Drake Software blog for tax pros, covering tax, IRS news, and more

Should Your Application go on a Diet?

In a time when technology rules the world we live and work in, is it time to jump on the bandwagon of the thin client or software-as-a-service?

Everything you read says yes, the time is now. You know your clients and you know what is best for them, but do you know what client is best for your business?

Fat Client Applications

The fat client is a traditional application that relies only on the computer it’s installed on. This type of application uses your computer’s resources for running the software and storing data. Fat client applications are independent and secure – access to the application is limited to those that have access to your computer. The application cannot be accessed from a computer it is not installed on and is not available on mobile devices or tablets. Fat clients require downloading patches to enable new features, or fix problems.

Thin Client Applications

The thin client is an application that can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. The bulk of the application is running on a web server and uses few resources from your local computer. Data storage is also handled by the server, so you can log in and review your information from any computer connected to the Internet. The application can be directly accessed from a computer it is not installed on and is available on mobile devices or tablets. Thin clients do not require patching.

Hybrid Client

The hybrid client is a mix of traditional software and thin client software. The hybrid client application is installed on your computer, uses your computer’s resources to run the software but relies on a server for data storage and processing. Hybrid applications have the benefits of fat client security with thin client data storage. As with fat client applications, hybrid applications cannot be accessed from a computer they are not installed on and are not available on mobile devices or tablets.

So which client is best?

Drake Software Professional Tax Solution –
This is a traditional fat client application. You must install the software on each computer that will use the software (or on the server for a local network) , regularly install program updates and ensure the computer has enough resources, memory and hard drive space to support the application. The application relies on the resources your computer provides and your data is only backed up if you create and follow a backup plan.

Drake Software Web 1040* –
This is a thin client application. There is no install on the computer that is using the application and all data is stored on Drake Software servers. Any computer that has a compatible browser and Internet connection can access the application and you can manage your clients’ tax filings while you are on the go.

Drake Software Remote 1040* –
This is a hybrid application. You must install the software on each computer that will use the software and periodically install program updates. The application relies on your computer’s resources to run the application and an Internet connection to process data. All data is stored on Drake Software servers and is accessible from any computer that has the Remote 1040 solution installed.

To determine which type of client is best for your business, some analysis of your practices is in order. If you’ve ever sat in your local coffee shop and wished you didn’t have to run into the office to email a client’s tax return PDF, Web 1040 may be the best choice for you. You have on-the-go application access, flexibility and the peace of mind knowing that your data is safe, secure and backed up on a regular basis.

If you run a more traditional business and prefer to offer service to clients while at your office, have a regular data backup plan, and prepare all types of tax returns (individual, business, corporation, etc.) and you've used Drake for so long you can fill out a Schedule C on muscle memory alone, then the Professional Tax solution is your best choice.

*Drake Software Web 1040 and Drake Software Remote 1040 2010 versions are available for clients with multiple locations only.

by Jami Gibson
Web Product Director

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The Taxing Subjects staff is proud to cover the latest in tax-industry-related news, from tax law and IRS updates to technology and business strategies. If you have questions about an article or just want to reach out to the Taxing Subjects staff, email comments@taxingsubjects.com.

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