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Discussion:Drake Tax Software

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> Drake Tax Software


Mikef (talk|edits) said:

30 June 2006
Anyone have any experience with Drake?

Thanks,

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

30 June 2006
I did not use it Mike but I have experience in what I think about it. I tried the demo and I am constantly bombarded with calls, emails and junk snail mail from them....too much oversell to me. Just mho

Bwana007 (talk|edits) said:

30 June 2006
I have seen the full version of their 2004 tax software. Had a DOS look & feel to it. If you are a Windows/mouse user, this is not the option for you. They did mention they were improving it & making it a Windows one - don't know their progress on that. But, otherwise they seemed like a nice customer-oriented company. I still get some nice tax brochures with useful info. from them.

Dhtax (talk|edits) said:

24 July 2006
I've been using Lacerte in my "day job" and Drake for the last five years in my "other" practice, which became full-time this year. If I could afford Lacerte at home I'd use it, but Drake is OK for most of what I do. It has a very different look and feel than Lacerte, and like any other software it's got lots of quirks, so it takes some getting used to. Its main advantage is that you get an unlimited package -- all states, business, trust, etc, unlimited e-filing -- for a price that drops to under $1000 after your first year.

Frankly, the first few years I used them I had so many problems -- and problems with their supposedly "best in the industry" customer support -- that I investigated other products. But in fairness to Drake they have been improving steadily year by year (and I've been learning to use it better) to the extent that it's now not worth my effort to switch. This year they added a nice document filing system and an OK client tracking system (also included in the price).

You need to check, however, to make sure the program can do the specific things you need for your clients are. For the most common things it is OK. But I keep running into odd things it can't do -- like allow a non-resident alien from India to take the standard exemption on a 1040NR, or correctly compute the MA resident/non-resident combined tax for someone who moves from MA to RI and continues to work in MA. (At least it couldn't do those things in 2004.) And it has lots of problems with foreign addresses. Their customer support is generally pretty good now -- no wait time, and they'll call you back to follow up -- though they still resist admitting that there are things they get wrong or can't do. But then, so does Lacerte.

Nice touches: Drake has a web-based e-file database to check the status of your e-filed returns. Also does lots of downloadable upgrades and patches -- practically daily during this last season; you don't have to wait for a monthly CD.

Downside: If you read their users forum (compared to this one) you definitely get the idea that most Drake users do, shall we say, less complicated returns.

So if Lacerte is the Lexus, Drake is the Daewoo. Or maybe the Chevy. Does this help?

David.

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

16 August 2007
Now that it is August 2007 does anyone have DRAKE experience? I have been using Lacerte for 4 years...and since they are increasing their price in 2007 by 200% I have decided it is time to shop around. Makes me sick though...for I really liked Lacerte.

Anyway...I attended a webinar on Drake and spoke to their rep. Seems like a nice program....handles simple returns. My firm so far has Partnerships, S Corps and Sole Prop type business returns. For the individual returns, most have social security threshold issues, foreign income, capital losses, capital gains and child credit type returns...all fairly simple. I am thinking I probably went with a cadillac when I could have used the Chevy...and in a few years buy that Caddie....anyone with DRAKE experience please respond and tell me how you feel when you use DRAKE software.

Thanks everyone,

Diane Offutt Woodstock, Georgia 30189

BethAZ (talk|edits) said:

16 August 2007
This is my third year using Drake. It is a Chevy. I'm happy with it and intend to continue using it. Customer service is great, can't beat the price. Nice software. Easy to learn and use. Excellent forum - knowledgeable and friendly for tax and software questions.

Go to their website and get a demo. www.drakesoftware.com

GeoEA1065 (talk|edits) said:

16 August 2007
I have used Drake for several years. Their customer service is very good. Price is really good. They bundle everything, all states (which is nice), efile (nicer), corporate returns, in one price. I just use it for the small group that I do through my own business. For my day job I use Lacerte. But I don't have to pay for it, my boss does. So I havn't done anything really complex on Drake but my renewal fee for 50 returns, with all the trimmings, was $399: $10 for each return over the $50. ( I think the full price is about $1000) I also get a slim down version of Checkpoint and some doc management and write up utilities. But the thing I really like is calling them, getting through and talking to someone who isn't more than 3 time zones away.

The look is very different from Lacerte, but in some ways it is more intuitive.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

16 August 2007
4th year using Drake - very good for a mid size practice, but not all the bells and whistles of the software priced four times as much.

I can blow a lot of whistles and ring a lot of bells myself to save $3,000.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

16 August 2007
One thing I have to say about Drake....they got my attention!! I have received postcards with art work that is in line with my name, what I do, etc. I have a rep there who is pleasant and this may be year I switch!! How is it Kevin if you use quickbooks for financial data? The cool thing about ProSeries is that I an export my quickbooks data into the tax return for corporations and it cuts down tremendously on errors and on data entry :)

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

16 August 2007
I don't do any monthly/quarterly write up, and I only have a few clients who bring me their quickbooks files, so I find it doesn't take long to key in the data (sch C, 1065 or 1120-S) anyway. For those who import cient's data directly from quickbooks, do you even verify any numbers (look for mis-postings of owner's withdrawals, for instance, under auto expense or office supplies)?

So it is not a deal maker or deal killer.

When I used Lacerte, it always took as long to map the quickbooks files of my clients over to the tax return anyway, that it was just easier to key it in again. What is the time involved for keying in 35 or 40 lines?

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

16 August 2007
hehehe; not that long and yes, I reconcile their f/s before exporting to ProSeries. For small clients, I don't even use the export feature, it is more simple to key it in...but for some with departments, etc. then it certainly makes it easier :)

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

16 August 2007
And how long will it be before any software company is scquired by Intuit or CCH? No matter what management says, I have been with too many small banks that have ended up as Bank of America, or Wachovia etc.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

16 August 2007
For sure, Intuit is like Microsoft in the accounting realm. Drake still has my attention!! When you send me a postcard with a picture of the ocean and birds or crabs spelling my name in full color brochure, you have the marketing technique!!! hehe

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2007
Thank you for all the great response. I just received my demo CD from Drake and plan on utilizing it today. TO answer a question above pertaining to the import function of QuickBooks to Lacerte...I have been on Lacerte since 2003 and most of my clients are on QuickBooks. Also, I am a Certified QuickBooks Advisor. The few times I used the import feature I had to go back and fix something. Also, the mapping did take as long then entering the data did. So, I ALWAYS entered the data.

Lacerte has a many great features, but Kevinh5 above pretty much said it all. Those features....I can live without them if the cost is $3K or more. I need that $ to grow my company.

So far everything I have seen about Drake Software has been great. The trial disk will be what I make my decision on.

Thanks all for the great feedback.

Diane Offutt Woodstock, Ga. 30189

Actionbsns (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2007
I'm going to go online and order their demo CD. I really hate to leave LaCerte but the cost is just going to be prohibitive this year I'm afraid. Does anyone know where Drake's tech support and customer support are located? Have they sent them offshore? I have real issues about utilizing offshore support for my personal stuff. I just feel that in my business there are enough areas where I can be sued or just get in trouble for making the wrong decision, I don't want to add the possibility (even a slight one) of having my client files hacked by someone in another country who can't even be held responsible in this country.

Donniecastleman (talk|edits) said:

18 August 2007
I switched to Drake after getting pissed at ATX for moving their customer support overseas to Zimbabwe, and the customer support at Drake is top notch in my book. There's sometimes a few things I have to print out and attach, such as supplemental schedules, but overall Drake is really good for my business that has generally 250-300 returns at present, and growing. I don't really see any need to move up to a $3,000 program at this time. I would like to see Drake put more controls on its efiling program, as there have been a few times this year that returns got efiled that shouldn't have and vice versa, but I'm just going to be more careful and have everything I do on an erasaboard (client return finished, efiled, invoiced, paid) to make sure I don't get labeled incompetent because of a software error. Drake has this Client Writeup thing that has its own customer support. really a dinosaur program. It works, but there are surely way better ways to do 1099's and W-2's and bookkeeping, as there's no set instruction manual and every guy you talk to at CWU will give you a different answer about the same software question, I honestly hate the program but use it because it was given to me by Drake. Overall I'm glad to be using Drake, and I'm sure that the North Carolina accent that I hear when I call customer support makes me feel like I'm back home in Tennessee. For what it's worth, Donnie Castleman, Las Vegas NV

p.s. Hey Action, Drake CS is located in North Carolina, I hear that my former tax software company ATX moved their customer support back to the states after a mass tax preparer exodus, it's too late to bring me back though.

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

19 August 2007
Hi again,

I just finished playing around with the DRAKE CD they sent me. It definitely is different from Lacerte. I can see it will do ok with VERY basic returns. My concerns are with the tax planner. I have just started getting clients interested in this feature and Lacerte has a great tax planner program. Unfortuanately the cost has sky-rocketed for 2007 which is why I am looking elsewhere. I noticed Drake tax planner did not plan the state projection. I will call them Monday to find out why this did not happen. Hopefully they will tell me it is due to me only having a DEMO and not "THE REAL THING".

Do any of you utilize the tax planner and if so....do you project state as well as federal....oh PLEASE say yes...I so want a tax program that is friendly to small accounting firms.....

Diane Offutt Woodstock, Georgia 30189

Victor1530 (talk|edits) said:

23 August 2007
Kevin, Still working on this purchase, Using drake for the 2nd year....just found out that one of the clients in the purchase, has 8 diff entities. I am with you on the bells and whistles or lack thereof in Drake. Have you had exp with a consolidated rtn in Drake. this is a small to midsize practice and he is using Lacerte Proseries, CS Writeup and QB. Man I wanted to do accounting not software support!!! Last time i did a consolidated return was 4 years ago using ATX.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

23 August 2007
haven't done using Drake, but even with Lacerte I used to have to make several excel spreadsheets to attach

the hard part was consolidating expense categories with different names - is 'office expnese' the rent for the office for entity 1 or the same as 'office supplies' in entity 2.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

August 23, 2007
Saw Drake at the Accounting Show in Chicago yesterday, very clean, easy to use, built for speed (even faster than ProSeries?), great folks, and the loyalty of Drake's customers is skyhigh, which tells you loads. I'm sticking with PS but just sniffed the other side of the street...interesting. And about a thousand for EVERYTHING!!!

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

23 August 2007
My Drake rep just called advising me that Drake Tax Planner does not support the states...just federal...HOWEVER, he knows I really need the state so he is looking into what programs will work with Drake. I must admit; Drake Software customer support definitely outshines Lacerte.

Oh, I also received a response from Lacerte advising me the price increase for 2007 was to cover their "enhancements" and they understand the need for small companies to compare other software programs. The response sounds like a "Brush off" to me. Since Lacerte is not loyal to their customer's I guess going forward I will start recommending PEACHTREE accounting rather than QuickBooks. Intuit really needs to look at the bigger picture. When you start messing around with the little guy...well....they will pay for it in the long run.

I will keep everyone informed on my progress with Drake Software.

Diane Offutt

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

August 23, 2007
I did overhear a LaCerte rep doing the dance yesterday, and the explanation was something to the effect that this was for permanent enhancements to the program which was a one-time billing, that the breakeven was two years, etc. etc.

