Starting A Tax Business? 5 Elements Of The Right Prep Software

As a paid tax preparer, one of your most valuable tools will be the tax preparation software you choose. How can you choose the right one to make your work easier and your clients happier? Here are five things to look for.

Intuitiveness. The software you work with should be intuitive for you. Buttons, menus, and other tools should be easy for you to find and to navigate. Because you and your staff will be the only ones using this software, focus on what is relevant for the way you enter data. This is highly personal, so pay attention to ease or complexity as you test drive software. While some actions or habits are learned, others might cause problems for as long as you use the program. 

Pricing Structure. The right pricing structure depends on how you run your business. If you have a large amount of clients, you may benefit from discounts for bulk purchases or bundled services. If you tend to purchase fewer transmittals, though, a single user price might be a more cost-effective situation. Be sure to include the costs of additional services like e-signatures or business forms. 

Connectivity. Consider other software or programs you use that you would either import from or export to. The software you choose should easily import information from spreadsheets and text files, for example. It should also connect easily with common programs that your clients use so they can upload or you can import in order to avoid redundant entries. 

Support. What kind of technical support and tax support can you get with a software? Think about the hours it's available versus the hours you work, especially during peak times of the season. Does it offer live support, chat support, phone support, or tax experts? Your level of needed support, of course, depends on what form of assistance you tend to prefer and what support you get through other means. 

Accessories. The accessories, or amenities, you should seek out depend on what you want to offer in your tax preparation business. If you'd like to branch out, offering tax planning services or other accounting services, make sure that your software is compatible or supports these other features. Would you like to provide remote services? Even if you don't currently offer certain services, plan ahead.

When you assess professional tax software for tax preparers, look for aspects that will make your work easier as well as keep the services affordable. The result will be a healthy bottom line and an easier tax season.