Dark Horse CPAs
Dark Horse

Large firm sees ProConnect™ Tax as “table stakes”

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Disrupter or innovator?

Just a few years ago when Max Fritz and Chase Birky dreamed of changing the way CPAs deliver services to their clients, they envisioned a different kind of firm. Instead of a firm with traditional clients, the “clients” were CPA firms themselves: Firms they could manage and mentor, while also operating 100% remote.

Dark Horse CPAs was created, but they knew a major step to bringing their dream firm to life was working with as many cloud-based software and services as possible. In fact, having a tax tool that was intuitive and accessible anywhere was simply non-negotiable.

The answer? Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax.

“Being a virtual firm, cloud-based software is table stakes,” said Troy Constance, Director of Tax at Dark Horse CPAs.

Fritz and Birky built the firm to give CPAs the right tools to run their own practices under the Dark Horse banner. With a curated selection of easy-to-use tax tools already available, Dark Horse firms can spend more time on client work and less time on the operational side of the business.

Max Fritz, CPA
Troy Constance, CPA

How Dark Horse found ProConnect Tax

ProConnect Tax is a browser-based tool that streamlines and automates tax workflows through many features, including a books-to-tax feature with an integration from QuickBooks Online, a client portal for secure document upload, an e-filing dashboard, tax return reports, and project management tools. With unlimited users included, everyone in a firm can get on board.

The current iteration of Dark Horse sprang to life in 2019, when Fritz and Birky evolved their San Diego-area firm into the industry-bending business it has become today. As a CPA platform, Dark Horse provides the necessary business tools, training, and community for its 27 principals to scale their books of business to a profitable level. The CPAs at Dark Horse provide tax, accounting, and CFO services to individuals and small businesses.

ProConnect Tax was the right software choice for Dark Horse, but it wasn’t actually their first choice. Fritz and Birky, both CPAs, were already using an ERP competitor, but the software did not operate in the cloud. Already familiar with QuickBooks® Online, they discovered ProConnect Tax, but knew that switching tax software was a “colossal undertaking.”

“We explored ProConnect Tax and quickly realized it was easier to use and designed so that anybody with even limited tax experience can figure it out pretty quickly,” said Fritz. “Larger firms might look at ProConnect Tax and think it may not be able to handle complex situations, but we have faith that Intuit will continue to trailblaze and solve any issues related to client returns.”

ProConnect saves Dark Horse 667 hours a year

Fritz and Constance see multiple touchpoints in which ProConnect saves the firm and its CPAs time, including searching and finding the information they need, having a built-in tax organizer, and getting access to readily available electronic signing with eSignature.

“Added together, add-on features such as eSignature save us 5-10 minutes per return. When you extrapolate across 4,000 returns we plan to do for tax year 2023, that’s a huge amount of time savings,” said Fritz.

It is a huge amount. Here’s the math:10 minutes x 4,000 tax returns = 40,000 minutes, or 667 hours

Constance, who works closely with CPAs who are new to the firm and reviews their returns early on, also noted the time savings he sees with onboarding and training.

“It’s super easy for us to get our people trained on ProConnect. We don’t have eight hours of tax software training that we’ve got to roll out like we used to. The Intuit name very well describes the type of software: It’s intuitive.”

Larger firms will have a connected network of tax tools

With the goal of making the business and operational side of running a CPA practice as simple as possible, the Dark Horse leaders chose Intuit’s suite of accounting tools for integration and ease of use.

“We strongly encourage larger firms to be on ProConnect because of the operational efficiencies and integration with other software and workflows,” said Fritz. “We’re big into trying to get all of our apps to talk to each other.”

Along with ProConnect, eSignature, and QuickBooks Online, the firm will begin using Intuit Tax Advisor very soon to create client tax plans.

“A big reason we use Intuit is that the software and apps integrate so smoothly,” said Constance. “If you’re using other software and systems, it’s like sitting on an island without a lifeboat.”

At a Glance

Firm name: Dark Horse CPAs

Location: Dispersed U.S.-based workforce

Size of firm: 27 principals, each running their own CPA practices

Niche focus: Dark Horse’s CPAs focus on tax, accounting, and CFO services, but the firm itself is unique. It provides each principal with the business tools they need to maximize their time so they can spend more quality time serving their clients.

Intuit software: ProConnect Tax, QuickBooks Online, eSignature, QuickBooks Apps, and Intuit Tax Advisor.

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