Victor1530 (talk|edits) said:

23 August 2007
Well it will not make or break the deal, but the seller spent over 6 k on software last year.Most folks on this site would consider this potential practice small, the owner and 1 full time write up person. So I question it because i have a friend in Murfreesboro running a practice with 12 or 13 employees using QB and Drake and nothing else. I know it is the enterprise version. Diane I also experienced superb customer service from Drake thislast tax year. I did ck with the seller on the renewals etc and most of the tax software are annual fees anyway.

Thanks kevin

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

August 23, 2007
You'd think someone from LaCerte would show up here and talk...

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
It is obvious that Lacerte is NOT doing their homework. I have been analyzing UltraTaxCS, a Thomson RIA product, used to be Creative Solutions. WOW......the price is reasonable (not as low as Drake...but not as high as Lacerte). Customer service GREAT. I have Thomson RIA CheckPoint as my tax research program...and if I go with this UltraTaxCS the Thomson Ria Checkpoint can be accessed while preparing a tax return. I really love everything about this program. They also have a built in tax planner, for federal and state. It only projects out one year...but that will be ok. Now, EVERY client will get a "next year tax plan"...which is what I will be advertising. IF ever they want more sophisticated tax plans then I will purchase the separate add-in tax planner program that is REALLY flexible. Just do not have the client need right now for that one. As for the program itself I feel it beats Lacerte. The screens are more intuitive. WHen you order the demo it comes with prepared 1040, 1120S, 1120C and 1065. Then the demo allows you to walk through and get a good feel about the program.

Anyone who wants to leave Lacerte, whether for the price increase or just the fact Lacerte no longer cares about the little guy...I would highly recommend you check out UltraTax CS. You might also want to give their RIA CHECKPOINT THOMSON PPC Deskbooks a try....it is a very comprehensive tax research program. I have a streamlined version; runs approximately $1.5K annual. It saves me so much time in tax research...and I bill my clients during the year when they need authority to take a position on a tax return....so I get a pretty good return for my money.

Here is the email and tele number for UltraTax CS CS.Sales@thomson.com 1-800-968-8900

Now, did Lacerte's so called "enhancements" give us anything that we could use to better serve our client? Answer...NO.

As much as I really like Drake, the company, the service...I really need that tax planner for federal and state and I just really love the integration with the tax research program within UltraTax CS.

Good Luck everyone...and thank you so much for all the great feedback.

Diane Offutt Woodstock, Ga. 30189

Donniecastleman (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
By the way, I did have some state form issues and the Drake people helped me out with it, I thought I saw that someone said Drake does NOT support state filings when in fact they got me out of a rock in a hard place on a wisconsin non-resident filing, is there no state tax return worse than wisconsin out of state, complete with its list of 50 questions (why did you leave, did you come back, did you take your clothes with you, will you ever come back, should we contact your mom and ask why you left wisconsin, do you plan on promoting cheese consumption in your new state, etc)

TheTinCook (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
I think that it was that they had no state tax planner.

DavidKM (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
I agree with Diane. UltraTax is terrific. Very robust, very user friendly. The first year I switched to it, I went the route of pay $150 up front and then pay per return as you go. I imagine they still offer that. It is a great way to try the product out on some clients with relatively low risk.

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
Yes..UltraTax CS still offers $150 then pay per return....AND the tax planner (one year projection) is included in the price..no additional price.

I am so happy I checked them out.

Diane Offutt

Anchorman (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
This was my first full tax season, and I used Drake, and couldn't be more pleased. What I valued most was the fact that I could pick up the phone and know I'd speak with a knowledgeable, American customer support rep within seconds of my call, and they would answer anything and everything I needed to know. If the product is indeed a Chevy, as someone states above, then the customer support is nothing less than a Lexus.

ICTina (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
I don't know about Drake. I've been using Lacerte PayPerReturn and don't appreciate the price increase. I've got a really small practice and have been considering TaxWise. (They don't have a tax planner either beyond computing the estimated tax for the following year.) They seem to have very good support. The sales person did a 1.5 hour online demo meeting with me and apparently there also be an orientation once I purchase it. Anyone else have experience with TaxWise?

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
So Creative Solutions offers CS Ultratax for 150.00 plus ppr? If so, I am sold, hands down. In large firms, I used write up solution, depreciation solution and Ultratax and with all that is going on the write up program wins my option hands down.

Hard to switch but makes sense if it is what I remembered it to be!! Thank you guys!!

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
Hi Sandysea,

I ordered the 2007 UltraTax CS and they told me I will get access to 2006 (for any extensions that need to be filed). YAY....I can offer my clients tax planner at no additonal cost (limited tax planner for now). My rep was wonderful...walks me through the program. The demo disk was great...they have all sample client tax returns...then have you add assets...dispose of assets....add dependents...etc.etc...so you can see how it works. It is priced GREAT like I said above...$150 pay per return...then each return is either $17 fed $10 state for 1040; all others $27 Fed, State $14. For consolidated returns $51 per return. Check it out. Call my rep and ask her to overnight the demo. Her info is:

Crystal Viegelahn Associate Account Representative Thomson Tax & Accounting Phone 800-968-8900 x 6331 Fax 734-426-3750 Crystal.viegelahn@thomson.com

Good Luck to you. I am so happy to have this forum and know that I am not alone in my distaste for Lacerte. Not only with their price increase...but their attitude of not caring for any of us. Hopefully they will learn from this mistake.

Meanwhile....I am finding out that Lacerte's price increase actually was helpful to my firm. If they didn't increase their price I would not have taken the week to check out the competition. NOW I find that UltraTax CS is a MUCH better product.

Did I say that UltraTax CS gives you access to your RIA Thomson CheckPoint and PPC handbooks? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....this turned out to be a good week after all. Maybe I should send Lacerte a "thank you note"

Bye for now,

Diane Offutt Woodstock, Georgia 30189

Rosalydia (talk|edits) said:

24 August 2007
Does UltraTax have an automatic conversion from Lacerte?

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

25 August 2007
Hello Rosalydia,

Yes, I am about to embark on it. I just purchased the REP plan ($150 license, then pay per return). The way the conversion works is as follows:

I will copy my LACERTE customer files to a CD or DVD then send to UltraTax CS. They will incorporate the Lacerte customer information into my UltraTax CS. THis way I will be able to print 2007 tax organizers with my client's 2006 info....not to mention reduce the need for data entry.

As I progress with UltraTax CS I will post my experience here. This will help others as this forum has helped me in the past.

Diane Offutt

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

25 August 2007
ALL my past experience with CS was outstanding. They always did the data conversions for you and the cool thing about the CS packages is that you can give your clients modules to do their own monthly bookkeeping; you then upload it into your program, make the changes and it all goes together with the depreciation module, write up, time and billing, tax return, etc. It used to cost thousands and thousands per year but now with PPR, thanks Diane!! I will call your rep and get the demo CD...what great news this is!!

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

27 August 2007
Glad I could help.

Good Luck

Diane

Cmt56ss (talk|edits) said:

27 August 2007
I work for a small tax practitioner who uses UltraTax CS and I find it to be very user friendly. In the past I had used ProSeries when I worked for another small practitioner and found UltraTax to be much easier in terms of a user interface and much more rounded as far as bugs. The one thing I have heard about UT is the fees can be very high. Conversely, a part-time CPA who helps out in my office during busy season swears by Drake because the low fees make it affordable to the tax preparers who work part-time and do not want to be worried by high overhead.

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

27 August 2007
I tried Drake, and although the price is really low, the program is geared for less complicated returns. I find with UltraTax CS you can get the benefits at a low price if you buy the REP, pay per return type license. SInce my firm is small and we are just getting started with tax returns I find this the better deal. Also, UltraTax CS includes a tax planner at no additional costs. WIth Lacerte EVERY feature has an additional cost. Intuit is no longer friendly to the small accounting firms. Their price and ATTITUDE definitely gives that message LOUD and CLEAR.

Diane Offutt

Sea-tax (talk|edits) said:

27 August 2007
I have used Lacerte for many years and find the program to be top notch. They do have issues when it comes to service but I fortunately have not experienced them very often.

I also use CS writeup and the program is fantastic. However the customer service I have gotten has been less than perfect as well.

Unfortunately, I think with all software providers one must choose the lesser of two evils as the purchaser sees it. Someone will always be unhappy with something , but each of us must make our personal opinions. I think in the not to distant future all of us will be choosing between a intuit product or cch product.

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

28 August 2007
Only time will tell. Intuit made some dumb decisions in the beginning with QuickBooks (ignoring the accountant)...then they realized they could get a much bigger market by including the accountants. Now, with their tax products they are not thinking of the small accounting firms....which there are many. Also, the small accounting firm of today may be the large one of tomorrow. More than likely Intuit will go back to the drawing board once they realize you can't treat your customers badly AND have a price increase. Intuit is a big company, but it does have competitors and the products resemble one another. They need to clean up their attitude problem and rethink their strategy. Unhappy customers do have other options.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

August 28, 2007
The interesting thing is that the small accountants are the ones who built Intuit! ProSeries started as MacInTax for $50, unlimited filings! And then one thing leads to another, and now I've got one of the most expensive packages in the country. I used to laugh at colleagues who paid this for Anderson's A+. Now I is one...

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

28 August 2007
JR1 is so very correct. Very sad situation.....

Barbara13 (talk|edits) said:

1 September 2007
Can anyone address the other than 1040 programs offered by CS Ultratax / Drake? I have a small practice and have used Lacerte PPV since they bought Accutax (pre-Intuit). I seem to be picking up trusts now along with an occasional estate, plus a couple of partnerships/corps. I am unhappy with the $300 upfront charge for PPV this year. (Originally it was a "deposit" that future return costs were deducted from.) Plus the PPV cost has skyrocketed since Intuit bought Lacerte. Over the last few years I have moved all my "easy" 1040s to a small product that I don't want to mention or Lacerte will buy them as Intuit did another small company I used years ago for small returns and then dumped! This year I will move about 10 more to make up the $300 so Intuit really won't make any more on my account . . . But I need the busines returns.

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

2 September 2007
Barbar13,

Per my Ultratax CS rep...their PPR @ $150 lic fee, then pay as you go (see above message I listed prices) covers all types of returns...business, individual, not for profit, etc. Give her a call to confirm. Also, order a demo of the program and try out the different types of returns you will need. I found the program to be much easier to use.

I really do not see a major learning curve (which is what I was REALLY afraid of), for UltraTax CS program is just plain intuitive. Between the price and the ease...well....I am glad I made the switch from Lacerte to UltraTax CS.

Diane Offutt

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

2 September 2007
Do keep us posted on your progress, say after October 15th when the season ends. But is my math correct in that if you do 500 Fed/State returns you have 13K in PPR fees? At that point surely it is better to buy a full version.

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

2 September 2007
Death&Taxes

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Depending on the type of returns you prepare. I am a VERY small firm...less than 50 returns last year. Hopefully a lot more this year. Each year I will project my costs..individual and business...once I hit that threshold of "Unlimited" then I would purchase the unlimited license. For the past few years the pay as you go works great. I am in Grad school and sitting for the EA exam...so it will be at least one more year before I really start growing the business.

Yes, I will keep everyone posted on my experiences.

