Intuit ProConnect Tax fuels large firm's growth copy
Intuit ProConnect Tax fuels large firm's growth copy

Intuit® ProConnect™ fuels large firm’s growth

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Alex Thomas

With 1,400 annual tax returns to prepare, efficiency is a must-have for EPL Tax Group, LLC.

“Efficiency is key to what we do and provide to our clients,” said Alex Thomas, chief operating officer. “We’re able to do that with ProConnect Tax.”

Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax is cloud-based software that streamlines and automates tax workflows. It’s a perfect fit for EPL, which provides tax return, sales tax, bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll services. The Arizona-based tax firm and its sister businesses—all part of EPL Financial Services, LLC—have 12 full-time employees to serve their large roster of clients.

“Everything we’re trying to move EPL toward focuses on increased efficiency, including working in the cloud with accessible software 24/7 and a streamlined workflow,” said Thomas.

ProConnect Tax has been able to boost efficiency and assist in this large firm’s continued growth in a number of ways over the past four tax seasons.

1. Easy conversions

Ricky Cobban

Not all bookkeeping files play nicely together, EPL found out. The company used to use a competitor, until it became too problematic as the growing firm acquired new books of business. The growth strategy includes merging with tax firms whose owners are preparing for retirement, so they need fuss-free file conversions.

“We had one year with the previous software where none of the conversions really came over,” said Cobban. “There was a ton of data loss. Even year-to-year trends within the software were dropping data, so we ended up looking for a company that had a broader range.”

That’s how EPL came across ProConnect Tax.

“We tested it out and our first few conversions went amazingly well,” said Cobban. “That’s allowed us to scale a lot more—not having the data loss of business returns entirely, or officer information, or depreciation.”

At the point EPL absorbs a new book of business, they’re back to that cloud-based, 24/7 secure portal to onboard their new clients. It’s full circle for the features and updates that make ProConnect Tax the right option for large tax firms, and creates the efficiencies firms need while powering the capabilities their clients need.

To sum it up, Thomas said, “I’m not aware of any returns that we haven’t been able to conquer.”

2. Secure document access 24/7

As EPL Tax Group has grown, so has the geographic diversity of its clients. But there’s no need for complex coordination across time zones or in-person meetings with Intuit Link’s secure client portal.

“Because we’ve got people in China, Ireland, let alone all over the United States and Hawaii, we get stuff coming in, and requests and documents 24 hours a day,” said Cobban. “The Link portal really makes it possible to scale up that way without dedicating resources to 24-hour shifts.”

This is a huge help to the tax filing team, who can still interact with clients, receive files, and ask questions asynchronously. All the while, the team can rest assured that the client portal safely manages and stores the financial data.

“The benefits? Not having servers or any potential security issues with data that a lot of these incumbent preparers are seemingly running into,” said Thomas.

3. Smart communications

Intuit Link’s portal also simplifies communications with clients at all steps of the process, which is ultimately a big time-saver for EPL. For example, onboarding and touching base ahead of tax season with ProConnect Tax saves the team up to an hour per client in talk time.

“Not having individual phone calls that could take anywhere from five minutes to an hour just to ask ‘Hey, what do I need this year? What’s this? Did you, did you, did you  .…?’ is huge.”

Cobban agreed, noting the ease with which he can send communications to large numbers of clients to spur them to action in the client portal.

ProConnect Tax has “really helped us scale up. For me, personally, to be able to send batch invites and interact with clients is a plus,” said Cobban. “That ability saves us so much time because it’s not constantly individually responding to clients. We’ve got everything in there for everybody, without having to call each person or send each person a mailer.”

Link’s client portal makes it easy to get ahead of common questions such as “What do you need from me?” With the answers already in front of them, Cobban said clients are able to get much further into the process of uploading documents for the year’s tax return.

4. Accurate client tax savings

EPL Tax Group has been growing its client base lately by helping small business owners amend their tax returns from the pandemic era. Using ProConnect Tax has given them a leg up in saving clients up to $50,000.

“With all the COVID changes and credits, Intuit was really on top of updating their software,” said Ricky Cobban, EA, lead tax preparer at EPL Tax Group.

“Some of those things would change mid-season and retroactively, and a lot of them affected states differently. Intuit was more on top of it than any other program. I know that because we’re now amending the returns for clients who were using the other programs.”

The firm has seen a particular influx of business from store owners in California, whose state tax returns hadn’t been calculated accurately due to the Employee Retention Credit.

“We’ve been able to bring on referrals that are saving $30,000 to $50,000 in additional taxes they shouldn’t have been paying,” said Cobban. “That’s because their software didn’t catch it and was incorrectly calculating their tax.”


At a glance

Firm name: EPL Tax Group, LLC

Location: Based in Mesa, Arizona, with two other offices in New Mexico; primarily operates as a remote firm

Size of firm: 12 employees

Niche focus: EPL Tax Group is one of four businesses that comprise EPL Financial Services, LLC, along with EPL Realty Group, LLC; EPL Investment Advisory, LLC; and EPL Benefits Group, LLC. The firm specializes in real estate. Taxes are the crux of their advisory, tax strategy, and planning services.

Intuit software: ProConnect Tax, Intuit Link, eSignature, QuickBooks® Online, QuickBooks Desktop.

Scott Cytron
Scott Cytron

Written by Scott Cytron

Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is editor of several Intuit blogs, including the Firm of the Future, the QuickBooks blog, and the Tax Pro Center. He is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (medical, legal, accounting, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales. More from Scott Cytron

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