Jon Baron and Teresa Mackintosh kicked off the 30th Annual Thomson Reuters User Conference this morning at the Gaylord National in DC. (This is my 25th consecutive conference with this group!) Highlights included some very interesting statistics showing that while average accounting firm revenues actually grew 1.2% in 2009 but that the growth was not equally distributed -- some 40% of firms saw declines of about 5%, 22% were flat, and the high performing firms (38%) grew by 3.1%.
Baron showcased an interesting new capability in their Ultra-Tax product. New this year is a "Client Complexity Calculation" which computes the overall preparation difficulty of a particular return as measured against the firms "average" return. The secret sauce here is the ability to assign different weighting to various aspects of returns and then to compare the results across the firm. End result is a much more accurate method of comparing client work and related revenue. Imagine running a regression analysis of billings against computed complexity! Another huge benefit will be easier and more effective assignment of staff to work. Once tied in the Practice CS Staff module this could be true magic.
Even though he used the word nearly 20 times to describe various components he was showcasing, I do have to admit that Baron's presentation did include some things that were truly "incredible". While detailing the soon-to-be-available Practice CS Mobile Baron told the enthusiastic group of nearly 900 that their developers were working on an iPhone / iPad "app" that would be FIRM BASED! In other words, Thomson Reuters will build the app and then specially "brand" it for your firm with the result being that your clients will see YOUR firm on an iPhone! How's that for a wow factor in attracting new clients?
More later ..... good stuff here.