Views From The trade Show Floor
By Chip Godwin
In my 15 years with Drake Software, I’ve come to learn that our customers are pretty candid about their concerns – both with the industry, and with our software.
For the most part, our customers love the software. Sure, they may want to see one feature or another that we don’t currently have. But they have come to appreciate the value that Drake Software represents – the balance of reasonable pricing with a strong feature set and exceptional support. And for the most part, existing customers want to find out what’s new for the software this year.
Still, they have concerns. Not about us, but about the events around them that are shaping their professional lives. Since we are basically finished with the “trade show and convention season” in the tax and accounting industry, three topics are on the minds of the people we talk to:
- The Affordable Care Act. Professionals understand that this legislation will bring new requirements for their tax practice, and they want to know where we will stand on January 1. Unfortunately, my crystal ball is no better than theirs, so I can’t tell them much beyond what the law currently says. For the most up-to-date information, though, I always recommend that they bookmark Drake’s ACA information page on the Internet at http://www.drakesoftware.com/site/Resources/AffordableCareAct.aspx.
- Certification and regulation. Tax preparers in particular understand that certification and regulation are coming, but they are not sure when or why. After all, they note, consumers can prepare their own tax returns without being certified to do so. Professionals don’t seem to object to the relatively minor CPE requirements, or the punishments being meted out to the tiny minority of tax preparers who don’t follow the law. What they do object to is the additional time and costs it will take. Some, already on the verge of retirement, say that certification will reinforce their desire to turn their practices over to a new generation.
- “The Cloud.” Customers are struggling to understand what it means to operate their business “in the cloud.” That is in part due to the fact that each customer has different needs – some are looking for an automated backup system, while others need an environment in which to more easily share documents with clients. This will take a little time for our customers to sort out, but in the mean time we like to promote Drake Software’s cloud offerings, which are Drake Hosted (see https://www.drakesoftware.com/site/Products/DrakeHosted.aspx) and Drake Zero (see http://drakesoftware.com/site/Products/DrakeZero.aspx), our online tax preparation solution. Either of these can help professionals to painlessly adopt cloud computing for their needs.
As the year continues, I’ll be scouting for additional topics that are of interest to Drake Software customers and prospects, and reporting them here with answers and resources we have to offer.
Phone 800.890.9500 ext. 4065