AlmanacTax1 (talk|edits) said:

11 September 2007
I have a question about the Drake program. I hope someone can help.

Does anyone know why the drake program never carries forward the NOL of the previous years? For example, a taxpayer has NOL of

2003 1,000 2004 5,000 2005 3,000

Supposed the taxpayer chose to carry forward all these NOL, the drake program would only carry the 3,000 NOL of 2005 to 2006. And on the NOL worksheet, it also only enters 3,000 in 2005's row and leaves the 2003 and 2004 rows blank. Does anyone know why?

BethAZ (talk|edits) said:

11 September 2007
You can ask them. Their customer support people are very helpful.

www.drakesoftware.com

Mcpa (talk|edits) said:

27 September 2007
I've been a Lacerte user for about 12 years (PPR) and the price is getting so high that I am looking around for other tax software. I went to a Drake presentation and picked up a copy of their 2006 tax prep software. The biggest drawback to it so far, in my opinion, is the look of the final product. That is, the hard copies of the returns, the letters, folder pages, etc don't look nearly as good as Lacerte. When I tried to customize their letters, the changes did not print out correctly. Anybody have experience in customizing/improving the Drake output? I've contacted customer support & they are looking into this issue, but thought I'd run it by Drake users on this forum.

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

10 October 2007
Hi everyone,

Wanted to post my experience with UltraTax CS this Extension Tax Season....in one word FANTASTIC. Yes, I had a bit of a learning curve..however, the program is so darn intuitive....and the help screens are absolutely unbelievable...they truly are HELP screens. The very few items that I had issues with, when I called their helpdesk I was connected in less than a minute and the problems resolved in less than five minutes.

I am VERY happy that I switched programs. UltraTax CS is priced for the growing accounting practice. If you are unhappy with your program, whether price or service, do give UltraTax CS a shot. You will be so happy.

Call or email me if you need any additional information on them.

Diane Offutt Woodstock, GA 30189

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

10 October 2007
Oh....and TAXTOOLS is a great program for tax plans. It offers more than just tax plans..AND it is an annual fee of $189 (no pay per plan fees). When you first look at their program it is for CA and NY...however, I called them and there is a way to set up any of the states....just have to enter the tax rates manually (one time). It looks like a great program...I am going to purchase it for my TAX PLAN clients...I do not have many...but I am a growing company. With TAXTOOLS I like the fact that there are so many built in tools to analyze situations...quickly. It will save me so much time. Check them out...taxtools.com.

Diane Offutt

Donniecastleman (talk|edits) said:

10 October 2007
Is anyone on this list a compensated endorsee? Just checking, but I buy my Drake every year with hard earned money!

Dianeoffutt (talk|edits) said:

15 October 2007
I am not. I purchase all my accounting and tax products with hard earned money earned in my accounting and tax firm. I just wanted to share my experiences with other like kind accountants and tax preparers. The whole purpose behind these forums are to share knowledge.

Diane Offutt

Skhyatt (talk|edits) said:

16 October 2007
I have taken a look at Ultra Tax, Taxwise, and Drake. I didn't care for Taxwise. Ultra Tax looks good, but probably not enough to make me switch from Lacerte. Drake, while not as robust as Lacerte looks pretty good when also considering the price savings. For right now, I'll probably either stay with Lacerte, which I've used the last two years or switch to Drake. Lacerte is a great program, but I don't really like the way they seem to have snubbed their nose at the little guy. Can anyone tell me why I shouldn't switch to Drake?

JAD (talk|edits) said:

16 October 2007
Skyhyatt. That is very well put.

Tim, if you are following this thread....you are part of the Intuit web, aren't you? Can you provide another perspective? Many of us seem to be feeling that an important part of the program/company has declined significantly recently.

Ramfan (talk|edits) said:

16 October 2007
I will throw in my .02 worth. We are a small tax prep business that does a fair amount of 1065, 1102s,1120 and a few 990's. We prepare somewhere around 2k returns each year and have been using Drake at least 10-12 yrs.

We started out with "computers" in 1987 and used and old program called Xpress software that was very simple but support was terrible. We then went with another program after a 3 yrs and it was easier but the costs kept rising every year and support was better but not great. It seems all of the people I ran into in our area and at seminars were using Drake so we switched and it was a hard program to use at first but we have pretty much become used to everything.

One of the hardest things was when they went to the windows based program, which we knew was coming, but after using it for extensions for a summer we never looked back.

For our practice it works great and the support has always been there when we need it and they bend over backward to help.

I have looked at some of the other software but for the money and what we use it is perfect

Jsmith789 (talk|edits) said:

24 October 2007
Hi,

I am also a long-time Lacerte user looking around for another software, even though I am not exactly a small firm: 1500+ 1040s and 7 years in business (have always used Lacerte). Lacerte still has a long way to go in user interface design, data entry efficiency and stability. When I pay 6000 for a software like Lacerte, I don't feel I am getting my money's worth.

I got a suggestion to look into Drake from another forum and ordered a demo. When it arrived, I almost didn't want to install it, thinking it would be another forms-based cheap piece of you know what. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

Compared to an elephant like Lacerte it looks too simplistic, yet it seems to have all the essential functionality. No-frills data entry screens let you keyboard through the tax return very efficiently without using a mouse. Of course, you have to learn the new layout of data entry screens. Report and client letter designers are quite on par with Lacerte (although I miss Lacerte's letter border), and it seems to have all the forms I need.

The printouts are of lower quality when compared to Lacerte, sure. Also, some parts of the program look amateurish (the View/Print screen, for example). There is also a bit more data entry involved at times -- an extra check box you don't have to check in Lacerte, for example, (example: the telephone tax refund), but, on the other hand some data entry aspects are better.

Things I like about Drake at first glance:

1. Seems to be very fast and efficient. With Lacerte, it takes 2-4 seconds to recalculate the return, even on my new Core Duo. Drake does it in a fraction.

2. Clean, no-frills user interface with configurable colors. With the help of some tweaking on Windows Themes and program color setup, I can accomplish a neat, flat look (i.e. get rid of those dumb 3D effects), with grey-on-black color scheme, even on forms, which you can't do with Lacerte (Do those "high-end" tax software designers even understand how hard it is to stare at a white screen for 12 hours a day???) Lacerte provides some color adjustment, but not to that degree.

3. All data entry screens are designed so that they don't require scrolling (or sub-sections, for that matter), yet they are still neat and clean and perceived clutterless (in most instances). Facilitates fast data entry.

4. Keeps automatically track of preparation time.

I would like to know if there are any serious issues with Drake, such as not calculating something correctly or diagnostics being substandard. I would also like to know if there are any issues with multi-state tax returns. So far, at first glance, the software looks impressive for the price, but I guess, I wouldn't know unless I tried to do some more complex tax returns.

Btw, I have looked at UltraTax -- don't like it. Its features are comparable to Lacerte, and so is the price, but user interface is worse. I have also taken a cursory look at Prosystem, which has marginally better features (from my viewpoint) with a hefty price increase.

My 2c worth...

Skhyatt (talk|edits) said:

24 October 2007
I am still looking at Drake. There is much to like about it. But, like you, I used Lacerte, so it takes some getting used to. The only issue I have run into so far, which may seem minor, is how the program handles listed property autos using the standard mileage rate. After my first conversation with Drake about this, they said that the worksheet that the program produces can be attached to the tax return, which in some cases eliminates the need for form 4562. That seems kind of quirky to me, but will do more research to make sure I wasn't given the wrong info. Other than that, things look pretty straightforward. I agree that some of the reports, letters don't look as good/nice as Lacerte, but for the money.......

Skhyatt (talk|edits) said:

24 October 2007
For those of you who use Drake now, do you understand what I am trying to say in my last post regarding the handling of autos/standard miles, etc.? If so, how are you handling it? Are you able to get it print out a 4562 if the only item is a listed item auto?

Jsmith789 (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2007
Thanks for your input, Skhyatt!

Anybody else care to share their experience with Drake? Has it any serious issues?

After playing with it for awhile, these are the inconveniences/shortcomings that I have found with 1040 module so far:

1. Impossible to apply vehicle worksheet to rentals, partnerships or 2106. So, if you want to enter vehicle expenses by std mlg rate, for example, you would have to calculate them by hand. Form 2106 has its own vehicle information section, you can't apply the "stand-alone" vehicle worksheet to 2106. I would rather have a single location to enter all vehicle information. Also, vehicle info section of 2106 does not include vehicle description. Who can remember later what vehicles were entered there if there is no description?

2. Not very convenient view/print screen. When you want to switch from data entry to a form view, you have switch to view/print screen first, then select the form, then press enter (or double-click with mouse) to see it. I would prefer to see a form right away after entering the print/view screen, with 1040 as a default, and if I move to a different form, I want the program to remember my selection the next time I switch to forms view. The way it is now, is not very convenient if your work habit includes frequent switching between data input and result (the form).

3. Only critical error messages are shown after calculation, i.e. those that prevent e-filing, which you can then click on and the progam takes you to the relevant input screen/field. Less critical errors and informational messages are printed as a diagnostic worksheet (messages and notes pages), so you have to switch to forms view in order to see them. As if this wasn't cumbersome enough, the forms have no hyperlinks to take you to the input, so you would have to memorize (or print out) the messages, then go back to data input to change things. Very inconvenient!

4. Handling of absent values. I ran across this when the program didn't calculate retirement contribution credit. Instead, it gave me an informational diagnostic about client being eligible for it and suggesting to fill out form 8880. I went to the 8880 screen and entered 0 to the Roth IRA distributions field which caused the program to calculate the credit. Why can't the program equate the absent value with zero? Seems very straightforward to me.

5. Numerous check boxes/data fields which could be checked/entered by default, such as telephone refund checkbox, sales tax worksheet, the above-mentioned 8880 worksheet, etc. It would reduce the data entry effort as well as a possibility to miss a credit or a deduction a lot. If there was a default value feature, that would help a lot and make the last two complaint items moot.

BethAZ (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2007
I've used Drake for several years after using Lacerte. The customer service dept. is very responsive and forwards suggestions to the programmers. The programmers listen and are diligent about improving the program. You won't sit on hold, they respond very quickly and very well. I cannot say enough good things about their customer support. They treat you like you are the only customer they have.

Totally agree on the lack of ability to click on items and be taken to the data entry screen and I really miss that. Totally agree about the defaults.

Totally agree about the error messages. The program will not always ding at you when Lacerte would to alert us to potential problems with the return. This program isn't exactly topnotch on how information interfaces between different forms.

RIA Checkpoint is included in the cost of the software for research. They also include a write up program that I don't use.

I think Drake works very well for uncomplicated 1040s. It works well for more complex 1040s, business tax returns, and all State returns but you have to watch it.

Probably some balance exists between the lower price and the higher amount of time needed to carefully review the tax returns. Like anything new, it was a little frustrating during the learning curve of the first year. I'm a happy user now that I'm used to it, but I don't prepare a great number of tax returns and have no employees.

Jsmith789 (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2007
Thanks, Beth!

Glad to see somebody who has successfully weaned herself off Lacerte!

