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2011 tax software survey.

This year's tax preparation software survey by The Tax Adviser and the Journal of Accountancy yielded more than 10,000 responses from readers, showing what tax professionals like and dislike about the tax preparation software they used this tax season. As in years past, price and ease of use have a large influence on preparers' feelings about their software. For the first time this year, the survey also shows that having the responsibility for choosing the tax preparation software product affects the user's assessment of the product.

As in past years, three products led the pack in the number of respondents In the context of marketing research, a representative sample drawn from a larger population of people from whom information is collected and used to develop or confirm marketing strategy.  using them. Users of ProSystem fx Tax (CCH CCH Colegio de Ciencias y Humanidades (Spanish)
CCH Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
CCH Cook County Hospital
CCH Certified in Classical Homeopathy
CCH Country Club Hills (Fairfax City, VA, USA) 
), Lacerte (Intuit in·tu·it  
tr.v. in·tu·it·ed, in·tu·it·ing, in·tu·its Usage Problem
To know intuitively.



[Back-formation from intuition.
), and UltraTax CS (Thomson Reuters Reuters

British cooperative news agency. Founded in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter, it was initially concerned with commercial news but began to serve a growing newspaper clientele after the London Morning Advertiser subscribed in 1858.
) together accounted for nearly three-quarters Noun 1. three-quarters - three of four equal parts; "three-fourths of a pound"
three-fourths

common fraction, simple fraction - the quotient of two integers

three-quarters npl
 of the responses; the remaining one-fourth were divided among, in decreasing order, ProSeries (Intuit), GoSystem Tax RS (Thomson Reuters), Drake drake

1. male duck.

2. loliumtemulentum.
 (Drake Software), ATX See ATX motherboard.

(hardware, standard) ATX - An open PC motherboard specification by Intel.

ATX is a development of the Baby AT specification with the motherboard rotated 90 degrees in the chassis.
 (CCH Small Firm Services), Tax Works (RedGear Technologies), and seven other products that yielded fewer than 64 responses each and are not included in this analysis. Similar to last year, average overall ratings this year for the "big three" products were a virtual tie and in the same order as previously: UltraTax (4.5 on a scale of 1-5, with 5 the highest), followed by Lacerte (4.4) and ProSystem (4.3). (See Exhibit 1.) In the second tier of products by number of users, Drake once again generated the highest overall esteem (4.4), followed by ATX and ProSeries (both 4.2), TaxWorks (3.9), and GoSystem (3.4). The survey was conducted online in May 2011.
Exhibit 1: Overall ratings

                           All  ATX  Drake  GoSystem  Lacerte
                      products                Tax RS

Overall rating             4.3  4.2    4.4       3.4      4.4

How easy was the           4.4  4.6    4.8       4.1      4.5
update/installation
process?

How easy was it to         4.1  4.3    4.4       3.3      4.4
use?

How well did your          4.2  4.4    4.7       3.5      4.3
software handle
updates to forms?

How well did your          4.2  4.1    4.4       3.5      4.3
software handle
transfers of data
within returns?

How easy was               4.2  4.2    4.5       3.5      4.2
paperless electronic
filing (including,
for example, sending
PDF attachments)
with the tax
software you used?

How well did your          4.0  3.9    4.2       3.2      4.0
software handle
multistate business
returns?

                      ProSeries  ProSystem  TaxWorks  UltraTax
                                        fx                  CS

Overall rating              4.2        4.3       3.9       4.5

How easy was the            4.6        4.0       4.1       4.5
update/installation
process?

How easy was it to          4.4        3.9       4.2       4.3
use?

How well did your           4.4        4.0       3.9       4.5
software handle
updates to forms?

How well did your           4.4        4.0       4.0       4.4
software handle
transfers of data
within returns?

How easy was                4.2        4.1       4.2       4.3
paperless electronic
filing (including,
for example, sending
PDF attachments)
with the tax
software you used?

How well did your           3.9        3.9       3.8       4.2
software handle
multistate business
returns?

Average rating by each product's users on a 1-5 scale, with 5
being the best.


