I dont know why I spend $7,000 on Lacerte when their support agents are useless..
I called Lacerte to find out why every time from the Client screen when I go to the detail tab a popup appears and takes over my screen very annoying....I spoke with the following support people named Jay and Michael and both with screen help could not figure out my problem after 2 hrs on the phone...
Why does Lacerte hire support people who cannot help??
I feel your pain. I wasted an hour one afternoon and an hour and a half the next morning with support agents that didn't resolve anything or accept it was beyond their ability and elevate the issue.
The first one told me "I'm not an accountant or anything" and how he'd gotten lots of good tax advice from some other poor Lacerte user he was "assisting" for "a real long time". He ultimately told me to recreate the return and if that didn't work use email support.
The second one basically gave up when she ran out of solutions. After I looked up the form instructions and screen shared with her, she decided I had misinterpreted the instruction. Mind you the field in question is the field on Oregon's Sch A where you enter federal AGI to calculate the 7.5% limitation. Lacerte is entering AGI + the new $300 charitable deduction. Nothing on any form or instruction indicates AGI should be adjusted for this calculation. When I asked her to pass me to someone who could resolve the problem or prove to me that my interpretation was wrong, she said they would tell me the same thing.
I asked a colleague if Drake software was doing the same thing and it's not. They got it right and she only paid $1,500 for the program.
I get that there are problems early in the season and the users are part of the testing process. I've found issues before and was able to talk to someone in support who would pass it onto those who could fix it. But the support agents I'm dealing with this year clearly aren't knowledgeable about tax preparation and it seems Lacerte is discouraging them from passing us onto the people who are. Whatever this new service model is, it's not working for me.
Trust me, you do not want to use Drake
Their Federal program is OK but when I tested it, the California version was useless. It would *NOT* automatically calculate the renters credit (or even alert me that it may be available) and it allowed those with over $100,000 of MAGI the FULL $25,000 deduction on passive rental losses. It correctly limited the losses on the Federal program. It would NOT add the disallowed Federal Education deduction ($250) back to 2106 expenses either. I am certain there are a host more. All I am absolutely certain of is I gave it (while running away as fast as I could).
This was about 6 years so maybe their quality has improved. I was actually BANNED from the user forum when I kept bringing verified miscalculations to everyone's attention (in attention to my personal comments about their crap quality in the state program).
I know Lacerte is expensive, especially to we sole practitioners. I gotta tell ya tho', it's worth it.
If new Drake preparers are like new ProSeries preparers, that shouldn't be a problem ----------------- they don't seem to ever check their work. If it is in the software, it has to be right. They paid 374.99 and two Wheaties box tops to buy the software so it better always be correct.
Sign up here for pot stirring classes - 7:00pm Thursdays
I agree about changing to Drake. I wouldn't do it, and just brought up the fact that they were able to get this one issue correct - which Lacerte should have gotten right. The colleague that switched to Drake also kept a bare-bones association with Ultra Tax so she could double check Drake's calculations.
The real issue I was ranting about was the quality of the support, which was dismal. In seasons like the last three, where there have been so many changes, they have to realize that some things will slip past their internal testing procedures, but just maybe their users know what they're doing and listen to us. In previous years I've found a couple of issues early in the season and was put through those who could evaluate the problem and actually make the correction. With this situation this season I ended up going to Oregon Department of Revenue's tax pro contact and they got their Lacerte liaison to get it fixed.
I'm old school and use a worksheet to manually calculate key figures - AGI, Itemized deductions, taxable income, total payments. It takes a little extra time on the front end, but makes it much quicker for me to check my staff's work and my own. That's how I've run into glitches early in the season. If Lacerte and my worksheet don't agree on one of those numbers, either I need to tweak the worksheet (usually) or there's something wrong in the software (maybe 3 or 4 times in 20 years).