Application service provider technology, once described as "the next big thing to still be coming," has turned the corner on acceptance, as its advantages are winning over converts from large firms to smaller tax prep shops.Once offered only by industry giants Wolters Kluwer and Thomson, models from a number of new software providers are either in beta testing or preparing to enter the market.

"We've had great acceptance," said Jo Ann Cummings, product manager for CCH's ProSystem fx Tax. "We have quadrupled the number of returns and quintupled the number of users, so acceptance is reaching a critical mass," she said. "People see the cost savings, and they appreciate being able to work from anywhere."

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