Case study

Early AI adopters realized big benefits

How one firm uses Checkpoint Edge™ and the CS Professional Suite® of products to offer the best service to clients

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T.C. Burgin, CPA, PC  is a family-owned firm that operates with six team members, led by T.C. Burgin. Being small allows them to focus on providing excellent service, thanks in part to the Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite of products and its latest addition, Checkpoint Edge. The Oklahoma City firm, offering tax services, business advice, payroll, and bookkeeping, has embraced a suite of Thomson Reuters products over the course of 30 years. T.C. Burgin, president and head CPA, shared his experience using Checkpoint Edge along with a suite of products to provide more efficiency in the firm and to better serve clients.

Small firm, big results

Though small, this firm has longevity in the community and prides itself on offering the best in customer service. Recently, T.C. Burgin, CPA, PC added Checkpoint Edge to the suite of products the firm was already using, which includes UltraTax CS®, Accounting CS®, and Practice CS®. 

“We used Checkpoint first which was great, but we have found as a firm, the overall platform in Checkpoint Edge is much more intuitive than in Checkpoint, and it’s a much more sophisticated platform and makes it easier to navigate search engines. There’s obviously been a lot of thought put into the platform itself … It is easier to drill down into, it’s more user friendly. And if you’re going to go back and do the complete tax analysis on an issue such as go to code regulation and interpretation, it’s much easier to compile, put together and keep us in good shape.”

Smart AI technology boosts functionality 

Like many accounting firms that may not know much about artificial intelligence (AI) and how it boosts the functionality of processes, T.C. Burgin, CPA, PC was new to the technology as well. Without knowing much about it, but as a longtime early technology adopter, the firm trusted Thomson Reuters enough to try out AI, ahead of almost everyone else.

“I knew nothing about AI. Frankly, you hear a lot about it in the news and you hear the talk about the algorithms, but as far as the actual practical knowledge of how it works, I know it’s going to make a lot of changes in the field … I began computer usage early. And so I’ve worked with Thomson Reuters for years and years and years … I received the demo [of Checkpoint Edge] and it worked. I hadn’t adopted all of the programs that Thomson Reuters provides, but as soon as I logged onto it and begin to enter search terms, it worked … The company has always been, in my opinion, at the leading edge of trying to improve their product and improve the relationship and  so I had no second thoughts about it, frankly. As soon as I typed it in I said, ‘Okay, I’m on board.’ ”

How Checkpoint Edge saves time

T.C. Burgin and the firm staff experienced firsthand how Checkpoint Edge saves time on research. When a client came in with a unique situation, the firm quickly went to Checkpoint Edge to help them out.

Burgin mentions, “We have a situation right now where we have a client who was in a lawsuit and received a settlement and it’s a very odd situation. It almost meets the definition of a casualty loss, but it’s not a casualty loss. And by using Checkpoint Edge, I was able to research it quickly. It was a large sum of money. They naturally are concerned about whether they are going to have to pay taxes or not. And I was able to delve into the issue, be able to then talk to the client, sell them on the fact that we’re going to have to really do some extensive tax research in this area in order to get them an answer that’s going to be defensible with the Internal Revenue Service, and that we’ve got the capability to do that. And so it’s resulted in an engagement in which we’re going to receive some significant fees. And I believe we’ll be able to get an answer that’s going to make the client happy. So, it works.

“Up until now, if there was any research to be done, I did it. Now I’ve got the capability to spread that to other people, to tell them what the question is, and they can begin to look at it from the search tool working backwards to provide the answers that we need so I can delegate some of that, whereas before I couldn’t. I would recommend Checkpoint Edge to anyone that’s looking for a comprehensive program to give them answers to complex accounting problems or complex tax problems that they’re going to need to analyze in order to get the correct answer for their clients. It’s a good tool and it just works.”

How UltraTax CS benefits the firm

The T.C. Burgin firm began using UltraTax CS to improve efficiency with tax review processes and preparation. This strong tax software takes human error out of the equation, speeds up the processing of returns, and allows for accuracy every time, taking the worry out of tax season. 

