Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 36 seconds

Jon Baron, Thomson ReutersFor many years, software publisher in the tax and accounting industry emphasized suites for which they wrote all elements. But they are increasingly allowing other companies to develop applications that work with and extend their applications. It appears likely that the two big vendors in this market—Thomson Reuters and Wolters Kluwer CCH—will rely more on other companies to provide functionality.

CCH has already announced their plans to move in that direction. And while the Thomson's Tax & Accounting business has not made a definite statement opening letting other companies build applications that work with its code, it appears likely it will do the same as its competitors.

At this month's Thomson Synergy conference, Jon Baron, managing director of the professional segment of the Tax Accounting business, made comments that suggested Thomson would move in that direction. Asked later for elaboration, Baron commented that his company's products would be "more open" but declined to further define that.

Moreover, even with its declared plan to work with outside developers, CCH has not done much to implement that plan.
At her company's Connections conference in October, Teresa Mackintosh, CEO of Wolters Kluwer CCH U.S., said more will happen, but that those plans have had to wait while the company put its energies into other areas. However, she commented "I would expect you will a big pickup in traction in the coming year."

What is driving vendors to allow developers to talk about working together more with other developers. Randy Johnston, a partner with the Network Management Group and K2 Consulting, says that users are demanding the vendors help them in integrating products. Johnston says there is already a cross-over between those who use an engagement product from one vendor and want more links with products from the competitors.

Firms want help want help "getting stuff work together and they don't have IT expertise," says Johnston. He says firms are telling their suppliers "'We want you make the integration'", continuing, that on the CS Professional Suite side, "Thomson has always been proprietary—they are taking a lot of heat for it."

Intuit has published a Software Developers Kit, but that is for its QuickBooks accounting software. Although it outlined plans for this years' tax season during its September Investor's Day and outlined new features on its website, it has been otherwise quiet in discussing plans for its professional tax software.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Tuesday, 18 November 2014
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