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Checkpoint Edge: Trusted Sites

Checkpoint Edge: Tax research you can trust

Financial relationships are built on trust. Businesses need to trust that their finance and tax functions are serving them as intelligently as possible, using the best available information. And those tax and accounting professionals need to trust that the information they are relying upon to make decisions for the business is accurate and reliable—in a word: trustworthy.

One of the great ironies of Big Data, however, is that there is so much information available from so many places, it’s difficult to know which sources to trust. That’s one of the problems the Thomson Reuters development team aimed to solve when it developed the AI-powered search technology behind Checkpoint Edge, the latest iteration of the company’s Checkpoint research and guidance tool for tax and accounting professionals.

Built for tax pros

Users of Checkpoint Edge can be certain the answers they get are accurate because the informational ecosystem in which the program operates is customized to meet the needs of tax and accounting researchers, not the general public.

To begin with, Checkpoint Edge is supported by the same award-winning proprietary databases that Checkpoint’s 200,000+ user community has been relying upon for years. These databases are curated and updated by hundreds of expert Thomson Reuters editors who continuously monitor the legal and regulatory landscape for changes in tax policy all over the world. The program’s extensive support time is dedicated to making certain that policy shifts are accounted for, so that users of Checkpoint Edge can be confident the tax information they are getting is correct and up-to-date.

In tech circles, the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” has always been a cautionary reminder that poor data leads to poor results. But the inverse is also true: the better the source data, the more accurate and reliable the results are likely to be. Thomson Reuters has spent many years—decades even—developing and improving its professional proprietary databases, which are the backbone of its iconic professional research platforms, Westlaw and Checkpoint. Indeed, Checkpoint Edge was developed by the same cognitive-computing team that developed Westlaw Edge and Westsearch Plus, the latest AI-enhanced versions of Thomson Reuters’ industry-leading legal research platform.

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. 

Verified information only

Just as Westlaw Edge leverages AI/machine-learning technology to improve legal searches, Checkpoint Edge’s algorithm only scans the most credible public sites for tax-related information, thereby filtering out potentially misleading search results from unverified or unreliable sites. For example, a Checkpoint Edge search will scan such reliable government sources as IRS.gov, IRS Tax Map, and USA.gov, as well as the sites of such respected professional organizations as AICPA, EY, and Deloitte. Checkpoint Edge’s algorithm also pulls information from reputable sites dedicated to specific tax practice areas such as real estate, mergers and acquisitions, non-profits, and multinational business. National and international news feeds are also monitored for late-breaking regulatory changes or other events that may influence or impact an organization’s tax strategy.

When Checkpoint Edge’s AI/machine-learning algorithm conducts a search, it not only scans these public and proprietary databases for answers, it also draws inferences from the collective search behaviors of Checkpoint’s 200,000+ user base. For any given tax search, the likelihood is high that others have conducted similar searches, and Checkpoint Edge uses that data to refine its own results. The algorithm also learns from each individual user search, and over time improves itself by synthesizing the data from accumulated user search patterns into a kind of technical “intuition” about what information the user is looking for and why.

Help is just a click away

Checkpoint Edge users don’t see any of this technological wizardry, of course, and don’t need to—it all happens in the background. But the reason Checkpoint Edge is such a powerful tool for tax research is that it combines the most comprehensive and reliable tax knowledge available with the most sophisticated AI-powered search engine ever developed for tax researchers, in an elegant, easy-to-use interface that requires little or no training to master.

Fair or not, tax and accounting professionals are expected to know pretty much everything about the laws and regulations that apply to their businesses, and must somehow maintain this expectation in a professional environment where change is constant and time for study is limited. Checkpoint Edge helps tax professionals serve their businesses better by ensuring that the latest, most relevant tax information is available right there on their desktop, not hidden away in the dark recesses of the internet. Help is just a click or two—not an hour or two—away.

Search with confidence

When evaluating professional research platforms, it can be difficult to visualize what makes one search better than another, because so much of what actually happens during a “search” is invisible. But no matter how complex these processes become, one thing remains true: the best defense against bad data is high-quality information from a trusted source. The developers of Checkpoint Edge have worked tirelessly to identify and aggregate the most reliable tax resources available so that finance professionals can be confident they are serving their businesses as responsibly and effectively as possible.

In business relationships, trust is everything. The question those who don’t use Checkpoint Edge need to ask themselves is: Why risk that trust if you don’t have to?

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