I think a lot of preparers are sticking with Lacerte and continue to pay extraorbitant fees because they are too accustomed to the specifics of Lacerte data entry and relying too much on Lacerte's diagnostics. Lacerte is like a bad habit. It is very far away from being an excellent tax prep software. You still have to use quite a bit of overrides and work-arounds to get the job done, as well as type too much. So I figure, if I have to do the same with Drake with a software cost benefit of about 5000 for me, why stay with Lacerte? Even if it involves a few extra keystrokes (that's what data entry personnel is for) and not relying on diagnostics that much. Actually, some of the Lacerte diagnostics is rather redundant and I would be happy if I could turn them off...

Taxguy1024 (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2007
I used Drake for the couple of filing seasons that I was on my own as a sole practitioner. I've used just about everything from TaxCut and TurboTax to CCH ProSystem FX and I found Drake to be a very good value and fairly easy to work with....both the product and the people.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2007
For once someone is giving valuable information in reviewing software vis-a-vis other software. I don't use either but now I have some idea what you are talking about. When finishing a return for someone of the correct age with low income and a pension/IRA it asks if they are a full time student and then goes ahead and computes the 8880 if the person qualifies. And from using this software so long, it is hard to conceive of any software where I cannot hit 'print' and print a return from any screen....it does warn me of errors and ask if I am sure....but if I want to see something on paper, I can do it.

Thanks to both of you. I feel less now like the blind man with my hands on an elephant.

Jsmith789 (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2007
D&T: Clarification: I don't see any issue with print function in Drake, actually. It takes only three mouse clicks from input screen to print something out (and you can automate even that with keyboard macros). What I tried to emphasize is the inefficiency of switching btw data input and form view. That's where I spend most of the time (besides data entry, of course). Printing occurs usually once, or maybe twice, in the whole process of preparing a given tax return, so, accessing the print function is not a big issue for me even if it takes a couple extra mouse clicks.

As far as the retirement contribution credit goes, it is not a big issue, either. Just one more workaround around a particular software's limitations (just like I do every day with Lacerte). I would just have to incorporate it into my data entry process to go routinely to screen 8880 and enter zero into Roth IRA distributions, so that whenever applicable, the program would calculate the credit. My data entry personnel can handle that. It's extra work, sure, but not that bad.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2007
There are many points about mine I dislike, but most have to do with limits when it comes to complications, like the limited # of possibilities on a K-1 worksheet, Line 11, where if it is not Remic, it goes nowhere unless you do the entering. But I would go nuts switching from data entry to forms view. Proseries has a data entry view but it is optional; I only use it to enter long strings of Sch D transactions, or when putting a new client's depreciation schedule into the system. And in Proseries there is a separate auto worksheet for each form, but not one specific one. You can move certain worksheets between activities, but this removes it from the first so that to have that same auto in two places requires entering it twice.

Skhyatt (talk|edits) said:

31 October 2007
JSmith,

1. Impossible to apply vehicle worksheet to rentals, partnerships or 2106. So, if you want to enter vehicle expenses by std mlg rate, for example, you would have to calculate them by hand. Form 2106 has its own vehicle information section, you can't apply the "stand-alone" vehicle worksheet to 2106. I would rather have a single location to enter all vehicle information. Also, vehicle info section of 2106 does not include vehicle description. Who can remember later what vehicles were entered there if there is no description?

Are you referring to the AUTO worksheet? I have found out that Drake has a bug in this feature that is supposed to be fixed in the upcoming release.

Jsmith789 (talk|edits) said:

31 October 2007
Skhyatt: Yep, I meant the AUTO worksheet. The title of the screen says it all: Auto worksheet for Schedule C. You can't attach it to any other schedule. (I forgot one more: Sched F, where you have to calculate mileage deduction by hand.) In addition to auto worksheet, Sched C has its own auto section for one vehicle. But as I said, I prefer all my autos to be in one place, plus include a description, like: Mazda 98, so I know exactly what vehicle was claimed. Handling of vehicles could definitely be better in Drake.

Haz48076 (talk|edits) said:

28 October 2009
the last entry on this subject was in 2007. Anybody has any current comments


Jboylecpa (talk|edits) said:

8 November 2009
We switched to Drake from Lacerte right after Hurricane Katrina and haven't looked back once. I kept trying to explain to my Lacerte rep that I couldn't afford to spend $6k on his software when I didn't know IF I had any clients left. After three weeks of discussions, he offered a percentage discount from their standard price that still put the price higher than my standard renewal discount price, and the advice that I could finance the software.

Yeahright. Drake has been a good fit for my practice. I prefer input-sheet based software over forms-entry. Like Lacerte, it has some basic input screens that lower-level preparers can handle my initial data entry before my cleanup and "taking positions."

Drake has continued improvement and enhancing their software so that it no longer has that DOS feel or look to it. Moreover, Drake has not fallen into the trap that many tax software packages have: it does not try to be all things and all software for all people. I purchase tax software to prepare taxes; not manage contacts, not do payroll, not do bookkeeping, not to merge all sorts of things with all sorts of data, not for email, not to build websites, etc. That said, Drake does have import/export features to Quickbooks and MS Office, it does offer a separate write-up package, it does have a Client Status manager, and Drake offers a free website. But those are secondary to its main function of prepare tax returns without trying to get too fancy about it.

Overall, Lacerte is probably a better tax software but not six or seven times better than Drake, as it is priced six or seven times as much. To do everything that Drake does, you'd probably be looking at $7k plus.

The people at Drake are also top-knotch. I think as far as tech support goes it's like computers...garbage in garbage out. No, they cannot answer tax questions. They expect you to know how to prepare tax returns. But they CAN answer how information flows through the software. Like I said, it's a good fit for me.

FloridaTaxes (talk|edits) said:

8 November 2009
I agree. I switched to Drake recently and am very happy so far. I have prepared all of my amended returns, late returns, and returns on extension in Drake since I got it. I have also transitioned some of my payroll/write-up work to it from QuickBooks. I find it was very easy to learn their software and it makes things much quicker to do than ProSeries.

LM 35EA (talk|edits) said:

9 November 2009
Anyone use TRX-Pro or TRX-Taxwise software?

Yarivelez (talk|edits) said:

23 January 2010
Did a tax return today for a first-time home buyer and Proseries did not even have the new form available. I called tech support and waited 3 minutes (which is a lot compared to Drake's software pick up on the second ring) Well I asked the customer services rep about Form 5405 and he was rude and did not even know when the new form will be updated in Proseries. Called Drake and they have the new updated form already.

I only switched because I'm hiring staff and figured proseries basic would be easier for them.

EA rob (talk|edits) said:

23 January 2010
I use ProSeries in my "other practice" and find that the forms are easy but have not tried Drake. This offseason however I will be expanding into an office and will have to pick up bookkeeping and payroll and just might stay with ProSeries for that reason. Im not fortunate enough to have any employees and quite frankly not sure I would want to trust anyone with my clients as they customer service as a whole in this city is starting to dump.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

24 January 2010
I see the updated, ready to file, 5405 in my Proseries.

Lark (talk|edits) said:

26 May 2010
Most of the posts to this thread are dated. Anyone have any new insight to Drake Software? Have used Lacerte for probably 15 years. Can not justify the price for Lacerte again this year. What are the problems converting to Drake? Have concerns about my DMS files and continuing to use them in the future. Has anyone converted DMS files to Drake Document Management?

Of course, the decision needs to be made this week. Any suggestions or comments will be appreciated.

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

26 May 2010
When you do a search, the discussions started most recently will be at the bottom of the search results. This one, started in 2006, was probably close to the top. For software discussions, which tend to revive every year or so, it can be best to simply add the current year to your search terms, or scan the front page of the Practice Management/Business Growth forum.

There's an active discussion on Drake right now, in fact, just a few lines down from where this discussion is: Discussion:Drake for california taxes (discusses Drake overall, not just Cal.).

Lark (talk|edits) said:

26 May 2010
Thanks Trillium.

Now I have even more concerns.

Guess more research is in order.

AlphaCA (talk|edits) said:

28 November 2010
AlphaCA

I have been using ProSeries for past 6 years now. It is kind of expensive tax preparation tool, I was thinking of switching to Drake. Last year they sent me an older full version to practice.

After reading some reviews, I can swallow the price sour pill rather than become a Drake Crash Dummy. I will call that toll free number (posted earlier) to see if I can get some discount on the price!

ProSeries always allows to download full version to play with it, but it will not useful until I have renewed it. Makse sense! I have a 64-bit operating system, the download one was 32-bit. I will figure it out.

This is a good forum, and I am new to it.

Happy Tax Season ...

Cobbcpa (talk|edits) said:

29 November 2010
I used Drake for the first time this year and really liked it. Have used Lacerte and UltraTax in the past. Drake was a lot less expensive and did all the things I needed. Great, fast customer support. The screens are easy to understand, and it was the easiest of all to learn. I'll continue to use it.

The Drake items that weren't as good were: 1) The organizers are not as easy to for clients to understand and follow; 2) You can't click on a cell on a tax form and jump to the input field for the cell; 3) Form 990's don't proforma from year to year - you have to start over with the input each year; 4) It doesn't seem like Drake offers as many diagnostics.

Overall, Drake did very well - the higher cost of the upper end softwares didn't justify the extra benefits to a sole practitioner like me. I don't use the practice management tools that the others offer.

Also, I believe Drake tied with UltraTax this year as No. 1 in the Journal of Accountancy's software rating survey.

Cobbcpa (talk|edits) said:

29 November 2010
I used Drake for the first time this year and really liked it. Have used Lacerte and UltraTax in the past. Drake was a lot less expensive and did all the things I needed. Great, fast customer support. The screens are easy to understand, and it was the easiest of all to learn. I'll continue to use it.

The Drake items that weren't as good were: 1) The organizers are not as easy to for clients to understand and follow; 2) You can't click on a cell on a tax form and jump to the input field for the cell; 3) Form 990's don't proforma from year to year - you have to start over with the input each year; 4) It doesn't seem like Drake offers as many diagnostics.

Overall, Drake did very well - the higher cost of the upper end softwares didn't justify the extra benefits to a sole practitioner like me. I don't use the practice management tools that the others offer.

Also, I believe Drake tied with UltraTax this year as No. 1 in the Journal of Accountancy's software rating survey.

Michaelpc (talk|edits) said:

8 December 2010
Interesting - I seem to be the only one on Earth looking to upgrade to perhaps Drake. I have been using TaxWise since the dark ages - since 1990. TaxWise started off very responsive, very solid, and became the total opposite since being purchased by CCH makers of ProFx. I have used ProFx at my day job over the past couple decades, their support is rock solid - they totally called a couple pros I worked for on the (not many times) carpet for wanting software to do things improper because they had not done their homework. That price though is an extreme dealbreaker.

My point though, when seeing folks dismiss the Drake (that I have not used) for being overly simple (as is TaxWise) - you don't really have anything against quality control do you? Whether using overly simple or overly complex (ProFx) software, I have never felt software was smart enough to excuse my creating clear workpapers or re-computations of items that are not simply off a form or a sum of the same. This was part of our quality control at firms doing up to 300 returns, I still do it today with my meager 37 returns. Am I doing too much work here?

AdelEA (talk|edits) said:

8 December 2010
Actually Mike, I'm in the same boat like you. I've used ATX till it was bought by CCH and year after year saw thing so south for that program. I tried Drake and bought it for this coming season. It's a bit different input wise then ATX, bought over all it looks like it will get the job done for me and many users on here that I trust their opinion are using Drake.

