Intuit has launched an online tax research Web site, TaxAlmanac, which enables practitioners to post questions and answers. The site, www.taxalmanac.com, is a Web-based free-content encyclopedia, to which users can submit articles.
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Brad Smith, senior VP and GM of the QuickBooks Group for Intuit, notes that accountant recommendations for the company's QuickBooks Online Edition tripled in the past year.
"And the reason is the ability to access data anytime anywhere, and you can actually share data between a client and an accountant in real time," Smith says. "It's being recognized as a completely different way to deliver customer service."
The explosion may be tempered, however, by the adoption curve of such technology, according to Taylor MacDonald, executive VP for channel and sales operations at Sage Software.
"We clearly see a demand," says MacDonald, "but we also know that the audience we're dealing with, accountants in particular, have trouble understanding and believing that a hosted application is a stable and secure one. While the demand is growing, we continue to see that better than 90-plus percent of the market wants the software delivered in a traditional manner." In 10 years, he also notes, that same 90 percent of the market may opt for online accounting solutions.