Another possible indication of overall satisfaction might be inferred from the percentage of respondents saying they plan to use the same software next season. Ninety-four percent of users of Drake and UltraTax CS plan to stick with them, followed by ProSystem fx (89%), ATX (86.3%), and a tie between Lacerte and ProSeries (84%).

Profile of Users

The products are designed for the most part to cater to firms of a particular size and scope, although some products were used across a wide range of firm sizes. La-certe, for example, showed up mostly in firms of between 2 and 20 preparers, although it ranked relatively high for one-person shops, which made up 20% of respondents using it. The leading product for one-person firms (which accounted for 18% of all respondents) was ATX, for which 56% of users were sole practitioners. At the other end of the spectrum was GoSystem Tax RS, where 37% of users were in firms of more than 500 preparers (which for all products were only 4.2% of respondents). As a result, GoSystem was also the only software for which respondents who had no input in choosing the system far outnumbered Outnumbered is a British sitcom that aired on BBC One in 2007.[1] It stars Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner as a mother and father who are outnumbered by their three children.  those who had a hand in selecting it, by a factor of more than five to one. Nearly all respondents prepared a significant number of business returns, which for 48% of respondents constituted between 26% and 50% of returns prepared. A majority of users (54%) said that half to three-quarters of returns they prepared were individual returns, with another 19% saying that individual returns made up 76% of all of the returns they prepared.

Features Users Liked Most and Least

When we asked what single attribute (1) In relational database management, a field within a record.

(2) In object technology, a single element of data. See instance attribute and static attribute.
 of their software users most prized, ease of use got the most responses (28.7%). (See Exhibit 2.) ProSeries and Lacerte won the most regard for this (44.7% and 43.6%, respectively). Respondents who had control over the software selection process tended to regard their software as easier to use than those who did not. Users who had made the software purchasing decision (all brands) gave it an average 4.3 out of 5 for ease of use, while those with no involvement in the choice gave it an average 3.7.
Exhibit 2: What did you like best about the tax preparation software
you used for the 2010 tax season?

                            All      ATX   Drake  GoSystem  Lacerte
                          products                 Tax RS

Accuracy                     18.3%   3.3%   2.9%     12.9%    22.1%

Conversion process            0.1%   0.0%   0.2%      0.4%     0.1%

Ease of importing data        2.2%   0.8%   0.0%      5.6%     0.7%

Ease of use                  28.7%  21.7%  18.0%      1.5%    14.6%

Installation process          0.6%   0.6%   0.0%      3.9%     0.9%

Integration with other        6.5%   0.3%   0.0%      4.5%     0.7%
software

Learning curve                3.1%   0.8%   1.2%      4.1%     4.9%

Number of                    21.4%  23.6%   5.8%     31.5%    16.7%
forms/comprehensiveness

Price                         8.0%  43.1%  48.3%      1.5%     1.8%

Support                       6.3%   1.1%  20.7%      9.6%     3.9%

Tax research included in      1.3%   2.8%   1.2%      0.7%     1.1%
package

Other                         3.6%   1.9%   1.7%     11.8%     3.6%

                          ProSeries  ProSystem  TaxWorks  UltraTax
                                         fx                    CS

Accuracy                      11.8%      23.4%      3.7%     18.4%

Conversion process             0.2%       0.0%      0.0%      0.1%

Ease of importing data         1.0%       2.4%      1.5%      4.0%

Ease of use                   44.7%      19.3%     23.7%     27.5%

Installation process           0.9%       0.3%      0.0%      0.2%

Integration with other         3.1%       6.2%      0.0%     19.0%
software

Learning curve                 5.3%       2.3%      2.2%      2.1%

Number of                      8.2%      33.5%      5.2%     16.0%
forms/comprehensiveness

Price                         17.5%       0.9%     49.6%      2.7%

Support                        1.8%       6.4%     12.6%      7.5%

Tax research included in       1.8%       1.5%      0.0%      0.9%
package

Other                          3.6%       3.9%      1.5%      1.7%

Percentages are of users who indicated that they predominantly used
that product, except "All products" column, which shows percentage
of all respondents. Some columns do not add up to 100% dueto rounding.


