If you've been to one of this year's assortment of trade shows, user conferences or IRS Forums, you can't help but be impressed with the competence and talent among the vendors purveying their software, hardware and integrated solutions.

Even in a maturing industry such as tax preparation, companies are building on past success, adding bells and whistles and advancing new technology to make life easier for the professional. The reason? Competition. It's what keeps us all honest. And it's why so many world and Olympic records were set at the Beijing games.

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