The advantages of application service provider technology are becoming apparent to more tax professionals as the larger players in the field continue to tout its benefits, while smaller entries prepare their own offerings."The most obvious advantage is staffing, and that's an issue that affects both large and small firms alike," said Joanie Mann, executive vice president of online accounting solution provider CPAASP, based in Gig Harbor, Wash. "It makes the transition from tax season to the rest of the year easier, because both expansion and shrinkage can be rapid and efficient."

"We use it for outlying employees," explained Janet Hara, a partner in Hilo, Hawaii-based Taketa, Iwata, Hara & Associates LLC. "We started a few years ago when I needed to work from home to care for my father."

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