For the next best-liked feature, number of forms/comprehensiveness, the spotlight Spotlight can refer to at least three types of lighting:
  • a searchlight;
  • stage lighting used in theatre to focus an audience's attention on a performer or event, known as a Followspot;
 shifted to ProSystem fx and GoSystem, both billed by their makers as tax preparation and compliance systems, at 33.5% and 31.5%, respectively. Users of those two products were also more likely than most others to pick integration with other software as the software's best quality, although UltraTax got the most thumbs up
''For the Chinese newspaper, see Thumbs Up (newspaper). For the Indian Cola drink, see Thums Up


A thumbs up or thumbs down is a common gesture represented by a closed fist held with the thumb extended upward or downward in approval or
 for that attribute (19%).

Not surprisingly, the feature of all products most likely to hit a sour note was price, which was faulted by significant numbers of users of Lacerte (56.6%), Ultra-Tax (53.7%), and ProSystem fx (45.3%). (See Exhibit 3.) Correspondingly, price was the factor most often cited by the relatively small number of respondents who reported switching software in 2011 (fewer than 500 for all products), predominantly pre·dom·i·nant  
adj.
1. Having greatest ascendancy, importance, influence, authority, or force. See Synonyms at dominant.

2.
 by former users of the same three products. On the other hand, nearly half the users of TaxWorks (49.6%) and Drake (48.3%) considered those products' price their most attractive point, followed closely by ATX (43.1%). But price is not everything, and respondents who used any of those three products last year but switched to another product this year most often cited concerns about accuracy and ease of use as the reason for the switch. However, those having switched in this case represent the opinions of only a handful of respondents--fewer than 45 for all three of these lower-cost software systems combined. (See Exhibit 4.)
Exhibit 3: What did you like least about the tax preparation software
you used for the 2010 tax season?

                            All      Atx   Drake  GoSysten  Lacerte
                          products                 Tax RS

Accuracy                      2.8%   6.1%   3.1%     12.4%     2.4%

Conversion process            1.4%   2.6%   3.4%      0.4%     0.6%

Ease of importing data        2.9%   6.7%   7.2%      3.1%     2.3%

Ease of use                   6.5%   5.3%   3.4%     24.7%     1.5%

Installation process          1.6%   1.5%   0.3%      0.6%     1.2%

Integration with other        6.0%  13.2%  19.1%      5.0%     5.6%
software

Learning curve                5.8%   4.4%   9.8%      8.5%     1.2%

Number of                     5.4%   3.5%  11.3%      5.0%     5.4%
forms/comprehensiveness

Price                        41.7%   7.6%   1.5%     12.7%    56.6%

Support                       5.8%  12.0%   2.6%      7.7%     6.0%

Tax research included in      8.0%  13.5%  12.4%      6.1%     6.7%
package

Other                        12.2%  23.7%  26.0%     13.8%    10.3%

                          ProSeries  ProSystem  TaxWorks  UltraTax
                                         fx                    CS

Accuracy                       1.9%       2.1%      9.4%      0.8%

Conversion process             1.7%       0.9%      1.6%      2.4%

Ease of importing data         2.9%       2.7%      4.7%      1.9%

Ease of use                    3.3%      10.5%      2.3%      3.3%

Installation process           1.4%       1.9%      7.8%      1.6%

Integration with other         5.1%       4.8%     10.2%      4.4%
software

Learning curve                 2.3%       8.9%      4.7%      6.4%

Number of                     17.9%       2.9%      6.3%      2.1%
forms/comprehensiveness

Price                         28.6%      45.3%      3.9%     53.7%

Support                        7.5%       5.0%      9.4%      3.6%

Tax research included in      12.4%       5.2%     14.8%      9.5%
package

Other                         15.1%       9.8%     25.0%     10.1%

Percentages are of users who indicated that they predominantly used
that product, except "All products" column, which shows percentage
of all respondents. Some columns do not add up to 100% dueto rounding.

Exhibit 4: Why did you switch from the software you used for the 2009
taxseason?

