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App Watch on Jetpack Workflow, Intuit ProConnect and Avalara

Nov 21st 2016
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This week’s non-promotional, non-ad supported, purely informational installment of the App Watch column takes a look at what’s new from Jetpack Workflow, Intuit ProConnect and Avalara.

Each week we check in with the accountant-focused vendor/service provider community to see what is new or of interest to our audience and pepper in some of our own thoughts on the information. Our hope, of course, is that you can make more thoughtful product-related decisions for you and your clients with what we provide below.

Ready? News and Views in 3, 2, 1…

News: Jetpack Workflow Releases Quickbooks Online Integration

Accountant-focused cloud workflow solution Jetpack Workflow is now officially integrated with QuickBooks Online. This integration comes with both a client sync (pulling customers from Quickbooks Online and bringing them into Jetpack Workflow), along with service line items and client tags. In addition to the client sync, Jetpack Workflow also pushes time and billing information back into Quickbooks Online, for invoicing or timesheet purposes. The integration, which had been in beta for 3 months, is available in all Quickbooks enabled markets.

Views: Workflow and the issue of firm efficiency around any number of tasks continues to top the list of concerns, or plans for improvement among practitioners of all sizes. Having the right solution for your practice, beyond “we put everything in a spreadsheet” or worse, stickers on a folder, has become more imperative and knowing what works for your firm is in itself a Work in Progress(see what I did there?). You may not quite know these guys yet, but they are working to change that and integrating with the QuickBooks universe (particularly QBO) allows the product to take a step in that direction. Whether or not it’s the best solution for your practice is up to you, but if the integration works as advertised it seems a feasible prospect, no?

News: Intuit ProConnect Delivers Improvements in Lacerte and ProSeries Tax Products

Intuit ProConnect announced new and expanded features to its Lacerte and ProSeries desktop tax software products for the coming tax season. The enhancements build on customer feedback and deliver time savings by simplifying workflows and reducing data entry. Lacerte Tax Year 2016 Product Improvements include: Improved user experience and performance of the Trial Balance Utility so tax professionals can more easily go from books to tax; introduced point-of-need guidance via on-screen hyperlinks to articles that provide detailed descriptions for important input fields to help tax professionals answer key questions; auto-fill for corporate amended returns; dual monitor support; and a simplified and personalized installer that now propagates settings and preferences from the previous year to ensure a smooth installation experience. As for ProSeries Tax Year 2016 Product Improvements, they include the ability to attach a PDF file directly from the field requiring a PDF to be attached, as well as using the File Menu; e-File selection; and a new security feature identifies fields that have sensitive information and displays information with asterisks.

Views: Well, it’s that time of year for necessary additions to widely used tax products to be made. And while we’re all unsure about key changes to the tax code given the new administration, it is clear that improvements to existing tax products as they relate to security and ease of use are needed. As such, it appears Intuit has done its job with Lacerte and ProSeries, respectively.

News: Avalara Now on Amazon Web Services Marketplace

Cloud-based tax compliance automation service Avalara for businesses of all sizes announced it is listing its solution on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace, joining a growing community of companies that offer a wide range of products and services running on the AWS Cloud. The decision was made jointly as Amazon felt tax compliance has become vital to e-commerce, and needed a simple way to start automating related processes. Avalara’s cloud-based tax compliance software currently integrates with more than 500 transactional software solutions.

Views: OK so not a lot to really say or add here, other than this is pretty huge for Avalara as it now gives them direct access to an app marketplace where millions of e-commerce vendors live. This is Avalara’s bread and butter and with automated sales and use tax becoming a bit more competitive it gives them a huge leg up. And if you’re an e-commerce business, your first introduction to the increasingly complicated world of sales and use tax could be help from a company that’s right in the Amazon marketplace. Not a bad deal.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions and all manner of feedback are welcome. This has been another edition of AccountingWEB’s App Watch.

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Julia Gumm
By Julia Gumm
Jan 27th 2017 05:47 EST

Possibly, Jetpack Workflow's integration with QuickBooks Online may bring more convenience for existing customers of QBO. It's yet to see if this integration will actually prove that handy for accountants and CPAs. However, hosted QuickBooks has its own unique charm that QuickBooks Online may not take away that easily.

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