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I'm a new customer, and finding I have a lot of questions that the videos, webinars, and help menus (which are not helpful at all) are just not addressing. Suggestions?

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Classic case of "the demo is better than the delivery version." As I was getting the hard pitch, I was told that Intuit would "help me train my entire staff." What that meant is they would provide these videos that show me what the home menu looks like. I know what the home menu looks like. I can see it, thank you very much. I've gone through at least a dozen of their videos and webinars, and find them very un-helpful and a waste of time. The "help menus" are likewise not helpful at all. I've called their support line several times, and they're very nice on the phone, and help me out, but it seems like they should have a better system of training. Once tax season starts, I won't be able to call them and wait on hold for 5-10 minutes each 3-4 times in a return because I can't figure out what they mean when they say "access the state options menu by opening the state options menu." (Like, you don't say! Where IS the state options menu!!!!!) I am trying to be patient with them, but my staff is starting to get angry with me and complain about every single line item not knowing how to enter things, and I can't answer them, because I don't know how to. It really can't be this hard. I must be doing something wrong. Any ideas?

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There's no substitute for just getting in there and preparing a return and getting a feel for the program.  

Its forms based, so you can enter things directly from the tax return line by line, double clicking a line will open a worksheet to enter what needs to go there, so if you are familiar with looking at tax returns, it really shouldn't be too steep of a learning curve.

The WHERE DO I ENTER button still saves me on almost a daily basis, finding what I'm looking for (since they changed the forms for 2018!), it saves time rather than scrolling through all the lines of the new forms they gave us.

This group is a great place to ask questions, much quicker than calling support!   There is ProSeries Facebook group as well for questions about using the program.


♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪

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There's no substitute for just getting in there and preparing a return and getting a feel for the program.  

Its forms based, so you can enter things directly from the tax return line by line, double clicking a line will open a worksheet to enter what needs to go there, so if you are familiar with looking at tax returns, it really shouldn't be too steep of a learning curve.

The WHERE DO I ENTER button still saves me on almost a daily basis, finding what I'm looking for (since they changed the forms for 2018!), it saves time rather than scrolling through all the lines of the new forms they gave us.

This group is a great place to ask questions, much quicker than calling support!   There is ProSeries Facebook group as well for questions about using the program.


♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪

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Instead of "Where do I enter", I've been using F6 a lot more lately.  It's a keyboard shortcut to the forms list.

A few tips that I have to add:

  • Spend some time going through the Options menu.  There's a lot of stuff in there for you to customize (like whether you want the date printed automatically, SSN masking, etc.)  These are going to be system-wide defaults so for the most part I just spend an hour or two at the beginning of tax season making sure everything is how I like it (including which forms print and in what order) and then ignore this for the rest of the year.
  • Get very familiar with dozen or so sections of the Federal Information Worksheet.  This is where you'll find things like "Force Itemized Deductions".  It's also where you tell the software what states you're filing, where the refunds go, etc.
  • As you enter tax return data, the "forms in use" section on the left side will populate and will also start creating red flags of things that the software really wants you to enter.
  • One of my favorite tools is F8.  Client forgot to give me their car tax amount?  No problem.  I'll put $0 in for Sch A personal property taxes and press F8 to "Mark as estimated".  Then it shows up as a red flag and you'll be reminded in final review.
  • That leads us to final review.  Use the Review button when you think you're done.  ProSeries will go through red flags, other diagnostics and then tell you all of the calculations that you have to verify by hand because they are "unsupported."

Rick

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I struggle with F6, it doesnt always give me the form Im looking for....I've never used F8 for anything, I 'right click' to Mark as Estimated.   I guess we each just get used to doing things a certain way....and theres always more than one way to accomplish the same thing!

♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
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Rick, this is great! Thank you! I will print this out for my employees. I've done about 3 returns so far, with varying success. I'm frustrated, because I used to be able to do even a complicated return in about 20-30 minutes, with (name redacted to protect the guilty) software. But they discontinued.... Grrr. So far I think this one is as good or better than that one, but gosh, old dog new tricks, you know.
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I am with Rick (I also started in 1992 as did our Minnesota coyote) in that F6 is and has been forever the major tool I use. F8 follows closely in that it reminds me to go back to an entry later. One of my favorite things is to use the Information Worksheet to make certain that the client letter is addressed to the correct name as opposed to a formal name I do not use with that person. I think many of us will think of various hints when we have time to meditate about the program.
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F6 is good when I already know where I'm going.  It gets me there PDQ.  But I agree with you Lisa, if I don't know where I'm going, "Where do I enter" is better (and it's certainly better at showing you possible options).

Intuit has added a lot of bells and whistles since I started (most of which I don't use).  They supplemented F8 with some sort of "Client missing information" and there are various things that try to hook into email (with marginal success).

I did start using the Client Status screen and eventually it replaced my previous workflow management system.  I have a couple custom homebase views that sort on one of the Client status fields that I use as a queue.

The Client Letter system is very powerful (and has mostly been a complete mystery to me!)  There are others around here who are fluent in it, so if you have questions, I'd first direct you to AccountantMan.  Mostly I just tweak the default letter to change "We" to "I" in several places so that my clients don't think I have a split personality disorder.
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Regarding F6, I have times when I cannot find a particular form by number so it is helpful to switch to the word description by clicking on the button that says "Display Form Description" and then switching back to "Form Number" as fast as possible.
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"It really can't be this hard"

No it can't be.  When I first purchased ProSeries back in 1942 I believe, I opened up the software and just fiddled with it and found it was pretty easy to navigate since it is form based.  Between being able to work backwards from the 1040 using the little magnifying glass to find where to enter stuff and the little green "where do I enter" button, it is pretty user friendly as to data entry.  As a side note, if you have called support several times, I think you have called support more often than I have in all of the years I have been using the software.  It sounds like you are trying to learn how to swim by only sticking your toes in the water.  Go ahead and just jump into the deep end of the pool -------------- it can't be more than a couple of feet deep --------------------- you won't drown.

Wile E's Tax Prep, Emergency Brain Surgery, and Used Tire Shop - Nobody does it cheaper! Call 8675309 for an appointment today - or tomorrow, we aren't that busy.
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Well, you're quite the expert! I'm guessing you meant 1992? I don't think this product existed in 1942 :smile: Even so, almost 30 years makes you an expert in any book.

Yes, jumping in is way easier than the videos. Unfortunately, it's not just me, but 5 employees who are all asking me questions that I just can't answer.

So, let me ask you:
How do you change the preparer on a return?
What are the different options on "TSJ indicators"?
How do I enter the ERO practitioner PIN?
Is there a place where I can compare the differences between the 3 different banks that do Pay-by-Refund (Santa Barbara, Refund Advantage, and River City Bank), and/or which one should I chose, etc.?
Is there a place where you can enter a 1099-INT or 1099-Bs? I see where to enter the information from one, but some of my clients have more information than the worksheets (even the "advanced" worksheets) allow. For example: I'd like to be able to enter all the 1099-B information that is covered, no adjustments, and have the software add it up and put it on line 1a or 8a. How do I do this? It puts it on 1b or 8b, which is wrong.
Where do you enter a child's qualifying disability for Oregon?
How do you tell it to print forms 2-sided?
How do you enter state pricing?

And before you say anything, I have tried the "where do I enter" on all of these that it's reasonable, and not gotten a good answer. So thanks in advance!
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All-Star
I don't have the software in front of me right now but I can answer some of these from memory:

> How do you change the preparer on a return?

Fed Info Wks, scroll down, it should be there somewhere (assuming you have all of your preparers set up in Options first)

> What are the different options on "TSJ indicators"?

