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Why UltraTax CS is the best tax software for a small CPA firm
CPA Chris Papin explains why he won't even look at other tax prep software
What makes UltraTax CS the best tax software for smaller firms?
I am Chris Papin from Papin CPA. I'm located in Oklahoma City. Right now I've got three in-house people including me that are more or less full time and then we have a lot of seasonal and remote workers that get us to about four and a half full time equivalents.
UltraTax CS is really the only tax preparation software I truly know. I've used others and I quickly abandoned them because they end up segregated from everything else. So having the integrations like automatic data flow between returns and even other software makes UltraTax (CS) the top of the line product.
I say it numerous times but every CPA gets beat up by vendors all day every day about, "Please try our new... please do this. Please do that." I will not humor one phone call because UltraTax (CS) is it. It gives us the answers in our firm that are consistent and reliable and shares data. It makes it easy so we don't have to duplicate work.
I do use the multi-monitor features in UltraTax CS. I have five monitors on my desk. I get teased by clients all of the time about it but it does become extremely helpful to have the ability to customize, not just input and inform views, but I can turn monitors around or I've got a client facing monitor where I can show only certain data to the clients. It's a really nice tool and I like the fact that UltraTax (CS) gives you the ability to customize how you want it to be displayed.
We use the software as a service platform. So, in my environment, Thomson Reuters handles everything, updates, backups. It makes it easy for a small firm not to have to worry about the IT side of the firm. I've worked in environments in the past where everybody has to log out on a Tuesday to get an update because somebody needs a module that needs to be updated. And it makes it really hard especially at the beginning of tax season when you're trying to stay ahead of the curve when there's relevant software updates that are coming out. In my environment, I don't even know an update happens. I just log in and go which is wonderful.
One of the best benefits of Thomson Reuters products in general, particularly the CS Professional Suite is all of the integration. UltraTax (CS), Practice (CS), FileCabinet (CS) quickly are up and running for our firm whenever we do new client intake. Without it, there would be many small items that we would need to go back and revisit or kind of cross check, double check. But the software kind of dummie proofs it and says, "Hey, something changed. Would you like to look at this? Tell me what to do." Which is nice, especially when there's a lack of information flow.
UltraTax CS's user interface is pretty straightforward. From my perspective in training, I can approach it from three different ways. If I have a technical person who understands the return itself, we can kind of use the form to back into the inputs. If I've got a brand new somebody who may not understand all of the nuances of taxes, an administrative person for example who is just trying to help us get information into the system and get the ball rolling, we can give them an organizer view and kind of water the information down but begin to start populating the data to save some time. And then of course, you've got your typical input view which fortunately is uniform across most of the CS software so it makes it easy for training purposes to take a new person and say, "Look here. Look at income. Income will contain several components but here is your guidepost." I think from at least my training perspective, allows people to start to see the information flow through the software. I'm a big proponent of if you know how the software works, you can avoid the pitfalls. Don't just key stuff in because sometimes if you miss an input, it will never show up.
So understanding kind of the different ways and being able to have a little bit of a validation tool within the software itself is great for our team. I would recommend UltraTax CS to another firm because in my mind there is no other tax prep software. I fully understand there's many competitors out there but there's none that do it to the level that UltraTax (CS) does. It's integrated. It's fairly straightforward. It's easy to implement. And it also offers a lot of depth on the back end for those techy geek users like I am to go data mine and go find information to offer value added services.
Part of the reason Papin CPA uses the CS Professional Suite and Thomson Reuters products as a whole is because of the depth. If you need to be the super deep precise expert, you can, even though you may not already know the topic. And it's usually one or two phone calls away. If it's product specific, there are specialists on the other end who can get you the answer within a reasonable amount of time. If it's research specific, there's not a piece of information that's not out there. All you've got to do is make a phone call and chase it down.
So it brings a lot of confidence to me and my firm when I get clients who maybe are a little bit outside or new to us, we can go in and say, "Yes, we'll accept this engagement" knowing that we have the support in the background to make sure that the firm has the resources it needs to be successful.