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New to Pro Series

GodFather
Level 2

I'm new to Pro Series, migrating from ATX after many years.  Wondering what important steps should be taken before the 2021 tax season begins?  I know data conversion is important and I'll ensure the information for each client is transfer accurately.  I would appreciate your thoughts on what other aspects of the transition are important?  What do I need to know about Pro Series?  Can anyone share information on the Link and how easy it is to use?  My business is 99% personal income tax with an occasional fiduciary return thrown in.  

Look forward to being part of the Pro Series family even with some of the hiccups I've read about. 

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The-Tax-Lady
Level 8

Unfortunately, the lack of responses might just sum it all up. Everyone on this forum, I'm sure, wishes you the best of luck as you proceed on your journey thru Intuitland. You will not find a more helpful or knowledgeable group of folks than the people who take the time to help us all get it right.

However, I don't think anyone has enough time or inclination to answer "What do I need to know about ProSeries"? You will get plenty of help on more specific topics. Welcome to ProSeries.😏.

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15 Replies 15
The-Tax-Lady
Level 8

Unfortunately, the lack of responses might just sum it all up. Everyone on this forum, I'm sure, wishes you the best of luck as you proceed on your journey thru Intuitland. You will not find a more helpful or knowledgeable group of folks than the people who take the time to help us all get it right.

However, I don't think anyone has enough time or inclination to answer "What do I need to know about ProSeries"? You will get plenty of help on more specific topics. Welcome to ProSeries.😏.

View solution in original post

PATAX
Level 11

@GodFather after you finish all of the 2020 returns on ATX maybe you can ask ProSeries for a free copy of the 2020 software. If you receive it , then maybe you can install it and learn how to use it before tax season starts.... Just my opinion

GodFather
Level 2

Thanks for your reply.  I have downloaded  the 2020program and I've started inputting some of my complicated returns.  Trying to acclimate to it and it's going well for the most part.

George4Tacks
Level 15

Come back with questions when you hit a hiccup. 


ex-AllStar
PATAX
Level 11

@GodFather 👍 You're welcome...

poolcleaner
Level 8

This will be from a different angle!  As a user of ProSeries, ChipSoft, even TurboTax Professional(a very long time ago), one thing I have learned is to never file any returns with the first wave of returns.  I see so many problems with the software on this forum that do not affect me because I don't file returns until the problems are addressed. Some of those early February returns are still waiting for their refunds according to what I read here.

 

Another Former All Star

Skylane
Level 8
Level 8

Welcome to the asylum!

PS has a lot of functionality. Doesn’t do everything but there are 3 or more ways to a lot. Developing a workflow that makes sense for your practice is huge. Start with the training videos. They’re not always great but can point you in the right direction. 

That said, you’ll find a bunch of shortcomings. PS doesn’t always do things the way you want or think it should. But keep an open mind to workflow and workarounds. 

one for instance…. The PS printing function can be slow and cumbersome depending on your equipment. I learned several years ago to print whatever i need to pdf and then print (or have  

my staff) print the PDFs and put them in my client folders… works well for my operation 

if you do a lot of paperless work, look at Intuit link as an option for some clients. 

I’ve always had a walk-in office but was able to alter my workflow this season to work 100% remotely. 

Check back when you get stuck….you’ll find everyone has a (different ) opinion 

If at first you don’t succeed…..find a workaround
TaxGuyBill
Level 15

Can I ask why you left ATX, and why you decided on ProSeries?  What was ATX lacking that you wanted to switch?

GodFather
Level 2

TaxGuyBill...I was with ATX for a significant number of years...back to the days it was known as Saber.  So I estimate in the 25+ year range.  The program treated me well, generally speaking.  Over the past several years, there was a lack of support and pricing continued to increase.  (I know, I've read the same can be said with Pro Series). I also found it starting taking forever to complete a return...even the most basic.  I don't know that was specifically due to the program or the added IRS requirements, but it did take long 

A couple things that really impacted me was the fact they did not include "advanced calculations" with their mid-tear packages.  I subscribed to ATX Max which provided me with unlimited federal and state returns, business and personal.  They did away with their 1040 package which provided unlimited personal federal and state returns.  99% of my business are personal returns.  Neither of those packages included the calculations that automatically provided credit for taxes paid to other jurisdictions or optimized education credits.  You needed to compute those manually.  I have a moderate number of clients who require both of those calculations.  Not a huge deal, but I felt the program should provide that...especially when their top tier programs do.  To purchase that functionality cost about $550.  In addition, there was a charge for their portal of $500.  Pro Series offered both of these ATX addon's as part of their package price.  I subscribed to Choice 200 Bundle.  

