Category: CPA Practice Advisor

Xero to Simplify Accountants Work by Building Out Export Capabilities

Online accounting software publisher Xero announced today that they have created a direct interface to two applications commonly used to work on business tax data – Intuit’s Lacerte Tax and ProSystem fx Engagement. This is the Company’s first foray into exporting data from Xero into U.S. tax and accounting applications, although the local versions of Xero for Australia and New Zealand have already created integrations with acquired products like Spotlight Workpapers which automate work for accounting professionals.

Xero’s US President, Jamie Sutherland, said, “We know our accounting and bookkeeping partners who prepare tax returns are looking to get data from Xero into tax software this tax season. We worked hard to create an easy export from Xero to Lacerte Tax and CCH ProSystem fx Engagement. Accounting and tax professionals will spend less time worrying about getting the data and writing up tax forms and more time advising and guiding clients on tax issues.” “We recognized that ProSystems fx and Lacerte Tax are the major players in the tax space but we’ll be looking at other tax software as their SaaS solutions come to market to make the accounting and tax workflow even more seamless.”

Xero partner and accountant Steve Chaney, CPA, owner of Chaney and Associates, a Roseville, California accounting and consulting firm is excited about the new feature and its immediate impact on his practice this tax season. Chaney said, “When you are managing tax filings for hundreds of clients, these efficiency gains add up and go straight to the bottom line.” Chaney’s firm was established in 2002, serves clients in six states, and positions itself as a leader in the effective use of new technologies by accounting firms.

Online accounting software Xero has a strategy of reducing and eliminating data entry for accountants and clients where possible by importing transactions from financial institutions and using user-defined rules to assign accounts to the transactions. Last month, the Company announced an integration with time tracking and invoicing application Harvest, and in 2012, the company launched a proprietary tool (the Xero Practice Manager) for its US accounting partners.


Tax Research, Rethought and Mobile Apps for Practitioners

There are a lot of questions about how social media outlets will change the way practitioners do tax research in the future.  While practitioners need access to authoritative publications and interpretative guidance, there is also a need to ask a peer a question.  In the past, we might have done this at the water cooler, or over lunch with a peer, but in the age of the virtual office, these opportunities may be more difficult.

While Intuit is a long-time provider of tax tools for individuals and practitioners, they have shown some fresh thinking in their professional tax research offering.  The tool, ProLine Tax Research, includes authoritative content from BNA and IRS Forms/Publications.  Peer to peer advice is facilitated on a virtual community.  Questions and answers can be searched and retrieved at will from a user community.

The White Paper is available for download from at the following link:

Another place where innovation is taking place is in the mobile space.  Many publishers are creating mobile applications or websites which support mobile browsers for their product offerings.  Mobile applications for practitioners include:

There are many other applications out there related to tax & accounting.  These include the recently announced IRS2GO application, vendor provided tax refund checkers, and many others.  Many authors have written about mobile applications for practitioners in The CPA Practice Advisor, my favorite publication for the tax & accounting space.