Comparative Intelligence for Data-Driven Decision-Making

New! Instant download PDF eBook (243 pages).
 By Randolph P. Johnston and Leslie Garrett Ph.D.


Related reports available exclusively from CPA Trendlines:
Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey – for Medium and Large Firms
Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey – for Firms of All Sizes
Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey – for Solo and Small Firms


  • Are you using the right tax software?
  • What’s the most popular program at firms like yours?
  • Which tax applications will future-proof your firm?

The Tax Software Report can help answer your questions and guide you to the right buying decisions from among the six leading tax packages:

  • ATX
  • Drake
  • Lacerte
  • Proseries
  • ProSystem fx and
  • Ultratax CS

For firms in all revenue classes:

  • Under $50,000 (annual fee income)
  • $50,000 – $100,000
  • $100,001 – $200,000
  • $200,001 – $500,000
  • $500,001 – $1 million
  • Over $1 million

Plan on scaling up? Then you need to know how larger firms are equipped.

Plan on optimizing your technology expenditures? Then you need to choose the right vendor.

Finally, here’s a roadmap for taking the guesswork out of picking the right software, saving hours and hours of trial-and-error, and recouping thousands of dollars in billable time fending off sales reps and getting the wrong answers to the wrong questions.

The new Tax Software Report provides insight into the top six tax software products used by accountants from the latest three Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Surveys.

Gain extraordinary insight with exclusive information for:

✓ Benchmarking

✓ Mergers or acquisitions

✓ Each software application’s ability to support the firm’s workload

✓ Each application’s suitability to grow as your firm grows

✓ The “best-fit” software options when adding service areas, and

✓ Partner retreats or planning initiatives


The report is designed to help decision-makers meet issues and challenges with the software most appropriate to the characteristics of their firms. The software charts provided in the report and the firms’ profiles lend further insight into software ecosystems, thus potentially speeding the adoption of the right-fit software.


Technology and management issues evolve as firms evolve. For example:

  • Among the smallest firms, the issues of workflow and efficiency and security are most often cited.
  • At slightly larger firms, you can add user’s adaption and acceptance of change as a key issue.
  • At almost every firm, keeping up with new software is mentioned as a major challenge.

Since its inception in 2013, the AFOT Survey has resulted in the collection of over 85 data points from 1277 respondents working in firms of all sizes. Johnston and Dr. Garrett will continue their research studies resulting in consultative insight based on valid and reliable actionable data.

The mission:

  • provide valid, unbiased and actionable data,
  • centered on accounting firm operations and technology,
  • collected from respondents nationwide,
  • in firms of all sizes.

Johnston and Dr. Garrett partner with leading media outlets, state societies, affiliations and associations, thought-leaders, bloggers and channel consultants. This broad network reaches out annually to thousands of accountants, bookkeepers, and tax professionals nationwide to gather the deepest data points and most candid responses. Individual participants are guaranteed confidentiality. Results are valid at a 95 percent confidence level with a three-point margin of error.



Randy Johnston is CEO of Network Management Group, Inc. (NMGI), a company he helped to create in 1983.

Johnston is renowned throughout North America for consultation he provides on operations and technology, while also serving hundreds of CPA firms by proactively managing their technology. Johnston provides insight and guidance for firms of all sizes interested in growth, profitability, mergers and acquisition. In 2013 Johnston co-founded the Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey.

Dr. Leslie Garrett is the CEO and Founder of Insight Research Group (IRG). IRG is a research firm founded on the principle of providing valid, unbiased and actionable data.


Research conducted by IRG entails carefully selected survey methodology to bolster confidence and ensure valid results for the population being measured. Dr. Garrett has served as a marketing and PR executive in the professional accounting channel since 2005. In 2013 Dr. Garrett co-founded the Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey.


As a bonus, the report also contains an appendix with 163 detailed firm profiles that practitioners can use to glean additional insights.

Each firm profile provides:

  • The number of full-time employees at the firm
  • The biggest technology challenges and issues for each firm
  • How tech support is handled at the firm
  • Replacement cycles for:
    • desktop computers, and
    • laptops
  • The names of the firm’s
    • document management system
    • workflow software
    • tax software
    • engagement management/audit software
    • write-up and bookkeeping software
    • payroll software

This first-of-its-kind report provides competitive intelligence for smarter, better, data-driven decision-making.