people in firms that use it are generally going to have higher standards and expectations out of their software. It's sort of the inverse of the Drake user effect -- by and large Drake users love the software, but their needs and expectations are generally much lower.

(2) CCH Access had the major malware downtime around the 5/15 nonprofit deadline and the memories of it are probably long and bitter.
 

#11
irc162  
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I am a Drake user. In the past, I have also used Lacerte and ProSystem FX. My practice is now less than half what it was in prior years. If that were not the case, I would not be using Drake. With Drake, you need to be prepared to check every single thing on the return. And I mean everything. If you are doing trust, multi state or CA returns, that goes double. There are things on CA returns that have not been correct for years. I do fewer, more convoluted returns so I am doing that amount of checking and overriding anyway. But If I were doing more mainstream returns, it would be worth it to me to use a software package that has a greater level of accuracy.

Something else about Drake. I think they have been riding on their reputation for customer service for awhile now. It may be that things are changing. My experience with customer service this year was that they didn't always give you a truthful answer, let alone a helpful answer. It was very easy for Drake to blame everyting on the new tax act, even when the issue was something totally unrelated.

My opinion is that the folks at Drake have determined that all that matters to their users is the price. So they have made the decision to let everything else slide. Whatever their miscues (and there are more than a few this year), and however frustrationg it becomes to use the software---their users won't care as long as they don't raise the price.
 

#12
zl28  
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their obsession with price is fascinating. they are the lowest price offering quite a bit. i don't use them for the reasons you state..and actually the deficiencies you list make the software much more expensive. why wouldn't they raise the price. where else can anyone go and get all they give.
 

#13
irc162  
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zl28 wrote:their obsession with price is fascinating. they are the lowest price offering quite a bit. i don't use them for the reasons you state..and actually the deficiencies you list make the software much more expensive. why wouldn't they raise the price. where else can anyone go and get all they give.


It crossed my mind that maybe Drake is looking to sell the company----By keeping price low, they can demonstrate that they have a high number of "loyal" users and that the company is gorwing. That might be attractive to a potential buyer. Not to mention the fact that there is room for price "improvement".

Tax software is expensive to produce and its users are high maintenance. I think most of these companies look at professional tax software primarily as a way to bring in users who will buy other, more profitable products and services offerred by the company. What they call in retail a "loss leader". If the way they treat their users is any indication, offering pro tax software is probably seen as more of a necessity than a choice. In one of the years I was using Lacerte, it seemed like they were working very hard to make us all go away. Now I am getting that same feeling with Drake.
 

#14
zl28  
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I think, any maybe i'm wrong, that the workers may be some of the owners of that company.
 

#15
wel  
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missingdonut wrote:Two points to make about CCH Access:

(1) The people in firms that use it are generally going to have higher standards and expectations out of their software. It's sort of the inverse of the Drake user effect -- by and large Drake users love the software, but their needs and expectations are generally much lower.

(2) CCH Access had the major malware downtime around the 5/15 nonprofit deadline and the memories of it are probably long and bitter.


I agree. I've used Drake, Lacerte, CCH ProFx and UltraTax. In all honesty Drake is not in the same league as the others, by a long shot. Their pricing is the best feature, and to be fair Drake is surprisingly capable for its price. In reading the recent JofA article, it would be easy to draw the conclusion that the Drake, Lacerte, UltraTax, ProFx and Axcess are roughly equivalent.

Some facts to keep in mind when reading reviews / comparisons like the recent JofA article:
1. There tends to be a much larger % of less expensive software users that respond to a survey.
2. Many of the users of less expensive software haven't used anything else, at least not in 5+ years.
 

#16
makbo  
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Drake also competes against tax pros with its direct offering to taxpayers (1040.com), just like Intuit does with TurboTax.
 

#17
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makbo wrote:Drake also competes against tax pros with its direct offering to taxpayers (1040.com), just like Intuit does with TurboTax.


It's not competition. I cannot think of many CPAs or EAs that actually want clients that have previously used 1040.com, TurboTax, H&R Block, etc., unless their tax situation has become dramatically more complicated. I do not want those clients unless they now feel overwhelmed, and will gladly pay my fees to prepare their taxes.
 

#18
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irc162 wrote:It crossed my mind that maybe Drake is looking to sell the company----By keeping price low, they can demonstrate that they have a high number of "loyal" users and that the company is gorwing. That might be attractive to a potential buyer. Not to mention the fact that there is room for price "improvement".

