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Online version of TaxCycle


#1

Just wondering if TaxCycle is working on an online version?

Intuit has one: https://proconnect.intuit.com

Even CCH has one: https://wolterskluwer.ca/products/ifirm/


#2

Let us review what you are talking about here…

The Intuit version is for US tax returns. Not Canadian. However, the CCH version is Canadian. So, let us look a little closer at that.

It is not a cloud version per se. It is the desktop version running on a virtual PC. Meaning that it is not a cloud app that runs on PC, Tablet or Smartphone, but is available to all in varying degrees of progressively small print.

Now that we have determined what is available, if we look at what others using taxcycle do, you will find that several offices have put taxcycle on virtual PC or MS servers, then access the software through remote sessions. So, you can have a cloud version of taxcycle, but you have to purchase the two parts separately and put them together. Trilogy (rightly) focuses on tax software and allows you to find the cloud solution that works for you.

Now, there is nothing stopping you from going out and purchasing virtual PC instances, creating an accountant’s image version of the virtual PC with taxcycle and other software bundles, then selling this to Canadian accountants. I believe that Trilogy would be happy to receive their subscription fees directly from you instead of trying to collect from several accountants.


#3

Not to mention that any attempts by Intuit to create online tax features to date have been pitiful at best – appear to be developed by novice coders with no knowledge of workflow or tax preparation. I wouldn’t trust it for a minute!


#4

I’m one user who uses remote desktop software to access my office desktop applications and data. I don’t see the need for an on-line version. To use TaxCycle remotely or “online”, I need my data (and I wouldn’t want my data stored in the cloud). To access my data I have to create that connection to my office computer. If I can do that, I may as well use the software provided as is.


#5

I agree with Kevin.

We use RDS for all of our applications and have no interest in cloud versions of QuickBooks, CaseWare, or any tax software.

While it is likely that the next time we are due for a server replacement we will end up with an offsite solution on shared infrastructure, our plan it to have a private cloud and operate much as we do with our current onsite server.


#6

Agree with most everyone’s verdict here. You can save the TaxCycle returns in a cloud-based or VPN accessible place, or you can run TaxCycle on a virtual machine, all fairly easily.

If this is all new, have a look at something like Sync.com or Welcome Networks (I use the first, but not the second)

I’d rather TaxCycle keep focus on improving the tax workflow, personally.


#7

+1 here.

Remote server (encrypted) with TaxCycle and client data, among other things - access via RDP. Nothing could be easier.

A"cloud" version of tax software, like accounting software, is a pie-in-the-sky concept to me. For a single user (or small user-base) accounting software and data “in the cloud” makes some sense, but frankly has too many limitations and is not as flexible as just RDPing to a cloud-based server. The only real difference is maintenance of the OS (and not allowing either rogue software or internet browsing other than to CRA eg. on the remote server). All email vetted elsewhere then forwarded to prevent malware infections.

Cameron, do what you do best: make the greatest tax software (3rd time lucky?)!


#8

I am very satisfied with desktop tax apps using my desktop, remote desktop access, and plan to add a server next year.

I much prefer the functionality and presentation layer using desktop services.

At the same time, my biggest issues have been included the following:-
1. Sending and managing client document requests, securely, effectively, and efficiently.
2. Collaborating with clients on their bookkeeping and financial statements.
3. Providing clients with easy to search document portals.

For these reasons I am adding or have added the following cloud capabilities:-
1. Client cloud document portal. SmartVault.
2. Client cloud document management system (DMS) accessed by folder or search. SmartVault.
3. Cloud based practice workflow app for collaboration with client and to document all forms of communication.
Karbon HQ for workflow
17 Hats to house checklists
Plan to add Thomson Reuters Practice next summer
4. Add cloud based QBO and Xero in addition to QB Desktop (QBDT).
5. Plan to add server next fall.
6. Plan to add Caseware next fall.

As a solopreneur the infrastructure costs of implementing server based client portal, client DMS, practice management, and client access to QBDT are cost prohibitive this fall/winter.
Will revisit next summer.
Love to hear more about others’ set-up.


