technology for tax professionals
technology for tax professionals

ProConnect Tax Online and Digital Data Collection

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Another tax season is just around the corner, so now is the time to learn how your tax software can help you maximize your most valuable asset – your time. Within our Professional Tax Group, our key focus is to save you time in everything you do. Why? Because you have continuously told us that saving you time is the most important thing we could do for you.

For that very reason, our development team has been working hard over the past year to develop capabilities that not only save you time, but also help you better serve your clients.

While we have made many improvements to ProConnect™ Tax Online over the past year, there are two specific capabilities that you MUST learn about today, as you prepare for the coming season: Intuit Link and Intuit eSignature. Let’s start with the problems we are trying to solve, and then I will speak to how these solutions can prove to be game changing to your practice.

Intuit Link – Streamlining Accountant/Client Collaboration

For many years, we have studied how accountants, like you, interact with your clients to collect the information needed to prepare tax returns. The default tool of the trade today is the tax organizer. Organizers have been around as long as most of us can remember, but through our studies, we have clearly observed that they are not effective tools for collecting information in an efficient manner. First of all, your customers don’t understand them. Secondly, they are expensive to print and mail, and even if you are distributing them electronically, they ultimately don’t solve the job of helping you get the information you need. This tool is outdated, doesn’t take advantage of the technologies that exist today and is not aligned with how people are interacting in our ever-changing digital world.

Enter Intuit Link. Similar to a tax organizer, Intuit Link produces a checklist of the information you need based on the prior year tax return. This checklist, coupled with a customizable questionnaire, can then be sent to your customers digitally, quickly and securely … and, it’s free. Your clients will receive an email from you requesting the information you need. They log in to their personal portal, answer the questions, upload documents (they can even do it on their smartphones, take pictures of docs and more) and you are instantly notified when new information is provided. Collecting information has never been easier, and the digital to digital interaction is opening the door for new opportunities that includes data extraction from provided documents and digital downloads of 1099s and other transactions, which will ultimately lead to our vision of eliminating manual data entry.

But, maybe you are skeptical. All I can tell you is that you need to try it, even if only with a select group of clients to start. So, what’s in it for you? Just last year, we saw that tax returns, for which the initial data requests were done through Intuit Link, were prepared on average 16 days faster than returns for which data request were done through a PDF version of our checklist. Try it for yourself by sending all your clients an invite to Intuit Link. What’s the worst that could happen? If some of your clients don’t want to collaborate in this manner, you can always send them the PDF checklist instead.

Intuit eSignature

In the section above, we talked about how you could streamline the front end of the tax preparation process – data collection. Now, I will share how you can save time and ensure compliance at the back end of the filing process.

Over the years, we have seen our customers print and mail the 8879, and then wait. And wait. And wait. That no longer has to be the case. With Intuit eSignature, you can eliminate the hassle of printing and chasing down signed 8879s, and also make it easier for your clients to return the signed forms. You simply send an e-signature request to your client(s), an email is sent out, and they can securely review their tax return and sign the 8879 digitally, whenever and wherever they are.

So, how does this help you save time? Just last year, roughly 90 percent of electronic signature requests were completed within 24 hours … that’s right – less than one day. Not only can you eliminate the need to print and mail information, but you can also reduce the time spent following up with customers to ensure they provide this very important document. After all, tax preparation is about compliance, and the form must be returned to ensure you have it in your records.

Overall, we believe Intuit Link and Intuit eSignature bring new opportunities for you to save time and better serve your clients. And, we continue to enhance ProConnect Tax Online, with your feedback and your suggestions helping to drive these improvements. I have never been as excited as I am today about the potential we have to significantly improve and streamline the tax preparation process, and while Intuit Link and Intuit eSignature are two big steps forward, this is just the beginning of our journey to make ProConnect Tax Online the best tax software solution for professionals like you.

Thank you for being our customer, and as always, please keep the feedback coming.

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