I've downloaded the Pro Series 2020 package and I'm acclimating to it.   It is similar to the ATX format (form based) but I know It will take me some time to get comfortable with Pro Series.  I did research it a bit and I know there have been many concerns voiced about PS recently.  I'm hopeful it's an upgrade over ATX.  Time will tell.    

rbynaker
Level 11

Sounds like you've done your homework!  One of my favorite quotes from Airplane! "They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into!"  Welcome aboard, stay away from the fish.  This is your best resource for help.  Folks here are quite often faster and almost always more knowledgeable than calling the actual support number.

ProSeries does have an excellent education optimizer.  Data entry is not always intuitive but start with the Fed info wks to identify who has education expenses (TP/SP/Deps), then each will have a Student Info Wks.  Fill that out next and that will link you to 1098-T, etc. entries.  Don't bother trying to optimize until you have all of the data in.

They also do a fairly good job with multi-state returns (for whatever reason MA jumps out at me as problematic in this area, but if you're used to doing all of this by hand you probably won't notice!)  For that you'll want to again start with the Fed Info Wks (just in general get familiar with this form, it gets longer every year but spend some time scrolling through and reading all of the options!)  Near the bottom you'll find a section for state resident/NR/PY returns.  Fill that out first, then enter all of your fed data, then hop back over to Fed Info Wks and link to the PY/NR allocation worksheets to put all of the items in to the right state buckets.  THEN open your states and make adjustments as needed.  I've heard you should open your NR states first, then your resident states (I'm not sure that's necessarily true anymore, but still probably a good idea!)

A third thing (not mentioned) that ProSeries used to do very well was capital gain transactions.  They had a very comprehensive series of worksheets for sale of home, 2nd home, inherited property, employer stock options, etc. that covered nearly every situation you can imagine.  In 2020 they revamped the software to drive everything onto a "fake" 1099-B and I think some of the less used, more complex situations were dropped in the process.  I understand, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but IMO this changed their grade from an A+ to a B- in this area.

For the most part, ProSeries is "always calculating" (a notable exception involves the education optimizer).  So when you complete a return you'll want to make sure you print-to-pdf.  Then later if the calculations change (either because of a bug fix or because of a retroactive tax law change), you'll still have a pdf copy of the return as originally filed.  Also along those lines, always double check your numbers before you efile anything.  It's not unusual for the calculation to change between the time you print the 8879 for signatures and the time you get signed forms back and are ready to transmit.  Especially early in the season when ProSeries users are unwittingly participating in the software beta testing program.  You can search and find hundreds of posts here with people complaining about how ProSeries changed their return after it was already filed.  At least if you have a PDF you can see what changed which might get you started on the path to figuring out why it changed.

Obviously everyone runs their practice differently according to their needs.  I'm a one-person show but game from a larger regional CPA firm with top-notch quality control.  So I prepare a return, then set it aside, then review it on a different day with fresh eyes.  I have a spreadsheet I use for review and at the end of review if I get the same answer between my spreadsheet and the tax software, that's probably close enough for government work.  It's also helpful to spot where you might have entered something wrong.  For the most part, the forms-based ProSeries will get things in the right place but with tax law being more complex year-after-year, the same data point may be needed in multiple calculations (income tax, QBI, NIIT, etc.) so you'll want to get a feel for what things you only have to enter in one place and what things you might have to enter twice.  For the most part, the software will do what you tell it to, just not always what you want it to.  As a new user you need to know when those two things differ.

Best of luck to you!  Sounds like you're starting the transition at a good time with plenty of time to learn the ropes.  Welcome to the asylum.

Rick

GodFather
Level 2

Thanks very much for all the useful info.  Much appreciated. 

Do you use Intuit Link?

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rbynaker
Level 11

@GodFather wrote:

Thanks very much for all the useful info.  Much appreciated. 

Do you use Intuit Link?


No.

Try searching for some posts.  I seem to recall that many folks have complained about the inability of tax preparers to remove data that had been uploaded.  Maybe they've fixed that.

Rick

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Skylane
Level 8
Level 8

@GodFather    You asked about Intuit Link.   I've been using it for a few years and have  40-50 clients I  find it pretty effective and efficient once you figure out its quirks...  Trick is to develop a workflow that fits with the rest of the practices. 

If you have clients with the ability to scan and upload it's pretty useful. 

BTW -  Help desk tip & trick.....   When you need Tech Support... if you tell the automated system that you need help with Intuit Link you'll get a higher level tech... (Intuit link is one of the last things their techs get trained on so, you generally get someone more experienced...... shhhh

If at first you don’t succeed…..find a workaround
GodFather
Level 2

Thanks for the reply. 

0 Cheers
Skylane
Level 8
Level 8

@GodFather, Bills question should have been posed as a multiple choice:

Why did you choose PS over ATX?

A. I hate when things work smoothly 

B I’m a glutton for punishment 

C They have great hold music on the tech support line that I look forward to listening to for hours

D  The salesman threw in 20 lbs. of lutefisk
E. All of the above

If at first you don’t succeed…..find a workaround