Drake Software offers an all-inclusive package regularly, $1,395 (currently web-listed as $1,295) with early season discount prices as low as $995. The package includes all individual and business federal tax returns - 1040, 1040NR, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120H, 1120S, 706,709, 990, and 990PF - as well as all state returns. It also includes their tax planner, write-up, client status manager, document manager, bank software, electronic filing, technical support, network version, preparer Web site, and paperless office capabilities. They also offer a client write-up package that includes everything except their client write-up package. The pay-per-return option allows you to prepare up to 15 federal and state returns for $285, and additional returns cost $19 each.
The price is small, but the power of the package is impressive. Screens and helps are available in Spanish, for your Spanish speaking preparers or clients, but printed tax forms are all in English. Auto entry features include a Zip Code database that automatically fills in the city and state after you enter the zip code, and an EIN database that retains and fills in provider's information when the EIN is entered.
Drake Software is committed to providing the most current technology, time saving features, and up-to-date tax law changes. Highlights of the package include:
- Award winning support
- Live training
- Archive feature
- Remote check printing and remote data entry.
- Free conversions
- Hotkeys and macros to simplify data entry
- Multi-Office-Manager that combines information (on paper or e-filed returns) from multiple offices into one database
- Access to CheckPoint research tools
Drake Software's client base is an even mix between one to two man shops, to CPA firms, to large multi-sites. If the firm's hardware meets the Drake Software minimum requirements there is no limitation on the amount of users and returns it can support.
The screens are uncluttered and easy to view. Each entry field offers easy access to related help files. When you are working on data entry, other icons are blocked. This makes it more difficult if you are a preparer that prefers to jump from form to form in the process of interviewing a client or entering data, but it keeps you organized during data entry. The form entry screen is very organized with tabs for General, Income, Adjustment, Credit, Taxes, Other, and States. Icons across the top of the data entry window allowing the preparer easy access to calculate, view, print, split a married joint into married separately filing, document manager, tax planner, import, client status manager, email, or help functions.
Since Drake can only be purchased as a complete package, the user should be aware of the other major components. The Drake Tax Planner provides multi-year planning options and scenarios. The Drake Document Manager streamlines email communication and document distribution with clients and manages customer files electronically, allowing movement toward a paperless office environment. Drake's Client Write-Up (CWU) includes everything you need to process monthly accounting, payroll, and financial statements for most small businesses. It includes live and after-the-fact payroll and wage reports for states.
Even though you receive the entire package, you aren't wasting time with the programs you don't use. You can set Update Manager to only update the programs you are using. You can choose whether to update immediately or hold the updates for a preferred update time.
New features for the 2009 tax preparation edition (the 2010 program version) include:
- Improved PDF generation of tax returns
- Enhanced preparer security features
- Ability to password protect and encrypt PDF copies of tax returns when emailing to clients
- Enterprise Office Manager - for multi-site account management
- Streamlined data entry on entity returns (1120, 1120S, 1065, 990)
- Integration of extensive new tax law into 2009 calculations
- Backup capabilities to the Drake Document Manager
- Client Write-Up package looks and functions more like the Drake Software program
- Streamlined update system (If you install it, Drake updates it for you... automatically)
- New E1 Prepaid Visa Card
- Remote payroll entry portals for Client Write-Up
- Accounts receivable for Client Write-Up
According to John Sapp, CPA, vice president of sales and marketing for Drake Software, "Drake's package is unique because we offer VALUE. All packages, including office management tools, tax research, accounting, and payroll are included for one price. No hidden fees or costly add-ons. We also provide simply incredible support, answering the phone on average in less than 10 seconds during the busiest part of tax season. Finally, Drake is ready to go when you need it. All of our states are normally approved and ready to go by the 1st week of January."