                            All      ATX   Drake  GoSystem  Lacerte
                          PRODUCTS                 Tax RS

Accuracy                     10.1%  27.8%  57.1%     29.0%     2.9%

Conversion process            3.2%    5.6   14.3      0.0%     0.7%

Ease of importing data        5.4%   5.6%   28.6     12.9%     3.6%

Ease of use                  17.8%  27.8%  57.1%     25.8%     2.9%

Installation process          3.4%  11.1%   7.1%      0.0%     0.7%

Integration with other       17.1%  22.2%  14.3%     19.4%    20.7%
software

Learning curve                5.9%   0.0%  21.4%      6.5%     2.1%

Number of                    14.6%  22.2%  35.7%     19.4%    12.1%
forms/comprehensiveness

Price                        46.4%  22.2%   7.1%     16.1%    55.0%

Support                      14.6%  22.2%  21.4%     22.6%     9.3%

Tax research included in      4.0%   5.6%   7.1%      0.0%     3.6%
package

Other                        27.9%  22.2%  14.3%     38.7%    26.4%

                                  ProSystem  TaxWorks  UltraTax
                                      fx                    CS

Accuracy                    6.1%       4.7%     45.5%      1.5%

Conversion process          2.0%       3.0%       9.1      2.9%

Ease of importing data      6.1%       4.1%      18.2      2.9%

Ease of use                 8.2%      23.1%     45.5%     17.6%

Installation process        0.0%       4.7%      9.1%      2.9%

Integration with other     12.2%      20.7%     36.4%      1.5%
software

Learning curve              2.0%       8.9%      9.1%      7.4%

Number of                  26.5%       1.8%     27.3%      8.8%
forms/comprehensiveness

Price                      51.0%      53.8%     36.4%     57.4%

Support                    20.4%      11.2%     27.3%     11.8%

Tax research included in    2.0%       4.1%     18.2%      2.9%
package

Other                      18.4%      30.8%      0.0%     33.8%

Shows percentage of respondents who answered that they switched
from the particular software; multiple responses were permitted.


Not having all the forms needed to prepare a return was seldom cited as the biggest drawback DRAWBACK, com. law. An allowance made by the government to merchants on the reexportation of certain imported goods liable to duties, which, in some cases, consists of the whole; in others, of a part of the duties which had been paid upon the importation. ; only 5.4% cited "number of forms/comprehensiveness" as the feature they liked least. However, when the survey asked separately whether their software contained all the forms they needed, 24% of users said no, including a majority of GoSystem users (52%), followed by users of ProSeries (43%). Among the top three products by numbers of users, UltraTax had the lowest percentage of dissatisfaction in this area (10%), with Lacerte and ProSys-tem fx at 26.9% and 23.3%, respectively. However, ATX ranked particularly well in this regard, with only a little less than 6% of users reporting not having needed forms. The data, however, did not indicate what forms users of any particular product needed.

Data Transfers, Updates, and Filing

Automatic (and accurate) transfer of data from one form to another within a return can make a big difference in speed and accuracy of preparing that return, and users rated Ultra-Tax, ProSeries, and Drake highly in this regard (all three received 4.4 out of 5). Drake also stood out in users' estimation estimation

In mathematics, use of a function or formula to derive a solution or make a prediction. Unlike approximation, it has precise connotations. In statistics, for example, it connotes the careful selection and testing of a function called an estimator.
 for handling updates to forms (4.7 out of 5). GoSystem and TaxWorks ranked lowest on this question at 3.5 and 3.9, respectively. Drake also ranked high on ease of general updates and installation (4.8), and each product averaged above a 4 on this question. Drake ranked highest in ease of paperless electronic filing (4.5), with only GoSystem ranking below a 4 (3.5).

Although integration with other accounting software was seldom considered a product's biggest like or dislike (6.5% and 6%, respectively), users were generally unenthusiastic about their software's ability in this regard. Here, Ultra Tax held a clear edge (4.1 out of 5), with the rest in the low to mid 3s.

