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A Walk Down Memory Lane


joelgilb
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That was BC {before computers} Heaven help you if you needed a copy of the federal for the state {then it was 4 carbons!} ICK!n {oh and white out on all copies if you made a mistake!}

When I was just a "young thang", the Accountant I worked for used overlays -- returns were imput on a GREEN CRT screen and then printed to blank, continuous paper and we had clear overlays which we put over the printed sheet and ran photo copies. :blink::blink::blink:

I remember when we did everything by hand, with the help of a 10-Key adding machine, of course. And we could not afford a copy machine, which at that time were huge and expensive. We used Carbon paper, and lots of white out. Then went to carbon sets, with differnt color pages. I had white-out in five differnt colors. And we would want to cry sometimes, when we had finished a large many-page return, only to have the client return to pick it up and say "Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that I sold some land last year. Is that going to make a difference?" Not like now, when you make one change and that 'flows' to all the related forms. You often had to just start over from the beginning, because a change to add a Sch D also meant that AGI changed, which changed the Sch A, which might change other credits, etc.

I remember using the overlays when we first started doing them on computer. Schedules printed ok, but the signature forms had to be done with overlays.

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Um... ATX never had overlays that I know of and I was there when the first ads were published offering it for commercial sale... You sure you were using ATX to do that or were you using ATX AND another program that required overlays?

Anyone remember the monkey suit ads?

I hope someone out there remembers the overlays with ATX. I'm beginning to doubt my sanity. The only other tax program I have ever used was a program I believe was called Tax Shop. I used it in I believe 1991 for 1990 returns for the one year and then went back to doing the returns manually because I didn't get the federal program until up in February and the state didn't come until March. I called them on the phone and that was one of two times that my wife ever heard me really get upset with someone. Later I saw an ad for ATX software which was very inexpensive at the time and tried it on I believe the 1994 tax returns and have used it ever since. That first year, I had to also buy the Microsoft Excel program to run the ATX program because ATX wouldn't run by itself. I used overlays for the Tax Shop program and am 99.8% sure that I also used them on the ATX program the first year I used it. It may have been because I had a dot matrix printer that I had to use overlays.

I don't think I ever saw the monkey suit ads - - was monekyman on this board by any chance the man in the monkey suit?

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My first tax software was from Alpine Data and I had the plastic overlays to create the tax forms from printed info sheets. I started in 1984.

I'm just a one person operation and have never had over 60 customers, so the cost of tax software is a concern for me.

Can't remember the year for sure, but it was 1998 or 1999 that Alpine Data priced me out - their cost went up to $750.00, but their programs improved each year.

I've been with ATX since then and like most of you, went through their growing pains to. Seems like there was always problems with forms and updates early in the season but I never had a tax return rejected because of it, until this year - 3 State rejections.

I hope they don't price me out of their software. They haven't scored any points with me so far this year.

Jerry

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This thread has been a trip down memory lane! When I first started I used a service bureau for write-up, then went in-house with a Digital Equipment machine that was expensive and slow. I used Computax, too, but I decided that it was easier to pencil the numbers in on government-issue forms and run photocopies -- TRA 1986 shot that in the head.

Last year a client asked me what I'd do without computers. "Change jobs", I immediately answered. Seriously, though, until about Windows 3.1 the accounting software available was just downright primitive compared to what we could get out of the old service bureau mainframes.

The disturbing part of this thread is that so many of us remember all this -- I wonder how much new blood is coming into the profession. When she was in high school, my kid said she'd rather pick up cans on the side of the road than be an accountant. Nice, huh.

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I remember a couple of years when I entered the info in a spreadsheet that I wrote myself running on an Apple computer. I'd then write the results on the tax form (typed it for the really important clients). Then I got a PC with an HP laser printer and a special cartridge for the tax forms. I thought the thing was magic.

And I also remember coming in to the tax office I worked in while I was still in college and stapling 3 sheets of each form together with carbon paper in between. I'd make up these sets between clients. Eventually we started buying the carbonless forms from Nelco and just using the hand-assembled carbon sets for the low-volume forms.

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I remember a couple of years when I entered the info in a spreadsheet that I wrote myself running on an Apple computer. I'd then write the results on the tax form (typed it for the really important clients). Then I got a PC with an HP laser printer and a special cartridge for the tax forms. I thought the thing was magic.

And I also remember coming in to the tax office I worked in while I was still in college and stapling 3 sheets of each form together with carbon paper in between. I'd make up these sets between clients. Eventually we started buying the carbonless forms from Nelco and just using the hand-assembled carbon sets for the low-volume forms.