--AdelEA 17:11, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Jmcdon00 (talk|edits) said:

20 January 2011
Had to call Drake today because I couldn't figure out how to setup the document manager that was included(everything is included with drake). Customer service picked up after 1 ring. Person that answered was very knowledgable and helpful.

Drake is the only tax software I have ever used(7 years?) so I can't compare it to others. I will say though that their customer service is the best customer service I have ever received. I don't think I have ever heard a second ring when I call, and you would think you were talking to the owner every time based on there knowledge.

Craigums (talk|edits) said:

29 March 2011
Let me say, I don't fully understand the Drake software cult. This is my first year on my own, and I came from a firm that used ProSeries. Yes, Drake is not as streamlined, that's fine, it's cheaper.

However, it really seems quite primitive. The things Drake's customer service tells me make me feel like I'm in 1999. And I don't want to party like it.

If it wasn't for the customer service that can sort out problems quickly, this software would be absolute garbage, but because it's there, I'll keep using it. But I certainly won't rave about it.

Captcook (talk|edits) said:

29 March 2011
I agree, Craig. My first employer (albeit a short one) used Drake. This was 2005. It reminded me of an old DOS program. My subsequent (and current) employer uses UltraTax, which has had its share of problems, but is pretty intuitive overall.

SteveWB (talk|edits) said:

30 March 2011
I was a long time Lacerte user (about 12 years). Finally got tired of paying the Lacerte fees and switched to Drake for 2009 and now 2010. Sure it does not have the same feel and some of slick features of Lacerte. Sure miss the Like Kind Wizard but I can work around almost all of the differences. Plus I can save several thousand dollars compared to Lacerte. I believe it also makes me a better tax preparer because some the things I took for granted with Lacerte, Drake is not as good and I have to check things more and understand them better.

Newbee (talk|edits) said:

4 April 2011
Agree with Steve in that you need to check things very thoroughly. The program adds new input fields each year, which is good, but sometimes it causes problems. For example, in the dependent screen, when entry was made in the TSJ field and selected a State, it took that dependent OFF of the the state return. So, for example, on the Federal return there would be 4 dependents, but on the State return, there would be only 3. There were a couple of other state-specific items that, when I checked off a box, certain items carried over to the state return that should not have.

So I keep a separate logbook, showing "If I do this on this screen, better check that someplace else and/or make an adjustment over here."

Jmcdon00 (talk|edits) said:

5 April 2011
I like the simplicity of the software. It allows me to controll everything that goes on the return. If I wanted it completely streamlined I'd go get TurboTax.

Natmat7 (talk|edits) said:

25 June 2011
I started using Drake this past tax season for the same reasons as everyone above. Lacerte got way too expensive.

It does well for very easy returns, but I've found it doesn't do some very basic things. For Ex on a partnership return that has more than one rental propery, it won't produce a worksheet or page 2 information on the k-1s listing income/loss by activity.

Any suggestions on how others have handled this? Customer support if often no help. They don't even seem to understand the question.

RPIdad (talk|edits) said:

2 May 2012
I have seen only a few references to ATX software, now owned by CCH. I've been with them ever since Intuit bought out Parsons software (1996?). My practice is growing and I'm not concerned about ATX's federal returns, but their state modules sometimes make mistakes with complex situations. A fellow tax preparer swears by Drake; can anyone here comment on their experiences in switching from ATX to Drake? Thanks.

Jrochestercpa (talk|edits) said:

2 May 2012
In the last 10 years I have used ATX, Lacerte, TaxWise and now using Drake for the 4th season. It is a good software, doing almost everything I need it to do. Easy to use, affordable price and very good at getting first version then updates. I switched from TaxWise to Drake with no problems. Drake seems to have a good conversion process.

Carlhanton (talk|edits) said:

4 May 2012
Question regarding Drake for more complicated individual and business returns.

I am presently using Proseries and am getting ready to review the 2011 Drake tax software. Proseries does an excellent job of diagnostics in checking and catching issues in the return, and is good for more complicated returns and transfering information to all other forms effected (sale of assets, installment sales, debt cancellation etc).

Drake looks fine for the average taxpayers return but nothing is ever mentioned in Drakes literature about how well it handles the more complicated clients with data flow to all the forms and the value of the diagnostics in catching mistakes.

I looked at Drake a few years ago and remember that handling an installment sale was very time consuming and I had to do repeditive entries since data did not flow to other forms and the diagnostics seemed weak other than what was required for efiling.. I would appreciate input regarding using Drake for these types of returns.

Also, if anyone uses Drake's writeup software I would like to hear what others think of that also.

Ericjarvis22 (talk|edits) said:

11 August 2012
Carlhanton, did you get answer to your question. Did you end up getting Drake?

Markalison1 (talk|edits) said:

30 November 2012
For those asking about Drake software you need to know that easy returns (W2 and itemizing) will be done accurately with Drake, but moderate and hard returns will not. I have been a Lacerte user for 17 years and due to cost have been window shopping. I entered a few returns into the Drake 2011 demo software and compared them with Lacerte returns already filed. I was sad to find out that only the very easy returns were accurate in Drake. I talked to Drake's customer support and received no help. They asked me to send the returns to technical support, which I tried doing several times but the returns would not export to them using the Drake export feature?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

30 November 2012
Actually all of the medium and hard returns that I've prepared with Drake Software have been accurate. It has to do more with operator error than software error. I made many errors until I learned to use the software correctly. The input is not in the same places as with Lacerte. For example, I wasn't using the K-1 input screen correctly when I first tried the software. I was trying to force the items onto Schedule E. I was so embarrassed when I called software support and they told me.

Sumwun (talk|edits) said:

30 November 2012
Would it be true to say, then, that Drake has a steep learning curve? I use ProSystem at work, do my own return on TaxAct and my few private clients on Intuit Tax Online. I can comfortably switch between all of them. I'm tempted by Drake Zero but hesitant if it would require a lot of figuring out just to make a relatively straightforward entry.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

30 November 2012
It is safe to say that Drake is not like Lacerte. Changing requires learning, either way.

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

1 December 2012
I agree with Kevin. I have used Ultra-tax, Pro-series, ATX, Drake, and others. I am currently using Drake. Drake is just as easy and as diffcult to use as the operator makes it.

I am happy with Drake.

Markalison1 (talk|edits) said:

1 December 2012
Thanks Kevinh5 for your response to my post. I hope that you are correct and that Drake Software is accurate, but I can't help but wonder if users of cheap software come to accept low standards from their software providers. I'm going to post three of the errors that Drake made on the returns that I prepared. Perhaps someone out there would be interested in replicating my findings. Error #1) I prepared an LLC return owned 50% by the managing member husband subject to social security and 50% by the non-managing member wife not subject to social security. The LLC return computed correctly showing the husband's K1 subject to social security and the wife's K1 not subject to social security. When I exported the K1's into the personal return both husband and wife were subject to social security with each having a schedule SE and thus the social security tax was double what it should have been. Error #2) I prepared a home office schedule tied to a schedule E LLC pass through entity. The home office expense computed correctly and subtracted from the schedule E, however, schedule SE was not reduced for the home office expense and thus too much social security tax was paid. Error #3) I prepared an amended return for a Utah resident taxpayer. The federal amended return was correct, but the Utah amended return populated with incorrect numbers on every line. The numbers were one line off on the entire return. The numbers on line one should have been on line 2 etc. I don't think I entered anything wrong, as Drake support confirmed that I had used the software correctly. That is why they asked me to export the returns to technical support, which I tried to do. I also e-mailed drake technical support and let them know what problems I had found and that the returns wouldn't export to them. I never received a response back. I should also note that this was May of 2012 and I was using the final version of the 2011 Drake Software for the year which should have been bug free by then.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

1 December 2012
Mark:

1) Something is wrong if SE income isn't on the K-1 then it shouldn't be subject to SE income. I don't use the import function myself, so I don't know what happened. Call Support and ask them. It may be that a box needed to be checked or un-checked in the software. Knowing how the software works is half the battle to any program.

2) I never knew that this was automatic on any software. I wouldn't have expected this to be automatic. I've always known to override the SE form. At least you knew what the answer was supposed to be and could figure out how to fix it manually, as the rest of us do.

3) Truly a problem. Call the support person back if you don't hear from them within 2 days. I have found that most programming errors I've pointed out (to be honest, with other companies' software also) are fixed within one or two days. Often there is some combination of things happening - especially on non-resident or part-year resident returns - which they have never seen before. Again, they should have gotten back to you within one or two days with an answer and a fix for this. As far as finding ALL combinations of permutations by May, that would be nice, but in reality no software company can predict all types of input, and if they hadn't seen this in prior years, they wouldn't expect it this year. I wonder what you did, since it is now in December and not May?

Sorry you are frustrated. I've gotten very good responses from their software support whenever I've called or emailed. Again, at least you are a good enough tax professional to know what to expect the answer to be.

Tenletters (talk|edits) said:

1 December 2012
Item #2 will flow to the SE automatically as long as the "general partner" checkbox is marked on the data entry screen for the partnership K-1. So will Section 179 deductions and unreimbursed partnership expenses.

La Notaria (talk|edits) said:

1 December 2012
I will be going into business next tax season.

I'll be preparing returns for the Hispanic Community and I was going to go with Taxwise because of their strong bilingual features...but now I am seriously thinking about buying Drake. Seems easy to use for the newbie in the business.

Any advice will be appreciated.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

1 December 2012
Buenos suerte

Markalison1 (talk|edits) said:

1 December 2012
Thanks Kevinh5 & Tenletters: One last post and then I'll end this for good. The last thing I wanted to do was make an advertisement for Lacerte as their price increases have been very inconsiderate the last few years. I was only trying out Drake because it is so much cheaper and has higher ratings than Lacerte, but I am staying with Lacerte. In all fairness to Drake I must say that I tested Taxworks also, and had similar results. With Lacerte you don't have to do any tweaking or adjusting to get accurate results. Nor do you have to do extensive reviewing as the returns are always accurate. Lacerte users would not tolerate mistakes with the prices we pay. In the 17 years that I have used the software I have never encountered a mistake. I don't know if Lacerte has good customer support or not, as I have never needed to use it, but I am confused as to why people rate Drake #1 on customer support and return satisfaction. With Drake I also tried preparing returns that the software couldn't handle. These were returns with oil & gas K1's and some other unusual K1 credits and some multi-state business returns. I have never found a return that Lacerte could not handle so I was just surprised as to why Drake would have a higher rating than Lacerte in surveys? My conclusion is that Drake users are happy with cost, and Lacerte users are not. I'm convinced that if the surveys were about accuracy and efficiency the more expensive programs would receive the higher ratings. Thanks again for your comments, this has been a very informative journey for me.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

1 December 2012
Mark you are correct. To save $16,000 a year, I'm willing to input a few overrides into the software. I just could not justify that cost with a smaller practice that I have now though.

La Notaria (talk|edits) said:

3 December 2012
Buenos Suertes...lol...that's all! lol (Buena Suerte)

La Notaria (talk|edits) said:

3 December 2012
Buenos Suertes...lol...that's all! lol (Buena Suerte)

Davidcpa412 (talk|edits) said:

21 December 2012
Was happy with Drake until I picked up complex tax returns than switched to UT. Excellent customer service state nexus not so good.

