Friday, November 14, 2008

Desktop TaxWise Training Webinar - Day 3 - Backup/Restore

The Backup/Restore capability is undergoing further changes. On the basic menu, you can start a new backup, or add to an existing backup. The first will ask to delete any backup files in the directory, and then create new backup files. The second will look for any existing backup in the directory, and will not proceed until there is one. This may be useful when one external drive is used to back up all entries to the transmitting workstation. In the past, backups from each workstation could be saved in different directories on the portable drive, and then restored individually.

When all is said and done, I have one other additional item on my wishlist - I would like the ability to create a new directory to put in backups; right now backup can only be to an existing directory.

The ability to back up to a floppy appears to be going away. However, it appears that some sites provide a backup of the client's return to the client for them to bring back the following year. When the ability to back up to a floppy goes away, it will be necessary to save the return onto a directory on a local drive, and then copy and paste to the floppy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Desktop TaxWise Training Webinar - Day 2 - Tax Form Defaults

In the past, users could change their Tax Form defaults. It appears that for 2008, only the Admin account could change Tax Form defaults. It is not clear how this would be done. If only the Admin account could change it, it would put the tax form template in the Admin user's account. We hear that changes made by the Admin account would be automatically available to all other users, except those which have their own Tax Form defaults.

It would appear that a copy of a Tax Form default in the directory for a user is used if one exists, otherwise the copy in the Admin account directory is used. It also suggests that to revert back to the current Tax Form defaults may require the file in the user directory to be deleted.

Desktop TaxWise Training Webinar - Day 2 - Taxwise Explorer

The TaxWise explorer lets you move and/or copy files from one user TaxWise account to another, and to other directories. We can think of it as a Windows Explorer with some enhancements and restrictions relevant to TaxWise.

In fact Windows Explorer offers a quick means of managing files. For example, which TaxWise Explorer will not let you copy returns from one user to another, you can do so with Windows Explorer. However, the TaxWise database may get corrupted if you move returns around using the Windows Explorer.

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Desktop TaxWise Training Webinar - Day 2 - users and accounts

Today we learnt about users and user groups.

The term user refers to a login name or account in TaxWise, and not to individuals. This is similar to how email accounts work - different people can use the same email account, but they all have the same password and login. For next year, it appears that the IRS requires that each user (login name) have a password.

In the past, user and login names had different functions, for example:
1) All returns were prepared in the one account Guest. If this is going to be done again, all it requires is that the account have a password. The problem here is that each time someone logs in and tries to check the returns, there may be a huge number of returns they have to go through.
2) All returns were prepared in the one account Guest, and after appropriate diagnostics had been run, they were transferred to a Pending user account. When the returns were accepted, the returns were moved to a Completed user account.
3) There was a different user name for each day so that by it was possible to track a return by the day it was started.
4) At one site, there were only two preparers, so the guest account was adequate for both, and the site coordinator did not see a need for multiple accounts.

The point here is that there are different solutions for the same problem, and here are several aspects to consider.
1) A different login for each user lets each preparer keep track of the number of returns prepared, and the site coordinator will slowly get a feel for each preparer's performance and consequently, which returns require more attention. It will be easier to identify the preparer and talk to them in the event of problems. The login name does not need to reflect the name of the user.
2) A single login for all users or multiple users is like having a single email account or a single telephone number for all users (like in a customer support center). It could work, but sometimes will get into the way of getting things done.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Desktop TaxWise Training Webinar - Day 1

The refresher online TaxWise Administrator class for the desktop version of TaxWise provided some information that though not new, may be helpful in running the sites.

1) The add Tabs function lets you add additional tabs to the main screen; currently there are the TaxWise Home, TaxWise Web, IRS and customer service. You may be able to add additional tabs that relate to other information, either on the web or on your own computer. For example, if you have a copy of the pub 17 in your computer, you can put the pathname to it there. Note that the full name of the file, including the extension, should be there. Of course, if you are looking at a file, the relevant add-in or application must be present in your computer. If you link to html files there should be no problem.

2) Context Sensitive Help; have you found the little window of help instructions at the bottom of the screen to be useful? If so, you are not alone. However, since it takes up space, especially on low resolution or small screens, it covers most of the form you are entering. This can be toggled on and off so that it is available only when you need it.

3) Have you had the occasion when you lost the form tree on the left hand side? Well, there is a toggle button that turns it off and on. It is useful to turn off when you need the space to look at a full form, and to turn on when you are navigating.

4) If the text is too large or too small, the font size can be changed to suit your preference.

Desktop TaxWise Webinar comments - Caveats

The following is based on webinar discussions on the 3 day webinar training session on Desktop TaxWise Webinar training. They represent the understanding and view of the author based on available information, and may not reflect the position of TaxWise or UTS.

It is provided as a continuation of some of the discussions during the session as a way of sharing best practices, and provided for information only. Please recheck and confirm any information used for making decisions.