Tax software is expensive to produce and its users are high maintenance. I think most of these companies look at professional tax software primarily as a way to bring in users who will buy other, more profitable products and services offerred by the company. What they call in retail a "loss leader". If the way they treat their users is any indication, offering pro tax software is probably seen as more of a necessity than a choice. In one of the years I was using Lacerte, it seemed like they were working very hard to make us all go away. Now I am getting that same feeling with Drake.


I disagree -- the loss leader part is only appropriate in the retail market (i.e. TurboTax doing free federal returns but walloping on e-filing or state returns, or Credit Karma offering free prep in exchange for your personal financial information). If anything, professional tax prep programs are the exact opposite of loss leaders; an extremely mature market with low growth prospects leading to a high level of corporate consolidation and few new feasible entrants to the market.

Software has high fixed costs and low variable costs, so every additional paying customer can add a lot to the bottom line. That would lead one to expect a growth mindset, but tax software for professionals doesn't really fit that mindset: as mentioned, it needs to be substantially updated every year (as opposed to just creating new emojis and updating colors and fonts) with many updates during tax season, and the size of the market is inherently limited. A company making good professional software can earn a strong, predictable amount of money, but it will never be the moonshot that so many software investors are looking for.

Drake has had a lot of growth over the last few years, and I'd expect that to be the main cause of problems in customer service. A lot of growth so quickly means a need for more customer service, and it's not like you can snap your fingers and get a competent person for our industry. Vanguard (the index/mutual fund company) has been working through the same problem, too much growth too quickly in a specialty company.

If Drake were looking to sell the company, their best bet would be to increase their price now rather than to sell on user expansion and future price improvement possibilities. Those among us who have bought out tax firms where the owner was undercharging know the frustrations of bringing the new clients up to market rates -- and companies that undercharge are worth a lower multiple than companies that don't.
 

#19
makbo  
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irc162 wrote:It crossed my mind that maybe Drake is looking to sell the company

To who? The last significant professional tax software acquisition I am aware of was when H&R Block acquired TaxWorks in 2007. (They subsequently changed the name to Red Gear, then sold the customers to Thomson-Reuters and brought the TaxWorks software in house over the next few years to replace their antiquated proprietary software knows as TPS).

In the past, Intuit acquired ChipSoft's TurboTax, and somewhere along the line they acquired Lacerte too. Probably a few other deals were made in years past as well. But in today's market, what would be the appeal of Drake? Not to mention how much Phil Drake's personal involvement in the company seems to matter to him.

https://www.owler.com/company/drakesoftware

"Drake Software generates $34.6K in revenue per employee [...] Drake Software's revenue is the ranked 9th among it's [sic] top 10 competitors."

Seems like most seasonal tax preparers generate more revenue per worker than Drake.
 

#20
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"Drake Software generates $34.6K in revenue per employee [...] Drake Software's revenue is the ranked 9th among it's [sic] top 10 competitors."

I would love to know how they come by that figure. Drake is not publicly traded so their financial statements are not public. Come to think of it neither is their payroll. I would not put much stock in what must be a made up statistic / SWAG
Because on T.A. ten was the most you were allowed
 

#21
makbo  
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Tenletters wrote:"Drake Software generates $34.6K in revenue per employee [...] Drake Software's revenue is the ranked 9th among it's [sic] top 10 competitors."
I would love to know how they come by that figure. Drake is not publicly traded so their financial statements are not public. Come to think of it neither is their payroll. I would not put much stock in what must be a made up statistic / SWAG

The quote was about revenue, not payroll. The number of employees is probably easy to figure out, especially if you drive around their parking lot from time to time. And the revenue is pretty easy to figure out, given that Drake will publicly give some idea of the number of customers they have. I don't see any support for your accusation that the statistic is "made up" -- do you really think a large company can keep even the most basic facts about itself secret in this day and age?

I doubt all the Drake workers are full-time year-round, so that number probably includes a lot of seasonal help desk staff.

Do you think there is anyone out there who would actually want to buy Drake? :lol:
 

#22
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Yes I do. At last count Drake had about 55,000 tax offices as customers which translates into at least three times the revenue that web site guestimated. The revenue amount was so obviously wrong that the revenue per employee was surely nonsense.

Thomson Rueters has bought up other companies before giving their customers 2 or 3 years of discounted pricing on UltraTax. Why would they not do that again?
Because on T.A. ten was the most you were allowed
 

#23
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Tenletters wrote:Yes I do. At last count Drake had about 55,000 tax offices as customers which translates into at least three times the revenue that web site guestimated. The revenue amount was so obviously wrong that the revenue per employee was surely nonsense.

Thomson Rueters has bought up other companies before giving their customers 2 or 3 years of discounted pricing on UltraTax. Why would they not do that again?