Tech Support Still Needed

A nearly identical percentage of respondents to last year, 82% (down one percent-age point), reported needing technical support from their software's manufacturer. (See Exhibit 5.) Most, however, said the support was easy or very easy to obtain (76%) and was good or very good (74%). ProSeries and ATX prompted the lowest percentage of help requests at 61.1% and 71.4%, respectively, while 91.6% of Drake users and practically all users of TaxWorks (97%) sought assistance. Despite greater availability of online help in recent years, more users reached for the phone when flummoxed (95%) than queried by e-mail (30%) or online chat (16%). Most users (74%) said they received no training from their software provider, but those who did mostly rated it good or very good (67%).
Exhibit 5: Technical support

                All       ATX   Drake  Gosytem  Lacerte  ProSeries
              products         Tax RS

Did you need     82.0%  71.4%   91.6%    87.9%    81.1%      61.1%
tech
support? *

How easy was       4.1    3.9    4.8      3.7      3.9        3.9
it to get?

How good           4.0    3.8    4.5      3.4      4.0        3.9
was it?

Received support
by: **

Phone            94.6%  94.2%  96.6%    98.0%    89.1%      90.3%

E-mail           30.2%  32.7%  40.4%    18.9%   % 39.1      19.4%

Livechal/IM      16.2%  14.4%   2.6%     2.5%    27.1%      30.8%

Other             2.9%    3.1   0.8%     1.0%     3.0%       2.8%

              ProSytem  TaxWorks  UltraTax
                 fx                  CS

Did you need     85.6%     97.0%     85.4%
tech
support? *

How easy was       4.1       4.2       4.3
it to get?

How good           4.0       3.9       4.3
was it?

Received support
by: **

Phone            97.5%     94.7%     96.6%

E-mail           23.2%     45.0%     33.5%

Livechal/IM      17.8%     15.3%      4.5%

Other             3.7%      3.8%      2.5%

* Percentage of each product's users answering "yes."
** Percentage of those users who received support; multiple
answers permitted. All other answers: Average rating on a 1-5
scale, with 5 being best.


Tax Research

As in past years, we asked respondents who had switched software whether a factor was the bundling bundling, courtship custom, thought to have originated in Holland and the British Isles. It was extended to America, particularly to New England, and most widely practiced in the years prior to the Revolution of 1776.  of tax research software with their tax preparation software. Again this year, the percentage who said it was a factor was low (4%). However, this year we asked respondents to rate their tax research software (whether or not they switched or whether or not it was included with their tax preparation software). The answers to those questions will be included in a follow-up follow-up,
n the process of monitoring the progress of a patient after a period of active treatment.


follow-up

subsequent.


follow-up plan
 article in the September September: see month.  issue.

Product-by-Product Results

Full survey results for each product are available online at tinyurl TinyURL (tinyurl.com) is a web service created by Kevin Gilbertson that provides short aliases to redirect long URLs. Gilbertson, a web developer, launched the service in January 2002 because he wanted to be able to link directly to newsgroup postings which frequently had .com/2011softwa resurvey re·sur·vey  
tr.v. re·sur·veyed, re·sur·vey·ing, re·sur·veys
To survey or study anew.

n.
A new survey or study.

Noun 1.
.

EditorNotes

Paul Paul, 1901–64, king of the Hellenes (1947–64), brother and successor of George II. He married (1938) Princess Frederika of Brunswick. During Paul's reign Greece followed a pro-Western policy, and the Cyprus question was temporarily resolved.  Bonner Bonner may refer to:

Places
  • Bonner Springs, Kansas
  • Bonner County, Idaho
  • Bonners Ferry, Idaho
  • Bonner-West Riverside, Montana
  • Bonner, Australian Capital Territory, a suburb of Canberra
 is a senior editor of the Journal of Accountancy, For more information about this article; contact Mr. Bonner at pbonner@icpa.org See .org.

(networking) org - The top-level domain for organisations or individuals that don't fit any other top-level domain (national, com, edu, or gov). Though many have .org domains, it was never intended to be limited to non-profit organisations.

RFC 1591.
 or (919) 402-4434.
COPYRIGHT 2011 American Institute of CPA's
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Bonner, Paul
Publication:The Tax Adviser
Date:Aug 1, 2011
Words:2958
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