Gregfallon1 (talk|edits) said:

30 December 2012
Drake is great and I have done very complex multi-state tax returns with it and my clients love their integrated client portal, SecurefilePRO, in the cloud.

The Drake family is not going to sell out to Intuit. If they were all about $$ they would have sold out years ago or charge more for their software. However, they do not have 1120Fs and Lacerte's Quickbooks upload is very handy since almost all small business use it. I use Lacerte as a contractor and after setting up the tax codes in QB you can really crank out entity returns.

Drake has a great culture and I think the best is yet to come. Remember Intuit has shareholders to pay.

I have also heard that Google might be coming out with tax software in the future.

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

1 January 2013
"Just FYI - I came from Lacerte, and the asset list on their organizer has the same problem. It's in the order entered into the program. So even high end software can suffer from this problem." LaCrete as compared to Drake.

Mmamminna (talk|edits) said:

3 January 2013
Newbie software questions:

Just spoke with Drake and we were looking to buy Drake Pay Per Return $285 option, however there are 2 of us that will prepare taxes, so they allow it installed only on one computer. Has anyone had any experience dealing with that? TIA

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

3 January 2013
can't you network the pay per return version on a peer to peer network?

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

3 January 2013
Let me get this straight, I have 4 preparers and myself who prepare returns, if I were to purchase the PPR option, are they saying I could not install it on my server as Kevin has indicated?

I am going to venture a guess that you indicated to them that you have 2 different EFIN's. That's why they will charge you another $285.

Two options, pay the extra money, or become a partnership/firm as Kevin suggested in the other thread.

CathysTaxes (talk|edits) said:

3 January 2013
I don't know about Drake, but I have successfully installed PPR Lacerte on my desktop and laptop and Taxwise and TaxPro on desktop and laptop. The only issue was when it came to efiling, the software companies recommend that either that be done on my computer or your set the DCN's to start at a different number to avoid overlap. That was assuming that only one EFIN was being used.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

3 January 2013
Cathy, I think that will be the issue, they wish to use 2 EFIN's.

I believe, that most software is allowed to be on a desktop and on a back up system, such as a laptop.

Mmamminna (talk|edits) said:

3 January 2013
Fsteincpa, we wish to use one EFIN and both PTIN's. I was just giving background that we will have them both. Thank you.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

3 January 2013
Then, as Cathy said, I can't imagine there would be an issue. Are you sure they said you couldn't?

Gboykin (talk|edits) said:

4 January 2013
There should be no issue. You can install on different computers, and set the DCN counter way apart from each other. The other option would be to network the two computers so they share the DCN counter.

Unless you were to use 2 EFINS.

Frontenac (talk|edits) said:

17 February 2013
I am a 15 year Lacerte user for all business and 1040 returns. We switched to Drake this year after doing some looking and have moved our business returns to Drake because of cost. The 1040's we do are complicated and would never consider moving them. Most business returns basic so thought it would be a good move. I am amazed at the number of people who indicate that Drake support is helpful. It has been dreadful all the way around. Some highlights as I have spent hours on the phone with these people:

1. I printed my first return and was amazed to find that the statements to my return are not in numerical order: there are six statements. Drake hard codes based on the line they are on and it prints out as statement #2, statement #50, statement #18, statement #4, statement #11 and statement #6. When I asked "support" they indicated that the irs presets those and thats the way they have to be. that was my response. when I emailed the return and said seriously is this customer friendly.If I was a client looking for statement #6 and saw #2 then #50 Im done not looking further, thinking where are the other 48 statements. They emailed me back again stating that the IRS mandates that. Well after 15 years with lacerte and never once had a return come back with statement #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 in the return I will assume they do not know what they are talking about. They said it was a good suggestion to put them in order, though.Hmm if IRS mandates that why would you even say it was a good suggestion. Never in my due diligence did it occur to me to look if the statemetns were in numerical order. I checked to make sure a statement was prepared for other deductions etc - my fault I guess.

2. In im IL and on the face of the IL return for a scorp and pship it states if you owe money send here and if dont send it here. Drake filing Instructions to both these IL returns have a POBOx that was not either of those on the face of the return. I looked online to the listing of where to file and no mention of their po box they have. I called and was told that because it was being prepared by software that was right address. Ok...after 22 years of preparing returns never , not once were these sent to a separate address but ok. So i call back 2nd time, get same answer. I email return to them and oh guess what, after a week they respond, its an error. So if I would have let the first three go out the door with the answer support gave me- who would pay the late filing penalty as they would have ended up in the wrong place.

3. The Fiduciary return is an efile return as mandated by IRS. Ok, why then do the instructions come out for a paper return. Response, "they generally do come out as paper filing". Why why would they???? efiling is not suppressed why would they generally come out as paper. Am I supposed to hand write instructions for my client after paying for your software??? Why do your instruction tell my client to mail it to a PO BOX when it is an efile return?? She didnt have a response for that one.

4. I am still waiting for Eva to call back from January 23rd.


I was going to accept that Drake would have limitations and not be up to Lacerte standards however, when I am told these things I have no confidence in your software that it will perform even the most basic calculations. I am going to consider this a learning experience and go back to lacerte.

Frontenac (talk|edits) said:

17 February 2013
I am a 15 year Lacerte user for all business and 1040 returns. We switched to Drake this year after doing some looking and have moved our business returns to Drake because of cost. The 1040's we do are complicated and would never consider moving them. Most business returns basic so thought it would be a good move. I am amazed at the number of people who indicate that Drake support is helpful. It has been dreadful all the way around. Some highlights as I have spent hours on the phone with these people:

1. I printed my first return and was amazed to find that the statements to my return are not in numerical order: there are six statements. Drake hard codes based on the line they are on and it prints out as statement #2, statement #50, statement #18, statement #4, statement #11 and statement #6. When I asked "support" they indicated that the irs presets those and thats the way they have to be. that was my response. when I emailed the return and said seriously is this customer friendly.If I was a client looking for statement #6 and saw #2 then #50 Im done not looking further, thinking where are the other 48 statements. They emailed me back again stating that the IRS mandates that. Well after 15 years with lacerte and never once had a return come back with statement #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 in the return I will assume they do not know what they are talking about. They said it was a good suggestion to put them in order, though.Hmm if IRS mandates that why would you even say it was a good suggestion. Never in my due diligence did it occur to me to look if the statemetns were in numerical order. I checked to make sure a statement was prepared for other deductions etc - my fault I guess.

2. In im IL and on the face of the IL return for a scorp and pship it states if you owe money send here and if dont send it here. Drake filing Instructions to both these IL returns have a POBOx that was not either of those on the face of the return. I looked online to the listing of where to file and no mention of their po box they have. I called and was told that because it was being prepared by software that was right address. Ok...after 22 years of preparing returns never , not once were these sent to a separate address but ok. So i call back 2nd time, get same answer. I email return to them and oh guess what, after a week they respond, its an error. So if I would have let the first three go out the door with the answer support gave me- who would pay the late filing penalty as they would have ended up in the wrong place.

3. The Fiduciary return is an efile return as mandated by IRS. Ok, why then do the instructions come out for a paper return. Response, "they generally do come out as paper filing". Why why would they???? efiling is not suppressed why would they generally come out as paper. Am I supposed to hand write instructions for my client after paying for your software??? Why do your instruction tell my client to mail it to a PO BOX when it is an efile return?? She didnt have a response for that one.

4. I am still waiting for Eva to call back from January 23rd.


I was going to accept that Drake would have limitations and not be up to Lacerte standards however, when I am told these things I have no confidence in your software that it will perform even the most basic calculations. I am going to consider this a learning experience and go back to lacerte.

WilsonCA (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2013
I'm considering switching to Drake after all the drama with other tax programs this year. I'm glad someone here is posting complaints. I played around with Drake a bit during the off-season and liked the general feel of it, but yes, I too was turned off by several things - including the way the statements were printed, the appearance of the depreciation schedules, the lack of integration between the letter and Oregon city/ocal forms, etc.

If more Drake users are willing to post some of their complaints about the software here, it'll be very helpful for me in deciding which software to go with for the long-term. (I got ensnared in the ATX and TaxWorks disasters this year.)

And hopefully this won't turn into a "Buy ProSeries" thread, or an "Of course Drake is not as good as Lacerte" thread. I'm really trying to find out what people dislike about Drake that may not be apparent at first glance.

Smokeytax (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2013
Well, here's a complaint. I had switched from ProSeries to Drake two years ago because of price. But, the error rate with Drake is much much higher. You really do have to proofread, re-add and cross reference each line of the returns.

I had gotten lazy on that score with ProSeries, and in over 15 years of use, was aware of only 1 out and out math error.

So now I'm looking at a 2011 DC return we efiled last March 2. Somehow I didn't notice that the MFS alternate tax calculation had been botched, and I missed it on my review. Drake didn't send out the fix until around March 7, so I have to amend the client's 2011 return, including the associated egg on my face.

Plus, it's very disconcerting that when I open the 2011 Drake program now in 2013, updates are still coming in!

I wish they would triple the price and do a little better on the programming.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2013
Smokey, curious, as what you said is exactly the reason I switched from other providers. I want to get a comfort level with my software that the basic calculations and things that should jump to other places do jump the right way. If I have rental activity and an 8582 is needed, I want that created automatically. I rely on both my staff and the software. If I wasn't going to rely on the software, I could save thousands by just using the fill in forms.

But yes, Wilson, for some of these reasons, I prefer ProSeries.

Smokeytax (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2013
Exactly Fsteincpa - sometimes Drake feels more like a fill in forms program, rather than a bit of a backup for how I think things should be reported as I felt ProSeries was. But, now it's the devil I know, and I don't anticipate going through the painful process of changing back any time soon.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

22 February 2013
Fred, you said a mouthful! With PS I have very few 'now where the hell did that come from' moments, and usually with some 'drilling down' I find the answer.....like why the earnings on a 529 transferred in a trustee to trustee transfer were appearing on Line 21 of Page 1....I'd never scrolled down the form far enough to find the box I had to check, after I determined that the transfer was in the time parameters.

NJ & PA are reciprocal on wages, but some employers take out the wrong state tax, and when entering a W-2 for a PA resident with NJ withheld, this year I found an error message that said 'witholding cannot be more than taxable wages' which I listed as Zero.....finally I put the wages as NJ taxable on the W-2 entry, and went to NJ and drilled down on the allocation line and found where to mark them zero.

It's simple but frustrating to override; better to see the software in action. The first time I looked at Drake, I noted the number of W-2s were limited.....probably not now, but for clients with 20 plus W-2s, that is a pain!

ChrisV2 (talk|edits) said:

24 February 2013
D&T we switched to Drake this year. Just two days ago I had the same exact thing, FY resident PA, work in NJ. I entered the W-2s as both PA and NJ, leaving the PA line completely blank and putting all the income and withholding on the NJ line.


I'm not sure why, but I didn't have to visit the NJ return at all -- it calculated 100% of the withholding as a refund and it did the correct tax liability for PA. No weird messages, maybe I just got lucky (?) It created a NJ 1040NR, showed all blanks for "income sourced from NJ" and I didn't have to touch a form in NJ (no blue highlighting at all). This is what I expected, that it would recognize the agreement between NJ and PA and do exactly that.