From the perspective of Thomson Reuters, acquiring Drake would be an incredibly low ROI move unless they were able to move Drake users to the UT platform. Honestly, I'm a current UT user and I doubt TR would be unhappy at all if I switched; my firm is definitely not the "20" in "80/20".

I'm stereotyping here, but Drake's userbase is interested in cost first and value second. That's why they use the software, after all; it's inexpensive and they get a lot for the money they spend. Drake users would be likely to rebel if TR bought them out with the goal of migrating them to UT. Just think, there are a lot of firms doing 2,000+ returns per year in Drake and they pay less for their entire, unlimited everything package than they would pay for just UltraTax's unlimited 1040-only e-file.
 

#24
makbo  
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Tenletters wrote:Yes I do. At last count Drake had about 55,000 tax offices as customers which translates into at least three times the revenue that web site guestimated. The revenue amount was so obviously wrong that the revenue per employee was surely nonsense.

Thomson Rueters has bought up other companies before giving their customers 2 or 3 years of discounted pricing on UltraTax. Why would they not do that again?

I concede the previously linked revenue number per employee at Drake may be wildly inaccurate. It looks like you have to pay someone to get better data and analysis of the industry. I already mentioned the situation with TR -- that transaction was over ten years ago.

Not only would someone not want to buy Drake for its customer list (it would be like buying a tax practice where the average fee per return is $200), but they wouldn't want the software either. And, as I mentioned, Phil Drake is particular about who he does business with:

"Phil Drake is Founder and Chairman of Drake Enterprises, a group of 18 businesses based in Western North Carolina. The Enterprise group provides jobs to more than 450 individuals, making it one of the largest employers in the area. The company strives to demonstrate that biblical principles apply to every walk of life – including business decisions. Phil is also the Chief Technical Advisor to Drake Software, the flagship company of Drake Enterprises."

https://www.ncfgiving.com/leaders/
 

#25
adamant  
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+1 for UltraTax.

We used to use a regional solution called TaxWorks, that was pretty solid for Idaho and decent on Federal. HR Block bought their calculation engine, and then ran the company into non-existence, so we switched to ProSeries.

ProSeries was OK, but buggy, not very well researched (IMO). More than once we called them with mistakes in their form entry, carryovers, and general calculations. I get that Idaho isn't their target market, but pretty sad considering how large of a company they are.

Because we're gluttons for punishment, we decided to switch to UltraTax in December several years ago. We thought it was going to be a headache, but we were very much done with ProSeries and their customer support. It ended up being a breeze. Almost everything proforma'd with ease, and honestly, it was almost as if we had used UT the previous year.

Now that our 3-year discount is up, writing the check for UT and related products is painful every year, but consensus between the 4 partners is that at the end of the day, it is worth it. I have a lot of confidence in UT's team that is in charge of compliance and updating of forms. I know for a fact that have taken our feedback, and within a week, pushed an update to correct a mistake on the Idaho forms. Thomson is very proactive that way, and very much listens to the client.

At the end of the day, price is not a reason to go to UT, but quality is. Having said that, if I were a solo practitioner, paying for UT would be a pretty tough pill to swallow, it's really fairly pricey.

I have a thing with "Intuit" products, a bias, if you will; I very much dislike Intuit's patchwork quilt approach to their software. QuickBooks, ProSeries, etc.

I have no empirical evidence of this, but I'd venture to say that LaCerte's quality of offering wasn't improved when Intuit acquired them, so they start with one strike against them in my book.

FWIW
 

#26
JeffChr  
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I agree with TaxCuts review of Drake. I'd like to add that Drake also has a client portal which works really well. Fully automated emails to clients when you upload a file, printing from Drake directly to the portal, a document management system so anything can be uploaded to the a client portal, etc. Also has excellent encryption and authentication features.
 

#27
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Officially bought LaCerte today...good riddance UltraTax and Thomson Reuters, except for some reference materials.
Last edited by CornerstoneCPA on 23-Oct-2019 7:35am, edited 1 time in total.
 

#28
makbo  
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Thompson Reuters -> Thomson Reuters
 

#29
smtcpa  
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I did that 3 years ago. What a mistake I made. Came running back to UT by the summer. Good luck!

CornerstoneCPA wrote:Officially bought LaCerte today...good riddance UltraTax and Thompson Reuters, except for some reference materials.
 

#30
ATSMAN  
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How much testing and evaluation with your own returns do you guys do before making a firm decision to switch?
Last time I switched I spent the entire summer testing with my own returns.

Is pricing increase the main factor to trigger a switch?
 

