Accountant looking through client tax software options

9 Questions to Ask Yourself When Changing Client Tax Software

If you have grown your accounting practice by offering tax preparation services, then you are in need of a reliable professional tax software product. If you are changing up your client tax tools, like the software you use, then you should consider some questions to help you narrow down your search. 

For that reason, determine the answers to the following questions when looking for tax software for Canadian tax professionals to help you decide on the best tool for your practice.

1. How Will My Client Tax Data Transfer From One Software to the Next?

Since your client data is the soul of your company, you’ll need to keep that data secure when switching from one platform to another. This is especially true if you have current year returns and prior year returns of clients. For that reason, consider a software product that allows for the seamless transition of data from your old system to your new one. 

Look for tax software that has data transfer, like carry-forward and auto-fill for tax returns. This is paramount for any busy tax professional, saving time and stress during tax return season.

2. Is There Customer Support to Help Me With My Transition? 

Should you need help with any new software features or data transfer, will there be a customer support person to assist you? Some software companies offer extensive help desk hours or customer support services alongside their products for no additional fees. 

So, when shopping around for professional tax software in Canada that will work for your firm, take note of the product’s support services. Is there a dedicated team to help you should any issues arise when installing, transferring data, or using the software for taxes in the future? If not, then consider choosing another product. 

You could even go one step further and look for a product that offers community support and a resource hub of information. Such tax advice and support could be invaluable to you come tax season time. 

3. Do I Need Cloud-Based Software?

When paying for new software, you'll want one that will stand up to the test of time and offer the latest features and capabilities so that you can use it for as long as possible. Cloud tax software is the latest in software development. Therefore, to stay relevant and up to date on technology, you should purchase a software product that offers cloud capabilities. This will allow you to access your data from anywhere at any time, as long as you have the internet. 

At the same time, cloud computing software allows for multiple users to access a client account at the same time. Larger firms can benefit from this capability, as more accountants and tax professionals can work on the income tax files simultaneously. This will avoid delays when processing and reviewing taxable income details of clients, saving time, effort, and money at once. 

4. What Security Does This Product Have That Will Protect My Client's Data? 

Data security is a must-have, especially when it comes to sensitive client data. You will want to ensure the safekeeping of your clients’ information during its processing and tax filing online. Therefore, tax professionals and accountants in Canada must find secure and reliable tax software.

Products like QuickBooks Online Accountant software offer industry-recognized security safeguards, like AES256 encryption for all data, as well as TLS encryption, password-protected logins, and firewall-protected servers. Keep an eye out for these things to ensure you choose software that won’t compromise your firm and its tax advisors.

5. Is the Tax Return Software Certified by the CRA for EFILE?

The software should be a certified tax software that allows for connection with the Government of Canada’s electronic tax filing service. The product should have Auto-fill, Representative authorization, T1135, PAD, ReFILE, Express NOA, and Business Consent services to file your client returns online easily with the Canada Revenue Agency. 

QuickBooks Online Accountant Pro Tax, for example, has obtained this certification for this year and previous tax years. Pro Tax offers users the ability to electronically file tax forms and returns directly to the Government of Canada by using EFILE. You may also be able to use this online filing as a payment method to pay client taxes and secure a tax refund for clients with a direct deposit to the client’s bank account. 

Learn more about registering the software for electronic filing.

6. Is the Update Process Manual or Automatic, and How Will it Affect Workflow? 

An automatic update is a change in software provided by the developer and distributed through an automated push update. You don’t need to do anything, as the software updates itself. On the other hand, manual updates force the user to update at a specific time, which could cause workflow disruption. 

QuickBooks Pro Tax software updates automatically to make this process easy for you. You can even see the latest updates to ensure your software has the most comprehensive capabilities accessible to you.

7. Is the Professional Tax Software Mobile-Friendly? 

Accessing work information on your mobile device from anywhere can be quite advantageous for your accounting or tax practice. The latest software products all have mobile-friendly platforms, meaning there are smartphone applications that allow you to access work directly from your handheld device. By buying software with this added capability, and at no additional cost, you can easily access whatever pertinent work information you need for client taxes at any time.

8. When Does the Tax Year Start and End in Canada, and When Should I Make the Switch for the Least Amount of Friction? 

Since tax years can start and end at various times throughout the calendar year depending on the company or person filing the returns, finding the optimal time to switch software can be tricky. Whether your clients file mostly as sole proprietors, partnerships, or corporations, consider your entire client workload and attached income filing deadlines before making the timely transfer from one product to another. 

To do this, make note of all of your clients, from small business owners to independent contractors and corporations, writing down all deadlines and vital tax dates. This will give you a complete overview of your deadlines and timeline to ensure you are making the switch at the most opportune time before tax season hits. 

9. Does the Tax Software Integrate with Other Software and Products my Clients and I Use? 

Your clients will need to send you documents and other information necessary for filing their income tax returns. To do so, they may send the required data through an app or email. On the same note, you may need to assemble data from another software application or use a third-party app alongside your tax software. 

Therefore, professional Canadian tax software will need to seamlessly sync with other applications and software to make your work federal return processing easier. This app integration is paramount in this day and age as it streamlines the work processes and makes data downloads more efficient. 

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