Drake does have some idiosyncrasies, though, that's for sure. Getting down to no warning messages when kids are in daycare and box 10 on W-2 has pretax set-aside...took me 15 minutes yesterday to get sorted. I'm getting used it though and after around 30 returns I'm just about as fast as I was in TaxWorks.

Actionbsns (talk|edits) said:

24 February 2013
Smokey, I used La Certe for years and jumped ship this year to Drake because I'm tired of paying $5,000 a year in software costs. I don't understand your complaint about the program updating itself still at this late date. LaCerte is constantly updating itself, still, even when I open prior year programs I get the message that there are updates available and I should update my version. La Certe doesn't give you the option to run the update later, it just goes ahead with it when you open the program. That can be really annoying if all you want to do for the moment is check one little thing. In Drake it gives me the option to update right now or wait, and it usually is done a lot faster. I'm finding there are things I like about Drake that are not available in LaCerte, but there are probably more things that I miss from LaCerte. Drake requires more of my attention and if something isn't right, it takes longer to find out why. But overall I'm quite happy with the program. There are always going to be differences between programs some of them are going to make people happy and some not so happy. As Kevin says, you can't rely on the software to be a good tax preparer. A lot of the comments I'm reading are people admitting that they have gotten rather lazy and have relied too heavily on their software to tell them something is wrong. You have to hear the good with the bad in order to make an informed decision, so, other than price, how about listing some of them as well?

Smokeytax (talk|edits) said:

24 February 2013
Good question, Actionbsns. My tech support guy says that Drake is a lot easier and less burdonsome to maintain on the network than ProSeries was. Also, in over 15 years with ProSeries I never once was able to get them to implement a requested change, whereas Drake will. I really like the ability to efile the forms 1099 with Drake - that's been great. Also, just the speed to open it really is helpful. My system could never handle having the prior year plus current year program open in ProSeries, but that's doable in Drake, which is helpful in reminding me how to enter data. So, there may have been updates to the previous year's program that I didn't notice because I never opened it. Also the Drake tech support people are quite available and will walk you through doing stuff you could figure out eventually but don't have the time.

To be honest, I was a little angry when I wrote the above post, having just discovered the need for the amended DC return.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

25 February 2013
Smokey, you're saying your system can't handle 2 years of PS being open? That's not a PS issue, that's a hardware issue. I've got an older server, still using MS Server 2003 I believe and I can open 2007 through 2012 on any one of my desktops. No issue with speed or anything when I do.

Just wondering why there would be such a drain on your system resources.

Smokeytax (talk|edits) said:

25 February 2013
Well, Fsteincpa, I really don't know, and I just can't go there. Tech support guy is also beloved hubby. Not the hill I choose to die on.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

25 February 2013
The computing speed depends on your desktop. The program and data are on your server. Throughput is a function of the server and the communication chain (wiring).

I'm still running on Windows Server 2003, Fred, but my desktop is only 2 or 3 years old and I too can have 3 or 4 years open at once, as well as dual moniters, as well as 2 or 3 versions of Tax Almanac, Facebook, my brokerage screen, email, and whatever else I might be interested in at the moment.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

26 February 2013
Pretty much same as me Kevin. I replace 2 desktops every year, this makes sure the oldest ones are 3 years old at the most.

I guess my point being is that if the system you are using, whatever you are using, should be new enough to handle what it should.

ChrisV2 (talk|edits) said:

26 February 2013
Not to send this off on even more of a tangent but there are a ton more variables at play. Two people could have identical hardware, running Windows and same tax software -- person 'a' has no problems, person 'b' slows to a crawl. Do both have the latest patches applied? Is someone's machine infected with malware? Someone running the weather channel real-time app in the background? Firmware updated? etc. etc. etc.

I'm the I/T guy in our office and have all the client machines at exactly the same level of HW and SW -- and there's still one machine that sometimes decides to take a siesta once in awhile. Computers!

These are not ultra powerful machines by a long shot, and when they are running right I could have 10 years of tax applications opened at once without a problem.

Flvacpa (talk|edits) said:

27 February 2013
What I didn't like about Drake was not having the ability to Over-Ride entries - why do the control this feature - its maddening, so I switched to ATX and now we have immense problems with the 2012 version - so bad that ATX is offering to refund your fees, really.

Bobw12 (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2013
Anyone else have problems getting through to Drake Tech Support tonight? I've been calling on different phones for hours with no pick up. Also the EF system has been having spotty performance. I just got through and they told me they were going to be open till midnight eastern instead of the normal 10 p.m. and that had been "recently planned" and that their ISP was having outage problems.

Pegoo (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2013
their phones are busy since 6 PM EST. Can't reach them. I knew i should have kept Proseries as well this year.

Bobw12 (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2013
So those of us who started this season with the Taxworks fiasco, now get to end it with the budding Drake one. Sheesh, I should have became a plumber.

Tenletters (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2013
For what it is worth

http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=3273473&type=member&item=232575675&qid=fce65cd0-5b41-4f8c-8cae-b8e4e9da5286&trk=group_most_recent_rich-0-b-ttl&goback=%2Egmr_3273473

WilsonCA (talk|edits) said:

18 April 2013
You know, I really, really, want to use Drake. I think you get a lot for the price, especially the early-season price. However, I don't trust the calculations. I did a couple of trial returns, and one of them came out wrong on the state side; Drake incorrectly calculated a deduction that flowed from an entry on one of the federal input screens, giving the taxpayer a bigger refund than they were entitled to. What's worse, there's no way to force the right amount, so I guess you're stuck waiting for their software people to issue an update. And this isn't some sneaky nobody-knows-about-this kind of state law; it's right there in the instructions to the tax form. For comparison purposes, TaxWise and ProSeries both got it right, and I don't know the first thing about how to use ProSeries.

What does Drake do if their software makes an error, and my client gets a letter down the road from the government saying "You owe us $xxx"? I emailed customer service, and here's the response: "Not sure of the policy on this." That's all they said. Really. No offer to investigate further and get back to me.

Not impressed.

NewYorkEA (talk|edits) said:

April 18, 2013
The problem with Drake is that if you know how to use the software 100% the calculations are probably fine. But you can input something and forget to check a Drake specific box somewhere, or forget to open up another screen to generate a form related to that input- and there's no warning that something is incorrect or a form isn't being generated. I tried Drake and really, really wanted to like it but I couldn't. Every year I request an evaluation copy with hopes that something has improved but so far I haven't been impressed. I have used ProSeries, UltraTax, and Intuit Tax Online and all of them were intuitive. I never had to know to check a box, type in a zero somewhere, or open an extra screen to generate all the forms- they were just there.

WilsonCA (talk|edits) said:

18 April 2013
To edit my above post: There is a way to force Drake to put the right number in the right box, but it took me a while to figure out. I have to manually calculate the credit, and then adjust the amount that Drake is auto-calculating by entering a subtraction in the field where that credit accepts a user input. (It has a "+/-" indicator.) So... Drake, my apologies. There is an override method.

Midsea (talk|edits) said:

23 April 2013
I used Drake for 7 years, then I decided to try Proseries, but that was a big mistake. I thought if the software is more expensive it got to be better, but it was worse. It wasted my time scrolling thru a web of worksheets, and in some instances, it didn't generate all the forms too, so I had to input the same information in more than one place to generate all the required forms. Probably some of you will say to use the quick entry data option, but that didn't work for everything. I had to spend much more time preparing the same return that I prepared with Drake with much less time. And their tech support is the worst; the average wait to speak to someone was about 45 minutes, and when you finally talk with someone, they don't know how to fix the problem. Many times I figure it out myself while waiting on the phone with them. Intuit needs to spend more money training their tech support since they charge a lot for their software. This was the worst tax season for me because I decided to use Proseries. Another thing, their DMS, which I had to pay extra for, is bad as well. I had 2 computers, and I wasn't able to get it to work on one of my computers and it didn't work half of the time on the other computer; and they couldn't fix that either. I can write 10 pages or more on how bad Proseries was, but I'll end it by saying that I am going back to Drake.

Actionbsns (talk|edits) said:

23 April 2013
WilsonCA, I'm just curious about your comment, "What does Drake do if their software makes an error, and my client gets a letter down the road from the government saying "You owe us $xxx"?". My question is, what would any software company do in this situation? Since we are the preparers and have the responsibility to review the return for accuracy, wouldn't they just respond that the preparer should have done a better job? Does any software company stand in back of its product on this type of issue?

WilsonCA (talk|edits) said:

23 April 2013
Yes, I'm sure they could claim that we (the preparers) are supposed to catch any mistakes, in the same way that the client is supposed to catch any of our mistakes (and also any mistakes caused by the tax software).

I would guess that some tax software companies pay penalties and interest that are a result of an error caused by their software, but maybe I'm wrong about that. No reason to trust Drake any less than any other company, I suppose; I know ATX botched a return of mine a few years back (involving a Form 2555 MAGI calculation for an education credit), and offered me nothing.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

26 April 2013
Misses, curious as to what forms you had to do double entry for. I have been using for 7 years Andi find it's the opposite of that. It has lessened my double entry issues.

Forget crust support. Use the forums and you get answer in five minutes usually.

NewYorkEA (talk|edits) said:

April 27, 2013
In all the years I used Proseries (and UltraTax and Intuit Tax Online for that matter) I never once had to call for help because the software is intuitive and prepares the returns correctly without requiring all kinds of odd inputs, checked boxes, and extra screens. Although Drake answers the phone in less than a minute I had to call them way too many times.

Actionbsns (talk|edits) said:

28 April 2013
I just decided that if I didn't get something, I was going to call tech support and find out the answer. It saved a lot of time stewing and worrying. In theory, as time goes by, I should understand the program better and the learning curve will straighten out. I can see that happening, just yesterday I resolved an issue with a K-1 that I would have called tech support about a few months ago. Overall, I think I've been spending a lot more time reviewing returns and making sure that everything is where it's supposed to be, I go back and forth between last year's LaCerte return and this years Drake return just for reassurance. I think I learned a lot of things that are sticking in the gray matter better than in prior years. I'm kind of thinking a lot of practitioners should switch software companies from time to time just to keep yourself on your toes. We tend to become complacent and trusting with the software, much to the chagrin of Kevin, but it's true. The switch is a little edgey.

CathysTaxes (talk|edits) said:

28 April 2013
Paula, I agree 100% about switching software to keep on your toes. I found myself 'trusting' the software too much and not being as thorough with my review of the return. The only times I wasn't trusting, is if the return included a new state, form, schedule, etc that I was not familiar with.

Mmamminna (talk|edits) said:

30 April 2013
Anyone going to May 8th sales presentation, i.e. software training in Schaumburg, IL?

AgwmTax (talk|edits) said:

1 May 2013
Has Drake published a list of enhancements for 2013? Why would you want to go to a Drake presentation in May 2013? They will most likely show you the 2012 version which you can download and try for free?

I would rather go to a Drake presentation in the fall when they may have a demo of their 2013 program.

Mmamminna (talk|edits) said:

7 May 2013
How about taking advantage of discounts? When and where are the best % off on software? TIA

CathysTaxes (talk|edits) said:

7 May 2013
Mmamminna, usually the discounts are best when you renew is April or May. But, you can get burned. Those of us who used TRX (I had 4 very good years with them) got burned very badly for 2012 because they decided to sell their own software (which never worked) instead of reselling TaxWorks. We had to get the Attorney General, the BBB, and our credit card companies assistance to get refunds because most of us had to go elsewhere.

