Checkpoint Edge: Streamlined Design

Tax research has never been easier, faster, or better

One of the most frustrating things about tax research is that it tends to take a lot of time. Not just regular time, mind you, but time that wasn’t anticipated, time that interrupts workflow, time that could be devoted to more productive and rewarding activities. Consequently, finance professionals often find themselves in a familiar bind: work pressures make it difficult to research matters as thoroughly as they’d like, yet they can’t afford to miss anything either.

But what if there was a better way to do tax research—a fast, efficient way that also provided answers one could be confident were correct? And what if this better way were so easy to use that it didn’t require any extra training? As a bonus, what if this remarkable solution were so elegant and streamlined that it fit seamlessly into a tax pro’s normal workflow?

Streamlined for success

When Thomson Reuters developed Checkpoint Edge, the latest AI-powered version of its popular Checkpoint tax-research platform, there were two main engineering goals: One was to shorten the amount of time between the initiation of a search and its conclusion, and the other was to make the research process itself so intuitive that almost anyone could do it. 

To accomplish this, Checkpoint Edge’s designers dissected and analyzed every part of the query-and-search process, paying particular attention to how real-life tax professionals actually go about finding the information they seek. Five years of logs from Checkpoint’s 200,000+ user base were examined for clues about search behavior, topics of inquiry, concept groupings, language patterns and other data pertaining to professional tax-research habits, from the practical to the peculiar.  

Using these real-world behavioral insights to guide their design, the development team built an entirely new search engine from the ground up. The result—Checkpoint Edge—is the most sophisticated, easiest-to-use tax-research platform ever created. And it is operated through an interface so streamlined and intuitive that little or no training is necessary to get started. 

A flexible, intuitive AI

Unlike more cumbersome tax-research tools, beginning a search in Checkpoint Edge is no more difficult than using Google or Bing. Just type your question and/or keywords into the search bar, then wait a second or two for the results. It doesn’t matter how the question is phrased or if the user doesn’t know precisely what they’re looking for; Checkpoint Edge’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) is so sophisticated that it will extrapolate the likely target of a search by comparing it to millions of other similar tax-related queries. One doesn’t even have to type in a complete question, because the platform’s AI will suggest likely questions (called “predictive queries”) to help move the search forward.    

The difference between a basic Google search and a Checkpoint Edge search, however, is in how the resulting information is gathered, organized, and displayed. Checkpoint Edge’s AI algorithm scans proprietary Thomson Reuters databases, public sites and global news feeds for relevant tax-specific information, then organizes and displays it in a way that helps the user quickly clarify and focus their search. The fact of the matter is that most searches do not immediately yield a perfect answer, but Checkpoint Edge gets much closer by displaying its initial search results in a way that makes logical sense to tax professionals, and raises the success rate of the crucial second step in any given search. 

Designed for tax research

Part of the reason Checkpoint Edge outperforms a typical search with Google or Bing is that the interface is designed with tax professionals in mind, offering suggestions and options they may not have considered, based on a deep understanding of international tax codes, policies, and regulations. A handy navigation bar allows users to keep track of where the information is located—editorial materials, primary source materials, news/current awareness, public sites, etc.—and each of those categories can be quickly narrowed down through checkbox filters created by the AI to guide the user toward other potentially useful information. Each search is also accompanied at the top of the page by “concept markers” that automatically organize tax information into helpful sub-groups, providing further assistance and guidance.  

Though Checkpoint Edge’s streamlined interface is designed for simplicity and speed, it is also designed to help inexperienced researchers locate the same answers as their more experienced counterparts, in the same amount of time. In fact, Checkpoint Edge’s design logic mimics the intuitive thought process a more knowledgeable researcher would follow. The difference is that Checkpoint Edge’s tax “knowledge” base doesn’t take twenty years to accumulate. It can be accessed instantaneously in a few keystrokes. 

Reliable results

For tax professionals, tracking regulatory changes and shifting interpretations of tax law is a necessary part of the job, of course. But so is being 100-percent certain the answers one finds—and uses to justify a particular course of action—are correct. Checkpoint Edge not only helps tax researchers find the correct answer faster, it also provides an extra level of confidence in whatever strategic or tactical decisions are based on that research.

In other words, Checkpoint Edge saves tax professionals time, yes, but it also provides the peace of mind that comes with a job well done. What users do with all that extra confidence is a personal choice, of course. But with Checkpoint Edge on their desktop, they’ll have plenty of extra time to think about it.

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