Software is necessary for the growth of your tax preparation company. After all, it’s a tool to automate all your tax preparation tasks. It comes with appealing features that make it easier to prepare not only individual but also business returns, such as data input, e-file management, electronic signatures, and client management tools. With such great features, you get to save time, money, and energy.
While using professional tax software is beneficial, you must ensure you buy the right tool. If you don’t use the right software, your tax preparation company might not get off the ground. You can browse through this list of professional tax software to find a suitable one.
As you explore your options, consider the following factors:
You should make sure that the software is compatible with your computer if you’re planning to use desktop tax software. What are the requirements listed on the software’s webpage or packaging box? Some software work with Windows while others go well with Mac. Hence, it’s important to buy software that can run on your system.
Scalability, which refers to how the chosen application can grow with your company, is actually one of the most ignored factors by professional tax preparers. Therefore, it should be on the top of your checklist when searching for one.
To accommodate the growth of your business, the software should be updated. There will always be changes in the laws, so confirm if the software can inform you of whether the version of the forms you plan to work on is the latest. It should also send you a notification about when to update the software before allowing you to use outdated forms.
Furthermore, a scalable software must have all the features for various functions. For example, it can help you prepare and file state and federal returns for various clients, including contractors, freelancers, individuals, or business proprietors.
It should also include useful features, such as refund estimators, third-party add-ons with relevant applications, like data import products and accounting, seamless integration of tax forms, and integration among federal and state returns. It should automate some data entry tasks as well, such as importing data from QuickBooks and Excel and downloading tax data straight from financial institutions.
Ease Of Use
There are various types of tax software. But all of them are made differently in terms of complexity. While most are simple to work with, others are complex. Ensure you choose a tool that’s easy to use.
Tax software that’s convenient to use can help save time and increase employee productivity. Complicated tax software, on the other hand, will cause you to spend several days or even weeks educating your staff on how to use it. In addition, it may add extra costs to your company since you might have to hire experts to train your workers.
But with an easy one, it will only take a short time, probably a few minutes or hours, to introduce the tool to your team. All you have to do is read the manual guide provided.
An example of a software that’s easy to navigate is one that lets you transition between forms smoothly and access a navigation bar for performing basic functions, such as printing and e-filing.
To figure out whether the software is user-friendly, review customer testimonials. If you find reviews that mention how the tool is ‘user-friendly’ or ‘easy to use,’ then you can be sure it will be worth buying.
Besides testimonials, why not test the software’s user interface yourself? If the software comes with a free trial or a demo, take advantage of it. As you try it out, see if the software offers an interface with an accessible menu, which should ideally be found on the side of the screen, so you can switch from one form to the next in a breeze.
Online attacks are major threats to any business, and tax preparation companies are no exception. Your tax preparation business could lose a lot of money, as well as essential data.
To safeguard your company, invest in tax software with security features. Check if the software offers security features, such as automatic updates, antivirus protection, password protection, and consistent backups.
Pricing is another factor to take into consideration because various types of software are priced differently, depending on their features. The costs of any tax software may include the purchase cost, installation fee, monthly subscription, and other related fees.
Stay away from software that costs a few hundred dollars less than competitors’ since it’s most likely to have limited features. For instance, the software may be cheaper, but it won’t be able to support the features or forms required to meet your clients’ needs. In the end, you’re just wasting money on a tool that’s lacking.
It might be tricky to figure out the real price of a software, though. You can visit the official website to check the price of the software, but it might not cover expenses or other fees. There are some software that cost more because they charge extra fees for filing a large number of returns.
So, before you decide to buy software, read the fine print and inquire about other fees you might have to pay for while using the tool. If you get software that boasts ‘unlimited filing,’ you won’t have to worry about paying more for filing returns.
One more factor to consider is data conversion, which will help you protect your clients’ data and keep it from getting misformatted. You can talk to a customer representative about how their company offers data integration. Here are some specific questions you can ask:
- How do I go about the data conversion process? How long does this process take?
- How do you back up data before the conversion process starts?
- What kind of issues have other customers faced when integrating their data?
Although you may be an expert in tax preparation, sometimes you might need help with a few things while using the software. That’s why it’s important to get a software from a tax software provider that offers customer service in the form of chat, email, or phone support.
As mentioned earlier, a customer representative can assist you with the data conversion process. Moreover, they can answer any questions you may have.
Besides chat, email, or phone support, the software should provide embedded tools that you can use as a guide and a FAQ section with informative articles. There are even some tax software that have user forums or video tutorials you can rely on in case you have some concerns.
Desktop-Based Version VS. Cloud-Based Version
Lastly, you can choose between a desktop- and cloud-based tax software. It depends on what suits you best. You can integrate a desktop-based software into your office’s network server. This version can sometimes support other forms that a cloud-based version can’t.
On the other hand, you can switch from one device to the next when you use a cloud-based software. For instance, you can start working on your returns on your laptop, continue on your desktop computer, and then finish on your smartphone.
The right tax software will help you save resources and build a profitable business. Looking for a suitable tool might seem challenging, but if you take account of these factors, you’ll be able to find one that fits the bill.