By John Iarussi, Tech Manager – Office Tools ProfessionalOffice Tools Professional and Profile’s integration is a breakthrough in the accounting industry. Two companies, with two pieces of software, with one common goal: to make your life easier. Office Tools Professional is the first practice management software to fully integrate with tax software made by another company.
The synergy and integration that can be created between applications represents the pivotal next step in firm efficiency. So often over the years, firms have been left with a multitude of disconnected applications, each performing an isolated function with the overall workflow. In addition, firm’s needed another set of applications to manage the practice. With the technology available today, software vendors are beginning to see the value in linking arms and creating less encumbered offerings through thought out integrations. If done well, with a seamless look and feel, firms will be able to leverage themselves to a new level of success when taking advantage of such offerings. By streamlining their work, life is made easier.
Another benefit of the Office Tools Professional software is its use of the latest Microsoft technology, which allows seamless installation on internal and hosted Windows servers. Providing another option, by utilizing some of the latest technology; Cloud Computing. As firms begin to evaluate where they want their office programs and data to reside they will be provided with a high level solution that promotes choice.
The newly announced integration between Office Tools Professional and Intuit Profile takes a leap forward in helping accountants and tax professionals share contact information, track time, create projects, send and store documents and invoices across both programs seamlessly. Profile allowed Office Tools Professional to build these processes directly into the Profile tax software which enables users of both programs to take their efficiency to another level. Integration is not a new trend in this industry, it is quickly becoming a standard, but the level at which software’s “integrate” has always been minimal. Syncing contact data is the norm, occasionally document management systems will allow you do very specific things, but none have ever been so all encompassing as to allow the entire office ecosystem (Office Tools Professional) to interact completely with the tax software (Profile). Until now this was only available to people willing to go with a large “suited in” company of products, which wasn’t always done well and defeats the point of allowing firms choice.
While using the Profile integration you have the ability to create a project within Office Tools Professional based on the tax form the accountant is filing, in doing so the user can attach the related source documents and a profile link to the project for easy accessibility from within Office Tools Professional. From there you are able to track time against the project within Profile and auto update the tax payers contact information. When work is completed you can send the final returns in PDF format, to Office Tools Professional’s document management and Client Portal system, which also associates it to the client’s project. As the process moves on and you are ready to bill, the integration allows invoicing to be forwarded directly into Office Tools Professional’s billing section, or you can bypass this and bill from within alternate software as well. The choice is yours.
After all is said and done this isn’t just huge for Office Tools Professional customers and Profile customers alike, it is actually a giant leap forward for the entire industry. In a proprietary industry, allowing two programs to fully interact is a game changer. This integration benefits not only current users of these products, but it prods competitors to tear down their proprietary walls. This will hopefully begin a movement towards full office integration through multiple programs in an open source environment. This would undoubtedly allow the end user to choose the absolute best software combination for their specific needs, instead of being forced down a very narrow path lined with a multitude of separate programs. I vote for choice!