In 1997, only 18 percent of American households had internet access. Google didn’t exist. And tax and accounting professionals spent hours each day sifting through books and physical files in search of information.
Those answers are now available at the click of a button — on any device, anywhere in the world — thanks to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint.
Since its debut 20 years ago, Checkpoint has become the undisputed leader of tax and accounting online research and guidance, used by all of the top 100 CPA firms in the U.S., along with 97 of the top 100 law firms and 99 of the Fortune 100 companies.
What began as an online content library is now a complete tax and accounting research solution that includes expert analysis, news, educational courses and tools that help professionals advise their clients with insight and efficiency.
As Checkpoint celebrates its 20th anniversary, we look back on where we began and look forward to the future.
From CD-ROM to Social Media
Checkpoint can trace its origins much further back than 1997 — to the time of the Dust Bowl, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Amelia Earhart’s historic flights.
In 1935, Research Institute of America (RIA) began publishing the type of tax reports and analysis that would become central to the solutions found on Checkpoint when Thomson Corp. later acquired RIA.
Checkpoint was originally created following the philosophy of “studying the practitioner’s problems and giving a solution in a language that’s understandable.”
Though that broader goal of Checkpoint remained consistent, its format has evolved as technology changes how information is accessed. The platform’s predecessor, RIA OnPoint, debuted on CD-ROM before Checkpoint became the first web-based tax research tool. Checkpoint went mobile in 2012 and recently added social media content to help firms connect with customers.
Along the way, Checkpoint has consistently added real-time news and analysis from sources like RIA, WG&L, PPC and EBIA, along with interactive tools that streamline work and increase accuracy.
The breadth and centralization of resources has made Checkpoint the go-to platform for tax and accounting firms.
“We find that when we use Checkpoint, we have more confidence in the work that we’re doing,” says Andrew Pavloff of Knack, Pavloff & Co. LLP in Monticello, New York. “It’s a lot of protection for both the client and the firm.”
A Virtual Future
For the tax and accounting industry, the next 20 years could be as eventful as the last, as technology such as automation and artificial intelligence changes the operations of firms worldwide.
Industry experts say that Checkpoint will continue guiding tax and accounting professionals as their roles shift from collecting data to interpreting it.
Cathy Clarke, CPA, feels better situated to gather valuable insights as firms face increased competition and price compression driven by big data.
“This demands that we provide more value in a more efficient way in order to differentiate ourselves in the market,” says Clarke, chief assurance officer at Minneapolis-based CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. “Checkpoint has kept pace with the change of technology. It’s a go-to for us for timely, detailed information that helps us as we continue to bring innovative approaches to serving our clients.”
Tools like Checkpoint will become smarter in guiding users through audits and tax returns, allowing professionals to spend less time on manual work and more time interacting with clients, says Jon Baron, managing director of the Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting Professional Segment. “We should be able to move where we want to go,” he says, “beyond compliance work to becoming true trusted business partners for our clients who can help them grow their businesses.”
The History of Checkpoint: A Timeline
Click on the year to walk through the timeline.
Thomson Corp. launches Checkpoint, the first web-based tax research tool.
Checkpoint becomes available 24/7 as features like custom tax thesaurus and search within results are added.
Thomson Corp. partners with IBFD, which provides materials on Checkpoint.
New additions to Checkpoint include PPC Tools integrated with CS, SECPlus, RIA Tax Alerts and Estate Planning Tax Return Guides.
Checkpoint adds resources including International Accounting Standards Board content and the PPC's complete line of accounting and auditing titles.
Checkpoint World launches internationally.
Checkpoint is now available in Australia, New Zealand, Peru and Brazil.
Created specifically for the web, Checkpoint Catalyst takes business tax research to an entirely new level.
New Answer Path provides a fast path to answers, and Checkpoint Marketing for Firms Social Media Solutions launches to accounting firms.
Checkpoint is used by all of the top 100 CPA firms in the U.S., 97 of the top 100 law firms and 99 of the Fortune 100.
Visit tax.tr.com/checkpoint for industry-leading intelligent information for tax and accounting professionals.