My first big purchase was a copy machine, which was much deliberated. My husband said that I was crazy to spend all of that money and I said it would pay for itself. I proved it by putting a dime in a jar everytime I made a copy (still continue that practice as it became a habit) I was in heaven with that copy machine (probably a about late 80's or early 90's) No more carbon paper and the PRODUCTION...WOW!!!! I have moved on to computers and my business has paid for every piece of equipment I ever bought and he gets the hand-me-downs for his Auto Sales Business. One of those old pieces of equipment is that old Sharp copy machine which is still working great. This thread has been unreal.......

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I remember back in the late 70's early 80's I was quite good with Quatro Pro (the other spreadsheet), which at the time was ages ahead of Excel. I would create the forms and submit them to the IRS and get them approved, and used a master sheet to enter all the information in, and program it to flow through to the forms. I had about 60 clients at the time and it worked out quite well . Only did 1040, Sch A, Sch B and Sch C. Also got approval from the state of Mass. My forms were primitive but were acceptable. I did this for a couple of years but then along came a new computer, a IBM PS2 and it came with a tax program called Tax Act and I also tried Turbo Tax until I had to black out the 'self prepared' on the signature line. When I saw Saber in 1995 I realized it was the same principal that I had and loved it. Used it ever since.

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I hope someone out there remembers the overlays with ATX. I'm beginning to doubt my sanity. The only other tax program I have ever used was a program I believe was called Tax Shop. I used it in I believe 1991 for 1990 returns for the one year and then went back to doing the returns manually because I didn't get the federal program until up in February and the state didn't come until March. I called them on the phone and that was one of two times that my wife ever heard me really get upset with someone. Later I saw an ad for ATX software which was very inexpensive at the time and tried it on I believe the 1994 tax returns and have used it ever since. That first year, I had to also buy the Microsoft Excel program to run the ATX program because ATX wouldn't run by itself. I used overlays for the Tax Shop program and am 99.8% sure that I also used them on the ATX program the first year I used it. It may have been because I had a dot matrix printer that I had to use overlays.

I don't think I ever saw the monkey suit ads - - was monekyman on this board by any chance the man in the monkey suit?

AHHH... dot matrix... I can remember talking to someone who wanted to strip all the formatting out of the return because they were using an overlay, is it possible that might have been you? It could be done and we had an undocumented macro that did it back then, but the dot matrix printed forms were actually acceptable as long as it was a 24pin printer. Some of the 8 pin printers would work, but it didn't look 'pretty'. Then again, dot matrix users used to have to 'adjust row heights' to 'shrink' the forms to print on one page too. Yup, you had to buy Excel or Lotus and we pushed the Excel as it was the one that had the least issues... I can remember having a discussion with one person who thought we were pushing that version because we were making a bigger 'markup' on selling MS Excel itself, but the truth was that we sold it at cost so you could use the tax forms. Things greatly improved when Excel and Lotus were removed from the equation, although several preparers were adamant that it wasn't.

The monkey suit ads were actually GW. He starred in ALL of the ads at the beginning that actually had someone in it unless SW was also in the ad. I tried hard to stay out of the ads, but eventually Greg Jackson, the guy responsible for creating the later ads, actually cornered me and got a picture of me in one of the catelogs that had just about everyone working there at the time. Jamie was a very popular person in the catelogs, she was in quite a few.

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Actually, I have in front of me an ad for Saber from Accounting Technology, Feb, 1996 when I first started using the program. Has a picture of a very young Glynn and Steve along with the pyramid of forms and the roaring tiger (lion) at the top. It was always a wonderful program.......and still is. I have found it to be more fine tuned this year than ever before and am having no problems that I have not been able to solve on this board. It would be a terrible mistake to eradicate it. IMO

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You guys are sure CCH will axe ATX. If that happens, what makes TaxWise better than ATX? As a program? From CCH's decision point of view?

From CCH's decision point of view? The fact that TaxWise has a contract with the IRS. That TaxWise's largest customer is the IRS. 50,000 individuals wanting 50,000 individual things from you vs. 1 really big client to serve. Of course, if these were the only two products CCH had, then multiple clients are better. But CCH has other product lines including other tax programs at higher price points, so how they make the decision re their low end product will include how much money they can make for how little in resourses it will cost them. We've already seen which technical support center survived.

