Executives with Wolters Kluwer CCH described a series of improvements to their tax, accounting and auditing software products at the CCH Connections user conference in Orlando on Monday, including enhancements to leverage the power of Google and other popular search engines.

Wolters Kluwer CCH president and CEO Teresa Mackintosh described in her keynote speech and later in a briefing with reporters about how the company is integrating its IntelliConnect tax and accounting research product with popular search engines such as Google so IntelliConnect results will show up during a Google search in the browser for IntelliConnect users. The browser add-on displays results from IntelliConnect directly on top of the Google results page.

“We have spent countless time improving our search interface, and we have decided to prioritize bringing the answer to you where you search for it first,” said Mackintosh. “Seemingly unanimously and unequivocally, you have told us that you start your search in popular search engines such as Google. With that in mind, the most recent addition to the IntelliConnect platform, CCH IntelliConnect Browser Search, is a free installable browser add-on that instantaneously scans your search engine queries and also your CCH subscriber content. At the same time you’re searching on Google, it searches on IntelliConnect, and it delivers those results back to your search engine page.”

In addition to Google, the browser add-on will work with other popular search engines such as Yahoo and Bing. The IntelliConnect results box includes access to content such as explanations, IRS regulations, tax cases, journal articles and newsletters, client letters and interpretation guidance, according to Stuart Goodman, a solutions architect at Wolters Kluwer CCH.

The company has also created over 2,000 “Quick Answers” to the most commonly used IntelliConnect search terms, according to Wendy Becker, a product line manager of tax research at Wolters Kluwer CCH.

Users can go back and forth between the browser experience on their computer and the CCH Mobile app on their smartphone.

A new Penalty and Interest Rate Calculator takes all the content about penalties and interest and puts it all into one tool, according to Josh Braunstein, vice president of research and learning. “It’s all about getting people better information and more insights,” he said.

The company is also making all of its software available for download now, instead of forcing users to keep track of discs.

“All of our software is available via download delivery, so no more DVDs will be shipping to your offices,” said Mackintosh. “Everything has transitioned to an electronic download this year. You’ll get it faster, and in some states, you’ll even save sales tax.”

The Knowledge Coach auditing product has received two patents for its technology in the U.S. and Australia, Mackintosh noted, helping firms such as WithumSmith+Brown do risk-based assessments in their audits. A new fund reporting area of the product supports government and not-for-profit audits, according to Cathy Wright, product line manager of accounting and audit solutions.

The company also introduced CCH eSign in mid-March, within a day after the Internal Revenue Service allowed electronic signatures on tax forms from preparers. “It complies with very strict IRS guidelines around how you get that authentication from the taxpayer,” said Mackintosh. “The IRS actually requires a knowledge-based authentication. We’re the only provider that does it today.” Over 1,000 firms plan to give the eSign technology a try this coming tax season, she noted.

Taxpayers can authenticate themselves using a smartphone, tablet or PC, according to director of product management Angela Askew.

The company also plans to extend CCH eSign capability beyond tax prep to other functions such as engagement letters, according to Mackintosh.

Wolters Kluwer CCH also previewed My1040Data, a new Web-based organizer where clients can enter their data and notes. “They can use it on a PC, Mac or tablet,” said Mackintosh.

Clients can either enter the information or attach it, according to product manager Anthony Brady. They can enter notes anywhere within the application. The product is expected to be released in December.

CCH Client Axcess is a new portal interface, giving clients entry to the portal from their smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. The software uses ‘responsive design’ so it adapts to whatever device the client is using. Clients can use the technology to upload documents, pictures and other files to their accountant’s online portal.

The new release of ProSystem fx Engagement improves the linkage with CCH Axcess, although Wolters Kluwer CCH is still working on making it cloud-based like the other Axcess products. The new version includes binder synchronization improvements.

CCH Axcess has a single core database and the company has been extending that to mobile as well, according to director of product management Jerry Connor. He noted that Wolters Kluwer CCH has redesigned CCH Mobile with a cleaner layout and easier access to contact information for clients and other details such as what they owe, as well as to documents in the portal. CCH Axcess now provides one login for all the different dashboards, according to Mark Ryburn, product line manager of workflow solutions, and it uses auto flow technology to push work along the way to administrative staff, to managers for review, and eventually to clients for their e-signature.

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