What is the biggest improvement needed in software used by tax and accounting professionals?

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Software needs to be easier to access remotely. This could be via the Internet, a WAN, whatever. Setting this configuration up, making sure printers work, and resolving performance issues needs to be easier. Software also needs to integrate with other applications easier. Many times, you're trying to integrate a third-party specialty application with a general accounting solution. The integration between the two needs to be simpler and less expensive. Brad Prather, CPA

BKD Technologies

Indianapolis

Partner Insights

If I had my wishes, we would have a built-in tickler system tied to due dates and an auto generation of extensions for us to simply approve or dismiss with a series of checkboxes, and we would then efile them.

Carolyn Sechler, CPA

Carolyn S. Sechler CPA

Phoenix

Besides the techie concerns of security and constant maintenance, there is the issue of the disparate databases that hold client demographic information that is common among all applications. Some individual vendors have made great strides in their own suite of applications, but this is far from ideal as not all of each vendor's applications are best of breed. So one either puts up with the idiosyncrasies of a particular vendor's suite, or one deals with separate databases. However, a vendor-neutral, standardized XML database of client demographic information maintained by the firm that each vendor's application could read would go a long, long way in solving this problem.

George W. Wilson Jr., CPA, CITP OneSource

Professional Services Group

Gaithersburg, Md.

Easier methods to see instructions and research while preparing a tax return.

Stephan P. Sykes

Stephan P. Sykes CPA

Portland, Ore.

The biggest improvement tax and accounting professionals need is real integration from the point we receive Peachtree, QuickBooks, or other accounting data from clients to the point of entry into the tax software. The leading vendors all claim to have this integration, but it is so cumbersome that just manually entering a trial balance into the tax software is faster. Each year, the client's new data has to be remapped into the write-up software and then the write-up software has to be remapped to the tax software. We need solutions where the mapping does not have to be done every year.

Frank Stitely, CPA

Stitely & Karstetter,

Chantilly, Va.

The biggest improvement needed in accounting software today is its ability to integrate with a company's other software to provide a total business management solution. Accounting software has to do more than just accounting-it also has to provide management with the information that it needs to manage the overall business. Accounting software usually just tells management what they own, what they owe and whether or not the company is making a profit. However, management needs more analysis behind the balance sheet and income statement numbers.

Pam Oakes, CPA

TBC International

Salado, Texas

I think the accounting vendors need to link images of source documents to source entries in the accounting system. By this I mean having the ability to drill down to a journal entry or expense item to the point where an image of the supporting document is displayed. Today, Intuit can do this with third-party products such as Personable Sourcelink or NG File Cabinet, but I am not aware of any vendors that have done it inclusively in their product. I think this integrated document management feature will define the future success of small business accounting.

Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA, CITP

InfoTech Partners

Phoenix

The greatest need I see is the ability for various applications to "talk" to each other. I am a corporate controller using primarily MYOB, Excel, and Intuit's Fixed Asset Manager. MYOB has OfficeLink, which lets me dump anything and everything into Excel for whatever sorting, summarizing and analysis I need. FAM will let me dump some lists to Excel, but I haven't found a way to get Fixed Asset purchases from MYOB to FAM, other than rekeying. I think this issue exists in many situations.

Martha Scheer

Martha S. Scheer CPA

Lafayette, Colo.

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