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AHHH... dot matrix... I can remember talking to someone who wanted to strip all the formatting out of the return because they were using an overlay, is it possible that might have been you? It could be done and we had an undocumented macro that did it back then, but the dot matrix printed forms were actually acceptable as long as it was a 24pin printer. Some of the 8 pin printers would work, but it didn't look 'pretty'. Then again, dot matrix users used to have to 'adjust row heights' to 'shrink' the forms to print on one page too. Yup, you had to buy Excel or Lotus and we pushed the Excel as it was the one that had the least issues... I can remember having a discussion with one person who thought we were pushing that version because we were making a bigger 'markup' on selling MS Excel itself, but the truth was that we sold it at cost so you could use the tax forms. Things greatly improved when Excel and Lotus were removed from the equation, although several preparers were adamant that it wasn't.

The monkey suit ads were actually GW. He starred in ALL of the ads at the beginning that actually had someone in it unless SW was also in the ad. I tried hard to stay out of the ads, but eventually Greg Jackson, the guy responsible for creating the later ads, actually cornered me and got a picture of me in one of the catelogs that had just about everyone working there at the time. Jamie was a very popular person in the catelogs, she was in quite a few.

Mel, you were right. I checked back on my old returns and the only ones I used the overlays on were with Tax Shop for the year 1990. I found that I had started using ATX for 1993 returns instead of 1994 and instead of using overlays, I printed the entire form with a dot matrix printer. For the 1994 returns, I went all out and bought a lazer printer. I have been using ATX ever since so I don't know a thing about the other programs.

No, I wasn't the one you talked to about changing the format so that overlays could be used. When I first purchased the program, I remember talking to a very nice gentleman who had a deep voice. Was that by any chance you?

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>>a perfect system<<

Remember Dixon? They were a hardware manufacturer, and they had this clever little device that could imprint official IRS forms. It wasn't the most accurate system, and I could never get the fonts to look right, but it was great for "what if" tax planning because it was so easy to make changes with a flick of the wrist. I haven't seen one in years. I think the model was Ticonderoga #2/HB.

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>>a perfect system<<

Remember Dixon? They were a hardware manufacturer, and they had this clever little device that could imprint official IRS forms. It wasn't the most accurate system, and I could never get the fonts to look right, but it was great for "what if" tax planning because it was so easy to make changes with a flick of the wrist. I haven't seen one in years. I think the model was Ticonderoga #2/HB.

They're still available, see:

http://www.shoplet.com/office/db/DIX13856.html

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1979: Pencil & calculator. Closed my share of Corporate books by hand. Computax for the more complicated returns.

1984: Very radical decision, used Dunphy Systems, Inc. in house on a PC, never sent out a return again for processing.

2006: Notified that Dunphy was bought by Thomson. In 21 years with Dunphy, I had one return not calculated correctly. Don Dunphy sent me a check for $5.00 to refund my overpaid EFT fee, written by hand and signed by him in October 2006. I still have that uncashed check as a reminder that sometimes you get more than you pay for. I did very well using his software and maybe contacted them once or twice a year. Dunphy was always a DOS based program and didn't offer a lot of bells and whistles, but I could prepare a complex return quickly and it produced a great looking finished product for the client.

ProSeries for 2006 tax year. I don't like buying from Intuit, who tells their customers they don't need me. At the same time, I really like ProSeries. I was in awe of the ease of preparing a single client with the 1040 and 3 states.

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I started in 1987 just doing my Mom's returns by hand after Dad died. It was funny when the EIC first came out. I remember my Mom saying "They're not just going to give you money! You did something wrong". So she she paid big money to take it to an accountant who confirmed what I had already done. Fast Forward to 1992: My, now, ex-husband wants me to stay home and take care of the kids; I say fine - I'll work from home until they're older and in school all day. I started with 10-15 clients (mostly family and friends) and wrote everything in triplicate or more on my dining room table. Always went to seminars and got all the free publications I could (still have them all in boxes in the basement now). I actually did them all by hand until 1997 and used a place called FaxTax for e-filing. I would fax them the completed return and they would submit it for a $10-$25 fee depending on the return. A software company sent me a demo shortly after I started using my first computer around that time - I've been with ATX ever since. I've glanced at a few other companies - but I guess I am just spoiled by the ease of ATX, the form-based view, and the improvements in the product every year. I am going to be very sad if CCH discontinues it. By the way, I now have a client base of over 250, no longer have a dining room and my youngest is in Junior High...guess I'm not going to go work for someone else after all. Just thought I'd share my memories as well.

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KC is a moderator, he can change just about anything he wants.

Mel, thanks for reminding me re KC..........Friday is the day we have to sacrifice a virgin to the

Moderator God. Problem is, I can't find a virgin here in Marysville, Ohio. Anybody got a virgin lying

around that they are not using??

Booger

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