#9

@paperworknightmare

The Intuit tax offer is Profile. As a 17 year Profile user I am delighted with the efficiencies and effectiveness improvement that I have experienced since switching to TaxCycle. Mostly I love the tech support and bug free environment.
http://profile.intuit.ca/professional-tax-software/index.jsp

As a user in sub-contract situations of TaxPrep, beware of the workflow and licensing limitations. Also beware of the disconnect between the marketing speak and the actual offer. I was shocked at the disconnect. Also beware of hidden costs and your assumptions.


#10

While what you are attempting to accomplish is admirable, personally I think it’s overkill for a solo practice. The overhead in time management alone of all those disparate services will (IMNSHO) far outweigh the time and structural issues involved in managing in a more simplified manner.

So your clients need to do a bit more work - it’s not a lot. TeamViewer lets you access their machines/systems and do what you need to with them. Want to go face-to-face and can’t - get a cheap Zoom account (or similar). Google Apps and MS Office 365 online both offer opportunities for doc storage, management and archiving, all with little effort. Email programs can be made to easily segregate client info and communications.

Focusing on the client and results for them - to me - is more important that managing technology. Keep it simple, inexpensive and effective.

There’s a balance to that, same as the old adage: cheap, fast or good - pick two.

(Note: TaxCycle fits that - and almost hits all three…it’s “affordable enough”.)


#11

I would love to see TaxCycle move to a cloud-based interface similar to Xero bookkeeping software (it is beautiful) and have DoxCycle work similar to Hubdoc. Moving towards an environment in which there are no updates to do on each computer would be heavenly. Just log in and go.


#12

Our firm had been using Profile for 15+ years; however, when they started to prioritize pushing their cloud offerings on us over improving the desktop software we decided to move on.

Echoing most of the sentiments above, I would certainly prefer that TaxCycle continue focusing on their core competency: great professional desktop tax preparation software. There are a ton of third party options to take things to the cloud if that’s a customer’s preferred setup.


#13

And what will you do if(when) internet is down towards the end of tax season?


#14

Internet infrastructure has come a long way since the early 2000s. Cloud-based software is the future of all technology. If Trilogy doesn’t build it - someone will.


#15

I agree with you regarding the internet reliability increasing each year. I’m not so sure about the inevitability of a successful on-line professional tax program. If the CIA can be hacked then so can some cloud-based tax software vendor. The risk can be minimized but not eliminated. The consequences of a hack and the release of personal information would be devastating to an accountant’s practice. It’s a risk I wouldn’t take.


#16

… or if you wanted to do it yourself… which is along the lines of what @matthew & @kevin are doing, but in a cloud environment you could check out a service such as Welcome Networks. This type of service gives you the power of your desktop applications, but in a cloud environment.

These guys install whatever software you hold a licence to on their server and you can run all of your applications in a hosted environment… accessible from anywhere in the world. If memory serves me, unlike some other cloud hosts who will terminate a session for inactivity, Welcome Networks retains your connection regardless of how long you may stay idle.

The biggest benefit from using a service like this is being able to access your software from any location, but also it allows you to swap out a computer in your office and be up and running in less than an hour… rather than a day or days of configuration.

I think they are based out of Burnaby BC, servers located in Canada, and from people I have spoken with who use them are very flexible to work with.

http://www.welcomenetworks.com/for-accounting-firm.htm


#17

@ryan

There are pros and cons to desktop vs cloud apps.

  1. Desktop can be more secure if and only if proper security and privacy measures are in place.

  2. Desktop apps are significantly less expensive and evergreened since you can still open files using older licenses long after you have halted your subscriptions.

  3. Desktop apps do not rely on internet availability to access the app or data.

  4. Desktop apps can be accessed remotely one user at a time using Teamviewer (and other apps), or, for multiple users set-up on a local or hosted Server or Virtual shared server with VPN access, remote desktop, or other access methods. I run two desktops - main + backup/scanner station. I can remote in using Teamviewer. I buy high quality systems with tons of redundancy, two sets of mirrored drives in RAID 1. One set runs my systems. Second set runs my internal back-ups. External back-ups and cloud back-ups on top.

