Professional Tax Software Rant

Since I have to get through something like 130 state returns over the coming weeks, it’s been a bit busy around here. So instead of writing an insightful post that no one will read, I’m going to do a quick, ranting post that no one will read.

Side note: some of my posts actually get quite a few hits, but it usually ends up being random ones, like the one about accounting puns. Though, oddly enough, my painfully dry prepaid expenses discussion is my most visited site this month.

Anyway, I joined my current company right after the tax department decided to move our tax software from ProSeries FX to OneSource RS. Both of these unwieldy professional tax programs are riddled with inconsistencies and bugs, at least when it comes down to the states. They both have their upsides, but both would be sued out the rear if they tried to make the GPS claim that TurboTax makes about their software.

I haven’t used ProSeries, so I can’t comment too much on it. What I do know, though, is that last year some of the states actually had to have changes made by hand on the return. Some only after applying a generous helping of white-out (I would have used Bluebeam instead of a Bic, but that’s just me).

OneSource, though, has become a bit of a whipping boy around the office. We had problems with their “implementation” team, who sent us a few unhelpful guides then let us struggle through the process on our own. Now, every problem is due to OneSource, from delays in the filing process to gnats on the window sills.

gnats in window sill

This was cleaned yesterday afternoon

To quote one of my beloved coworkers, “I liked my old POS better than this new one.”

It is, in truth, not that bad. We’ve all used GoSystem in the past, which is the basis for OneSource. ThomsonReuters just decided to add an additional layer of confusion to the GoSystem product we know (but did not love), which we decided is like adding prosthetic lips to a pig.

If only their support staff knew what they were doing. Half the time I call the good people down in Dallas and they tell me to do something wrong.

Recently, we went through a several hundred dollar training to teach us how to implement the states. When I tried to use their guide, it didn’t work. They told me that all this great training does “not (as yet)” apply to our type of returns.

Note that they gave us the training after they looked at our returns and decided what training we needed. And they gave us the wrong one.

The “as yet” part made me think that it would be implemented soon. But then I went back and reviewed the follow up documents they sent to us, and found this in the screen shots:

insource

Anyone see the problem here? Like, maybe the flying Window in the corner?

Turns out, that’s Internet Explorer 5. Which was discontinued before Windows XP was released. If I’m lucky, I’m looking at a screenshot from Windows 2000.

Also, notice how I called it “OneSource” and not “InSource”? I have no idea when they changed the name, but it was before I started in accounting.

So the training doesn’t apply to our types of returns. And they haven’t implemented it in our types of returns since at least the Windows 2000 era. I think it’s safe to leave out the “as yet” if it’s about a feature that won’t be available until my unborn grandkids become accountants.

Though maybe I should calm down a bit on the timeframe. Their website still only works in Internet Explorer 9, so they’re clearly behind the times. Maybe the screenshot was only taken ten years ago. That means I should probably expect the new feature a year before retirement.

Anyway, I shouldn’t be too hard on OneSource. They are the best (and most expensive) in the business. Unfortunately, it leaves us accountants to choose between various versions of software that makes my gnat riddled office look bug free.