Burgin says, “The diagnostics for UltraTax CS are powerful and we utilize them in the review process and the preparation. They give us insight into areas that could easily be overlooked just in the detail of inputting the data and therefore can highlight areas that need attention and that we can then correct. And also, in the last few years they have begun to give us tax analysis that in the past they didn’t. They might tell us you didn’t check this box, or you didn’t fill out this form completely, but now they’re beginning to inform us with even deeper levels of information, like our client is not contributing the maximum amount to their 401k plan. This gives us some insight and then we can work with the client in order to get a better answer for them.

“UltraTax has enabled us to better able work with our clients because of the analysis we can do and the diagnostics as well as the year-to-year comparisons, so we can do pre-planning and also correct any issues or make them aware of tax opportunities that they may need. Through (Thomson Reuters) programs and through the help and just the overall training process, we utilize it extensively and it enables us to bring new employees on and get them up to speed and very quickly.

“We’ve been using UltraTax CS since it was first released and so we have used Thomson Reuters products for 30 years and it’s a valued partner for us. In relation to the integration of UltraTax CS with the other accounting programs along with Practice CS, we find that the ease of setting up clients, onboarding them, and being able to move them, especially in busy season, into an area where we can quickly and easily work on their returns is valuable.” 

T.C. Burgin has seen how the right software can also help manage all the new tax law changes that came with TCJA.

“I may be dating myself here, but as it relates to UltraTax and the current tax law, the TCJA, I was involved in the last major code revision in 1986. And the speed in which we have gotten up-to-date information and are able to integrate that into the planning process is remarkable compared to the way it was in 1986. There were issues that I thought we would never have addressed in the current year, and we have the capability and it operated basically pretty seamlessly through this last tax season. As far as recommendation for UltraTax CS, I think that if you look at industry publications, if you look at our experience with it over the years, we definitely consider it the premiere tax preparation program available in the field.”

"Our experience with Checkpoint Edge (is) it’s been a great enhancement to the entire Checkpoint platform. The search engine is so much more intuitive and we’re able to drill down much easier, much better. It’s a system that works and can get you an answer quickly. And if you go back into tax research and you start by going to tax code regulation interpretation, we’ve got the ability to get an answer that can benefit our client and also keep the firm in compliance."

T.C. Burgin

President and Head CPA,
T.C. Burgin CPA, PC

How Practice CS and Accounting CS assist the firm

As well as using Checkpoint Edge and UltraTax CS in their firm, T.C. Burgin, CPA, PC also uses Practice CS and Accounting CS. They help to streamline and monitor their data processes and procedures for billing, workload planning, and preparing tax returns more effectively and efficiently. The firm found the innovative aspects of the software to be very helpful in their practice. 

“The biggest advantage that we have seen relative to Practice CS is our ability to set up projects, monitor those, work with staff, and be able to quickly and easily identify where we are in the process, what our coming needs are, and help us to plan our workload, as well as then integrate that into the billing (cycle) and be able to bill quickly and efficiently. In the past, it wasn’t unusual for us to take a week or 10 days to get billings out. Now it’s within a day we’ve done the monthly billings. As far as one feature that I believe is instrumental to the firm, it would have to be the project monitoring. We could work around everything else, but the project monitoring is specific … and would be very difficult for us to do without.

“Since there was an Accounting CS, we have been using it. Accounting CS has enhanced the productivity of our firm in a variety of different ways. The ability to import data from Excel spreadsheets. We naturally have a wide variety of clients in a wide variety of fields and using a wide variety of software. And so the ability we have to import the information in, to code it so that it goes to the tax returns, the financial statement editor, all enhance our ability to prepare financial statements and do tax returns quickly and efficiently. As far as recommendation of Accounting CS, I would recommend it to other accounting firms, definitely.”

Strong technology helps build client relationships

T.C. Burgin found that using Checkpoint Edge and the suite of CS products, such as UltraTax CS, Accounting CS, and Practice CS, makes it easier for them to find answers and process their workflow with speed, accuracy, and effectiveness. By using a variety of products, they’re able to offer great service and have had extensive success and longevity with clients. This comprehensive software suite can help with even the most complex clients, allowing firms to provide the best in customer service, thus helping build strong client relationships and grow the firm.

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