  5. Hosting services are very expensive and often limited to the apps that they support with some notable exceptions. In my pricing analysis, for a single user, the breakeven point for local Server over a hosting vendor with a virtual server is after two years. Most expect a minium annual fee of $2500 to $3500. Most servers cost about $3000 to $5000 for hardware and OS software. Memory Express starts around $2500 and up. Installation and tech support is extra. I pay Geeks on the Way $95/hr onsite with excellent service. For my workstations I use Memory Express depot for workstations. For more complex network issues you may need a server specialist. These usually start at about $200/hr. Servers can be organized and supported to last 7 years or more if built with redundancy, spare parts, and excellent quality parts and provisioned at the high end. You should budget $500 to $1000 per year for tech support. So, it becomes a question of who wants the headache balanced against which apps they third party is willing to support. This is limited only by your budget.

  6. Cloud apps can be very appealing, especially for bookkeeping write-up, cloud document management systems, workflow tools, and apps. Risk is how to maintain secure and private access for 7 years as required for clients, for 10 years for CRA adjustments, and portability after a client engagement is over.

  7. Privacy and security. This is a hot and relevant topic. Some use a client code for their cloud document management system. Some use dual authentication. Others use a special Internet Services Provider based tools. Shaw has a new extensive set of offers design for the solo and small business user. Others use special virtual links to block users from some regions. This is a very big and complex topic.

CPA Academy - CYBERSECURITY 2017: SECURITY TIPS FOR WORKING IN THE CLOUD - https://www.cpaacademy.org/webinars/a0D4400000SN5AQEA1

CPA + First Reference - IT Policy Pro - http://www.firstreference.com/informationtechnologypolicypro.aspx?ref=index

Udemy - Cyber Security Courses - https://www.udemy.com/topic/cyber-security/

Amazon.ca - https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cyber+security

  1. Internet access. limitations. Canadians are still poorly supported in remote and rural regions. My clients on acreage just outside of Calgary use their cellphones or local rural providers for internet access. This is not the big and super fast pipe that urban users have come to expect.

  2. COST - annual or one-time vs monthly. With the downward pressure from clients re fees and every rising costs of infrastructure and monthly over-head in the form of apps etc, there is room for desktop tax apps for some time to come.

  3. Desktop or Cloud vs a client server integration. Some desktop apps provider who have added cloud versions have enabled a portable version where you upload your synch and download the synch to the server. This was you can run your apps on your server, workstation, and from the cloud. There is a synch hirarchy such that your server version takes precedence. The cloud is the synch interface. When you are travelling or at a client site your have a snap shot version which you can synch to the cloud. Obviously two people can not be working on the same file on the same day when you have checked it out. Can’t remember who has this - Caseware, Thomson Reuters Practice CS, or someone else. It a practice management vendor re working papers, I think. Saw it sometime last year or the prior year. Can’t remember. Death in the family last year and my memory is a bit jumbled from last summer.

  4. In the past we had Profile loaded on the server and on workstations. When we went to clients we took the laptop. When the file was ready to review, print, efile, the file was emailed to the person managing all the efiles from the server or main workstation. All we needed to do was download the file to the correct folder. Reopen. Review and sign-off. Then all returns were efiled from the server version. Not sure if and how this might work with Taxcycle.

In conclusion,
For the time being I am happy with Taxcycle as a desktop app. I would prefer the app functionality to be the priority. Once Taxcycle has fully matured, then ease of use on the road could be considered. For the time being there are many excellent workarounds available.


#18

I can see value in moving DoxCycle towards something cloud-based like Hubdoc if it means more powerful OCR and AI than my physical server can provide. But it changes the game from DoxCycle being a software to being a service - a big change in direction business- and development-wise.

I love Xero (it is beautiful), but I still would rather TaxCycle focus on more efficient tax workflow, and take care of my own virtualization of the tax-process using some of the great tools out there such as Welcome Network or Sync.com.

If anything, if TaxCycle found value in establishing a formal partnership with a third-party that would enable more cloud-based process, similar to what they have with e-courier, I would value that.