#31
wel  
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Is pricing increase the main factor to trigger a switch?
The answer to this tends to depend upon the size of your tax practice - (# of clients / # of staff), your growth rate, and the complexity of the returns you prepare.

If you have a small staff, and relatively simple returns then pricing may be a big factor in the decision to switch.

If you're growing rapidly and the complexity of your clients' returns are increasing, then you may outgrow the software that you've been using - and find that you may need to spend a lot more money on software in order to increase efficiency so that you can continue to grow. (This can be a difficult pill to swallow - too much focus on price can slow your growth or lead to errors, etc. due to the less-expensive software not being up to the task.)

If you have a large staff and a large number of very complex returns, you'll be less likely to risk making a switch - it's unlikely that you'd be able to save enough to justify the hassle of the conversion process and training staff.
 

#32
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I tested some returns and calculations ended up being same. TR has pissed me off with how they charge for things that are already included in LaCerte (such as oil and gas). Everything about TR, except their support, annoys me. LaCerte is pricier in some regards, but I feel like I am getting more for my money and it also directly integrates with other software I have started using. Those were the drivers behind the change. Eventually I am going to go hosted route, and TR wants an absurd setup fee even though they charge a bit less per user each month.

LaCerte can't be that bad. It is widely used by some very large firms.

makbo wrote:Thompson Reuters -> Thomson Reuters


Corrected JUST FOR YOU. Seriously, WGAF that I accidentally added a P? Only you. :roll:
 

#33
Wiles  
Posts:
3146
Joined:
21-Apr-2014 9:42am
Location:
Bay Area - CA
LaCerte -> Lacerte :twisted:
 

#34
smtcpa  
Posts:
213
Joined:
28-Jul-2014 5:16am
Location:
Colorado
I realized at some point that Lacerte users had used the program for decades. They did not know anything other than Lacerte. It does an ok job on federal returns, but had to override most multi-state returns. I found numerous state errors and even support could not fix the issues. I also loved the fact UT would send Elf Ack via email to clients and was suprised Lacerte did not do this. You need to check a lot more with Lacerte, just a heads up.

CornerstoneCPA wrote:I tested some returns and calculations ended up being same. TR has pissed me off with how they charge for things that are already included in LaCerte (such as oil and gas). Everything about TR, except their support, annoys me. LaCerte is pricier in some regards, but I feel like I am getting more for my money and it also directly integrates with other software I have started using. Those were the drivers behind the change. Eventually I am going to go hosted route, and TR wants an absurd setup fee even though they charge a bit less per user each month.

LaCerte can't be that bad. It is widely used by some very large firms.

makbo wrote:Thompson Reuters -> Thomson Reuters


Corrected JUST FOR YOU. Seriously, WGAF that I accidentally added a P? Only you. :roll:
 

#35
wel  
Posts:
55
Joined:
3-Sep-2016 4:29am
Location:
USA
Agree w/ SMT - I used Lacerte for ~ 10 years, and it's good. However, UT and CCH ProFx are better with multistate returns.
 

#36
Posts:
372
Joined:
29-Sep-2015 10:10pm
Location:
Gray, TN
I am a Drake user for the last 3 years. Before that it was Lacerte. The only things I miss about Lacerte are the diagnostic and planning pages. I wish Drake or another software vendor would develop something similar as an add-on to Drake.

The only way I would go back to Lacerte would be if I started doing consolidated returns - currently, I do not have any.
 

#37
ATSMAN  
Posts:
1348
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31-May-2014 8:34pm
Location:
MA
Have you tried the Drake Planner to do "what if" returns? It is pretty handy.
 

#38
Posts:
372
Joined:
29-Sep-2015 10:10pm
Location:
Gray, TN
ATSMAN wrote:Have you tried the Drake Planner to do "what if" returns? It is pretty handy.


Absolutely, use it a lot.

I don't know if you've ever used Lacerte but it would have several diagnostic pages that were 10 times better than the very basic diagnostics from Drake. Its "link backs" from the return (especially state returns) was a lot better too. Plus Lacerte had a planning page where it would make tax savings suggestions based on the return. IE, "if the TP contributes X to a SEP, TP will save X in tax." There was also a page that I called "the red flag page" - it would show things like the average deductions for returns with similar AGI compared to the return you were working on. I'd be willing to pay Drake an extra $1,000/year for the planning page alone.
 

#39
ATSMAN  
Posts:
1348
Joined:
31-May-2014 8:34pm
Location:
MA
>>> I'd be willing to pay Drake an extra $1,000/year for the planning page alone.

If you look at the latest software surveys, Drake appeals to budget minded, smaller prep shops, so I think most Drake users would have a problem paying an additional $1000 for a better Planner.
 


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