This can be clunky.  I like to have it on, it comes in handy on some VA returns for spouse tax adjustment and I have a handful of older clients with lots of medical expenses and we have to check every year to see if MFS/MFJ is better.  If you want to use this, first make sure TSJ indicators are turned ON in Options.  Then there will be a box on certain fields, it's horribly inconsistent though, sometimes it's selected in an amount box, other times from a description (and then applies to all amounts).  With these set right, you can pretty easily split a return if you need to file MFS instead of MFJ.  Also, if you have ProSeries Pro, you can activate the MFJ vs. MFS Wks to get an analysis of which is the better filing status.

> How do I enter the ERO practitioner PIN?

Fed Info Wks.  It's down near TP/SP PINs (which you may have set to auto-generate by default).  If you tell the Fed Info Wks that you want to efile then it should red-flag this field as required.  (If you don't tell it that first, it will assume you're paper-filing and then it's not a required field.)

> Is there a place where you can enter a 1099-INT or 1099-Bs? I see where to enter the information from one, but some of my clients have more information than the worksheets (even the "advanced" worksheets) allow. For example: I'd like to be able to enter all the 1099-B information that is covered, no adjustments, and have the software add it up and put it on line 1a or 8a. How do I do this? It puts it on 1b or 8b, which is wrong.

1099-INT is fairly straight-forward on Sch B.  For more complex entries just double-click on the bank name and it will let you create a detail worksheet where you can put in foreign tax w/h, allocate exempt interest for states, etc.  Most all of the fields are in there.

1099-B, I've been asking for what you want for a few years now with no luck.  I completely agree this would make life so much easier!  For now I create 4 detail sheets, one each for ST/LT proceeds/basis.  Then I enter the covered, smothered, scattered, etc. transactions so they show up directly on Sch D and skip the 8949.  I *really* want to see a 1099-B Wks where we can just enter these amounts and check a box to report directly on Sch D, but I'm not holding my breath.

> How do you enter state pricing?

It's hiding in options somewhere.  When I can't find it, I do this:  Open the state return.  Once you're in there, from the pull down menu there should be something on global billing options.  You should be able to set the state pricing there.  I'm pretty sure there's a link or tab somewhere on the main options but I sometimes have trouble remembering where it is.

Rick
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Rick, you are definitely THE MAN! Thank you for this.

Now, I'm struggling with the printing. My complaint with Turbo Tax is the same here: My clients do not want a tome with their return, so I'm going through and turning off most of the extra worksheets it prints. Ugh.

I will continue to seek through the menus and learn.

It is still, as far as I've seen, the best product on the market (at least among the 4-5 I've looked at). I'm just a little frustrated at having to learn a new thing. Grumpy mumble, get off my lawn.
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@hillsboro15269  
Are you saying you've used Turbo Tax previously to prepare returns for clients?
ARE you aware that is not legal?
Teach a man (or woman) to fish....
(If a post answers your question, click on "Accept as solution" for future searches)
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Oh, no, I've never done that. I wasn't aware that was illegal federally, but I'm glad to hear it is, and it's illegal here in Oregon.

I have clients who come to me with returns that were done in Turbo Tax in prior years (either self-prepared or done by those fly-by-night outfits that do what you say). I ask them to bring in a copy of their prior year return, and they bring me 100 pages of crap. I have to dig through to figure out where the return is.

Ain't nobody got time for that.
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ProSeries CAN open Turbotax files, so if your clients bring you the tax file from the desktop version of Turbotax, you can transfer it into ProSeries for the same year, then roll it into the next year of PS.

♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
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@hillsboro15269  - Glad to hear that.
And I agree, TurdoTax generates a lot of paper/schedule/fluff.
Teach a man (or woman) to fish....
(If a post answers your question, click on "Accept as solution" for future searches)
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The article in the link below has most of the program shortcut keys.

https://accountants-community.intuit.com/articles/1861828-proseries-basic-keyboard-shortcuts

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