For 2012, I've heard that TaxWorks and ATX were having serious issues and many of their clients went elsewhere (they, at least refunded their clients without the clients getting outside help).

For 2013, I will wait until I've demo'd the 2013 package. Taxwise, which the IRS uses for it's VITA program, is usually stable, but it's design is from the stone age. I would feel comfortable renewing this application, but I want a package with a friendlier user interface.

AgwmTax (talk|edits) said:

9 May 2013
If you want Drake for $1095 you got to buy it before June 1. Otherwise you will pay an additional $100 for the next 2 months.

Mmamminna (talk|edits) said:

9 May 2013
Yes, thanks.

DesertEA (talk|edits) said:

19 July 2013
I haven't been on the Drake discussion for quite a while. I tried that piece of crap in 2009 and was so upset from the way it handled CA returns and complained so loud and often that they banned me from their forums. If you do a search of my postings, you will see. Just one "small" example. Drake allowed the full deduction for real estate professionals for CA. CA does not conform to this. Oh they fixed it once I pointed it out. But I am not a beta tester and I am not going to use software that could land me a huge IRS sanction. There's more. It didn't back out the PMI deduction. Not allowed for CA. Educator expenses? Those are supposed to be added back to CA itemized deductions. They were not. Have they fixed any of this? Probaby.

But what else is wrong with it? I would bet plenty. I used ProSeries before and went running back to them. I have also used Lacerte. How ANYONE can compare Lacerte and Drake is beyond me. Do yourself a favor - don't. Drake is software for an EIC practice - am I am pushing it even there. Biggest piece of junk I ever used - WORSE, YES, WORSE THAN ATX.

Look, I hate the high price of good software just like the rest of you do. But come on folks....how many times has Lacerte or ProSeries (I am unfamiliar with the other packages) saved our bacon by pointing out a diagnostic that we missed? Drake diagnostics are TERRIBLE. I just ponied up another $3K for for ProSeries but am seriously thinking of putting up the extra 1.5K for Lacerte. I used Lacerte for 6 years with a firm that I contracted with.

Some complain about Intuit support. The VERY FEW TIMES I have had to contact them, they had my issue resolved in under 15 minutes. I think their support rocks. Example - just 2 days ago, I coned my SSD drive to a larger one. Since I cloned it I figured there should not be any issues. Well, my ProSeries software would not license. Even tried the manual method - said some file was corrupt. This went back to 2006. I got onto chat support. Waited for about 2 minutes. They had me delete a few files here and there and rename another. Bang - everything re-licensed perfectly.

People talk about how wonderful Drake support is. It is good. For me the best support is the kind I DON'T HAVE TO USE. At least not often. Stop being cheapskates. Raise your fees to cover the extra cost. I told my clients why I switched software and then why I switched back. I even showed them the errors Drake made in many CA returns (with the T/P name blacked out of course). They were grateful to pay me the extra $10 each so both they (and I) had confidence in the software.

Drake is crap --- STAY AWAY. Disclaimer: NO, I AM IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH INTUIT DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY.

AgwmTax (talk|edits) said:

19 July 2013
DesertEA I beg to differ with you that Drake is crap! I am not a paid spokeperson for Drake.

I have used Taxact, Taxworks, ATX, Taxwise and Drake. I found Drake to be just as good if not better and faster.

State variations are a challenge for all tax prep software. Once I know what a software misses, I notify them and then do the manual workaround. My state like yours does not follow the Fed law for many items so there are ALWAYS manual adjustments. It is MY job as a tax preparer to know the differences and adjust them. If there is enough support from other users, the vendor will fix it in a future release.

Do you do test returns before the start of a tax season? I must spend 2 weeks before a tax season doing my typical return types and calculating manually just to make sure it is working right.

I am sure there are thousands of other Drake users in CA and elsewhere that do CA returns. Did they also complain? What was their solution?

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

2013-07-19
Bruce,

Your experience with Drake is not indicative of my experience. The errors I have found are the ones I made. When I first used it, I made entry errors due to the not knowing the software as well as I should. It's not the software. I have been around computers long enough to know GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Remember Kevin's fabulous disclaimer: TAX SOFTWARE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A GOOD TAX PROFESSIONAL.

Your quote: "For me the best support is the kind I DON'T HAVE TO USE", seems arrogant. I hate calling support just as much as the next person, but most times, my issues are resolved promptly with Drake. Only once did I spend over a 1/2 hour with them.

I used ProSeries for many years, but since I have dwindled down my practice, for reasons I won't go into here, I switched to Drake. I have found Drake just fine.

Just my $.02.

Tom

Actionbsns (talk|edits) said:

19 July 2013
Wow! That's all I can say, Bruce. I have to believe you have some other agenda regarding your software use. I switched to Drake from LaCerte this year and I'm just about to sign up for 2013. There are some things I miss between the two programs, everyone does. The most obvious ones Drake is well aware of because they hear it a lot. But I just put $4,000 in my back pocket by not paying it out for software. I have to be more aware of some things I'm finding, but that's not all bad, as far as I'm concerned, it's part of my job. I should know what I'm doing and why because what if the computer pooped out at the worst possible time? (PS, thanks to other TA'ers for helping me understand and work through calculations for depreciation recapture in the last few days. I really should know that stuff, not just rely on my program). In years past, whenever I was managing people, I always felt I had to know their jobs well enough to step in and do their job or how could I stand there and direct them with their responsibilities? Software is no different, you still have to know your job.

Joanmcq (talk|edits) said:

19 July 2013
I test drove Drake in 2009 too, and the program added back the foreign income exclusion twice on the CA return. There was no way to fix, override... it killed the deal right there. I'm not surprised Bruce found a bunch of other CA errors. I had heard that the CA interface was poor before I tried Drake, and my test confirmed it wasn't the software for me.

AgwmTax (talk|edits) said:

20 July 2013
Both Joan and Bruce are talking about the 2009 Drake software and CA returns. Anyone here who used Drake 2012 with CA returns? Did it make the same error?

Jccpa (talk|edits) said:

31 August 2013
We have used Drake for 4 of the 6 years we have been preparing returns. Have also used ATX and Taxwise and purchased a practice that used Lacerte. We used ATX in 2008 and generally liked it. CCH kept raising the price so we switched to Drake. Tried Taxwise in 2011 and it was a debacle as they could not deliver state filing programs timely. Switched back to Drake to finish extensions. Have gotten quotes from Lacerte every year since acquiring the practice and they ranged in the $6,000 to $7,000 plus add on fees for states and packages not provided. Drake - $1,095. Drake does not have the features of Lacerte but is Lacerte 7 times better? No.

1. You have to train your preparers and yourself. If that is not done I don't care what software you use, you will end up with bad returns. 2. I rarely call support but when I do, the fact that a human (not machine) answers and stays on the line as long as it takes is very reassuring. Users with less time on Drake call more but they are happy with the experience. Taxwise was generally a 15 minute hold after navigating through 2 minutes of menu prompts. 3. Drake's add on products for document management, writeup and payroll have no additional costs. Doc manager is simple but has taken over our office for storing all client files including writeup files. We do not use the accounting package except for the payroll side which is easy to file on the fly returns for people with notices or year end 1099s. 4. Multi state is the weakness of Drake. My main complaint is the state screens are written by different teams so the nomenclature is not consistent. Example is how to file an extension. There are about 4 different ways the programmers wrote the screen. Some put the extension flag at the top and some at the bottom. Some have a check box and some a yes/no. Our most complex return has 26 states and it requires a close review. However, Lacerte for 7 times more screwed the return because the preparer did not review the state instructions. If you have more than 2 states on a return, you should review carefully. 5. I will say the California interface has greatly changed over the last 5 years. What used to be 4 screens is now pages of data entry screens. However, we are focused on the NR returns so I am not comfortable commenting on how it handles all the state law differences for CA. 6. Foreign Income Exclusion - We had huge problems with this in Taxwise that we did not have in Drake. Every FIE return rejected and required rework in Taxwise. We never had a problem in Drake. 7. Drake is still family owned. Their offices are in Franklin, NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They are large supporters of the community beyond being the largest employer in the area. When you call support you will be speaking to someone in the offices there - not a call center with no connection. Sometimes you even get transferred to the state programmer.

Overall we are quite pleased with Drake and have renewed for 2013.

AgwmTax (talk|edits) said:

2 September 2013
Do you know what are new enhancements in 2013 Drake?

I was told that electronic signature pad functionality will be available.

WilsonCA (talk|edits) said:

5 September 2013
If there was a software provider out there who responded to suggestions from users for improvements/enhancements/fixes on a timely and regular basis, I think I'd switch to that software in no time. Drake doesn't do it, and I find it infuriating. But as far as I know, no other software provider does, either.

(All it would take is "The software development team has considered [suggestion x], and they agree [or disagree] that it would be an improvement, but due to other priorities, it won't be implemented for the coming tax year". Is that so difficult?)

AgwmTax (talk|edits) said:

6 September 2013
I think Drake and other software companies have an internal list of enhancements that is kept private because they don't want to tip off the competition. Those enhancements that meet a critical mass are selected for further action.

Pink Pearl (talk|edits) said:

September 6, 2013
I think that ALL tax software providers would be well advised to have a senior programmer on staff that has solid experience in the *tax preparation business* to evaluate any and all suggestions from preparers that use the software. That senior programmer would/should be able to determine if a suggestion from someone in the trenches (us) has actually asked for an improvement that makes sense...seems that the software writers have zero experience from a users perspective...

CathysTaxes (talk|edits) said:

6 September 2013
It's not up to the senior programmer to determine what suggestions should be implemented. There would be a project management team. The team would consist of 'end users' which would be individuals who are either CPAs, EAs, and other professional tax preparers and the IT department who would have a team consisting of managers, analysts and experts from various areas, design, coding, unit testing, system testing, client acceptance testing, training, documentation, communications (efiling), etc. Together, they design what the system should do and then analysts write up program specs for the senior and junior programmers to code. The senior and junior programmers don't need to know anything about taxes, neither do the analysts. The system design would have all of the requirements spelled out, so only the high level people need to know anything about taxes. Of course it helps to know something, I always worked on financial systems. Many times, I just handed the program specs to a junior level programmer who just followed the specs.

AgwmTax (talk|edits) said:

7 September 2013
Spoken like an experienced IT pro Cathy.

Norman-tx (talk|edits) said:

8 September 2013
"If there was a software provider out there who responded to suggestions from users for improvements/enhancements/fixes on a timely and regular basis, I think I'd switch to that software in no time. Drake doesn't do it, and I find it infuriating. But as far as I know, no other software provider does, either. "

Proseries provides a public forum for their users to make suggestions about software enhancements.

http://intuit.uservoice.com/forums/31961-proseries-tax-product-suggestions

WilsonCA (talk|edits) said:

8 September 2013
Proseries provides a public forum for their users to make suggestions about software enhancements. http://intuit.uservoice.com/forums/31961-proseries-tax-product-suggestions

The "votes" feature is great! However, judging from the comments beneath the suggestions, it looks like Intuit does a poor job of reporting progress on the suggestions offered... (I'm not sure if that makes it even more infuriating, rather than less.)

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