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How to optimize the tax research process

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

Are you spending too much time on tax research? If so, it is time to rethink your approach.

As a tax and accounting professional, you are well aware that tax research and staying current with new developments can be time-consuming, especially in today’s ever-changing legislative and regulatory environment. In fact, state legislatures have found that keeping pace with the changes and complexity of tax laws continues to be a top concern for most CPA firms.

For some practitioners, it is likely that Google — which is quick, easy to use, and free — has become the go-to resource in their tax research toolbox. While Google can be a good starting point for basic research, there are advantages to leveraging an industry-specific tax research platform.

Practitioners who turn to a tax research platform for their research needs can spend less time searching, avoid getting overwhelmed with too many results and can sharpen their skills. Let’s take a closer look.

Spend less time on your tax research

Today’s practitioners are strapped for time in light of rising client demands and expectations, as well as staffing constraints. The time that is spent sifting through scores of Google search results is time that can be spent serving clients and doing what matters most for the practice.

And for those accounting professionals working in corporate tax departments, the need to know how new tax regulations will impact their businesses is paramount.

That’s why it is important to leverage a tool during your tax research process that provides the fastest answers to the most complex tax law and regulatory questions. Enter Thomson Reuters Checkpoint Edge.

Checkpoint Edge is a robust, intelligent tax and accounting research tool that delivers editorial expertise and the latest in AI, cognitive computing, and machine-learning technologies.

It draws on the Checkpoint tax databases, which include more than 25,000 tax laws, insights, and analysis updates each month from the Checkpoint editorial team, to help ensure practitioners have the latest developments at their fingertips and stay informed as rulemaking happens.

Among the features are several time-saving tools, including document comparison, state charts, and a shared folder system.

  • Document comparison: This feature enables users to easily compare official documents from the past six years, including the Internal Revenue Code, treasury regulations, IRS rulings, procedures, and state statutes. Users can work with Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, or manual tracking.
  • State charts: Begin research with multi-state tax comparison charts for quick answers and save valuable time with one-click access to State Tax Reporters for on-point primary law and editorial explanations.
  • Shared folder system: This enables practitioners to take their folder system to a new level. Users who save and organize their research documents in personal folders can share documents at the account level with others who have access to Checkpoint Edge.

Checkpoint Edge also incorporates natural language processing technologies, which enable plain English queries. This means it can understand human language as it is spoken and written so searching is similar to, and just as easy as, searching via Google.

Improve your tax research process

As noted earlier, Google can be a good starting point for basic research. It can provide a broad overview of tax research. And Google is no doubt easy to use, which has helped fuel its success. However, it can provide exponentially greater search results. Sifting through all of those results can quickly become time-consuming and even overwhelming.

Avoid falling into a tax research rabbit hole with a platform like Checkpoint Edge. The AI-powered algorithms within Checkpoint Edge scan thousands of primary sources and editorial interpretations to quickly surface relevant information. And it continually synthesizes users’ questions and search behaviors to learn and improve search results as it is used.

This means practitioners can quickly find specific information pertinent to their client’s tax situation earlier on in the tax research process. This saves time and reduces the risk of errors and misinterpretation of information.

Plain language explanations, practitioner insights, and practical examples further help practitioners cut through the clutter to find the answers they need.

The intuitive experience can prove especially beneficial for junior staff. The ease of use enables junior staff to find their own answers, which frees up senior staff to spend more time on higher-value, higher-margin tasks.

Sharpen your skills

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Leverage the tips and tricks within Checkpoint Edge to help sharpen your skills.

Plus, through the in-product onboarding center, practitioners can learn key platform functionalities and best practices via multimedia content, including videos. This enables users to quickly acclimate to core user flows and key features.

There’s also training available. Users can link directly to the tax and accounting professionals learning center, which provides instructions on how to register for the Checkpoint Edge full-length free training. Furthermore, the Checkpoint support team is available to answer questions or set up a training session.

Stop spinning your wheels during the tax research process and turn to a robust tax research platform to save time, drive efficiencies, and mitigate the risk of errors.

Checkpoint Edge enables you to find fast, accurate answers with a more fluid and intuitive user experience. Harness the power of Checkpoint Edge to get through tax season with confidence.

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