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What Will Happen To Drake?


cbslee
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Last year Drake's standard price was $1,625 with a $ 400 discount for renewing by May 31st.

This year Drake's standard price is $1,825 with a $ 300 discount for renewing by May 31st.

So last year I renewed early for $ 1,225 and this year if I renew early, it will be $ 1,525 a $ 300 increase.

 

A little over a year ago an International Private Equity Firm named Cinven made a large investment in Drake.

https://www.cinven.com/media/news/cinven-to-invest-in-drake-software/

https://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/tax-compliance/news/21209285/private-equity-firm-cinven-to-invest-in-drake-software

 

Private Equity Firms like Cinven expect an investment like this to pay off 5 to 7 years so I expect we will see

a number of significant changes at Drake. I really hope they don't start cutting their level of support!

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For the first year ever, there were customer support people who were clueless.  I hoped this was because they had newbies and programmers on phones.  

That said, I am still very happy with the software overall, and would not change at this time.

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46 minutes ago, Catherine said:

For the first year ever, there were customer support people who were clueless.

Yes, I noticed this too.

The worst was the when all the technical people assigned to the accounting program were helping with tax questions even though I'd called the phone # supposedly dedicated to the accounting support. Then the person proceeded to chastise me for expecting accounting support help saying "you know this is tax season, right?" and my answer of "yes, and you know this is 3 days before the Jan 31st filing deadline for all the information returns, payroll returns, and W-2s that I should be using your program for but am unable to do so."  You know when I got the call back with help for their program that was stuck in an update loop and wouldn't load - it may have been around Feb 3rd after I'd used an online vendor for my filings, filed W-2s directly on SSA's site, and hand-prepared the 941s and 940s and mailed them in.  At that point on Feb 3rd, I would never need to use the program again, ever.  What a complete waste of time and money for that less-than-useless program.

Tax support was fairly useless also.

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I will definitely agree with you about the Accounting Program. I used it for year end payroll stuff for several years and dropped it.

It just wasn't productive time wise and the the support was very inexperienced. They had no clue about Oregon's payroll peculiarities.

Once this year I did get someone inexperienced with the tax program, but she was able to research the issue and help me, although I was on hold for 5 minutes.

On balance my experience with Drake this year was still good. Not excited about the $ 300 increase.

Looking forward, my concerns are first with a software/technology company, cutting personnel related costs are the quickest way to juice the bottom line.

Second, the software looks outdated/not modern, which means the program will get totally rewritten and perhaps outsourced to India?

Third in 5 years I expect it will cost between $2,500 and $ 3,000 to renew.

I am not going back to ATX and there aren't a lot of other choices at this price point.

 

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1 hour ago, Christian said:

They will likely do their thing and then sell to Intuit or maybe even WK.  Our number of choices available seems to shrink every year or so.

It's been shrinking since the 90s. A bunch couldn't make the jump from DOS to Windows. Others kept getting bought up and the product was eliminated, so they were really just buying the customers. That happened to me twice, at least.

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On 4/23/2022 at 5:04 PM, Abby Normal said:

It's been shrinking since the 90s. A bunch couldn't make the jump from DOS to Windows. Others kept getting bought up and the product was eliminated, so they were really just buying the customers. That happened to me twice, at least.

They call it capitalism.  If I sound cynical, that's because I am.

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35 minutes ago, Randall said:

They call it capitalism.  If I sound cynical, that's because I am.

That's what they call it, but that isn't what it is: it's corporatism. 

I am starting to think that the UK should never have approved the perpetual corporation. Yes, the going-back-to-Parliament to get charters extended every so-many years was annoying, but it prevented the monoliths we see today.  Those monoliths are extremely interested in preventing competition.

As for Drake, I'd rather see a $50 increase in price every year than a $300 increase every 5 or 6 years; I'd been waiting for a wallop in price for a couple of years now. As for support - at least they're still answering the phones.  I'm still waiting for my guaranteed-within-48-hours callback from ATX from Feb of 2013.

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The investment world, the intense focus on quarterly results and monthly updates has monetized everything.

Our Federal Reserve is far more concerned about keeping Wall Street afloat and soaring than how the average working person is doing.

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I failed to notice last year that my usual 10% discount had taken a hike. This years increase looks to be in line with prior years. I may wait and see but I doubt I will receive a call from any rep. Still since one of us got a 20% discount in December it does give you pause. Wish the ole Saber roar was back. $75.00 per year them were the days !

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  • 5 weeks later...

How is the learning curve from ATX to Drake?  Are they comparable in capabilities?  What do you like/dislike about the Drake software.  Considering a change for the first time ever.  

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I wouldn't have left ATX except for ongoing problems with my state Business Entity Returns.

I find Drake more  reliable, with much better support. There is definitely is a learning curve because Drake is not Form based.

Drake's efiling process is much quicker and more reliable. Drake does small frequent program updates which only take 1 or 2 minutes.

Drake definitely releases forms and state returns much sooner than ATX.

 The hardest thing for me to get used to was Drake has very busy input sheets, which can result in overlooking a check box etc.

 Even now after 3 years, it takes me a bit longer to do a return in Drake. However that's offset by fewer problems and better support.

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The number of returns that I anticipate doing next year has declined to the point where it will cost less for me to go to Pay Per Return,

given Drake's $300 increase in their Standard Tax Package,  including their early renewal discount. 

Drake doesn't offer any discount for renewing PPR early, so I will wait until December.

 

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On 5/25/2022 at 3:04 PM, cpabsd said:

How is the learning curve from ATX to Drake?  Are they comparable in capabilities?  What do you like/dislike about the Drake software.  Considering a change for the first time ever.  

I switched in the middle of the 2012 filing season debacle - Feb 2013. Baptism by fire! That said, once you set aside (and it's a decision to make) reliance on forms-based entry, it's remarkably quick. Yes, sometimes a checkbox will trip you up. At that point, the top-notch support steps in. 

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  • 4 months later...

I was actually think of switching to ATX.  Is drake more accurate?  I know ATX had problems around 2012 from reading the posts here but was hoping that was in the past.  The other option is proseries and will try the demo if that soon.  If i switch it will be next summer

 

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I used ATX for 15 years or so and then bounced to Drake after the 2012 ATX debacle. I reluctantly made the decision a couple weeks ago to leave Drake.

Since the buy out, the software has been buggy and they implemented numerous changes without telling anyone (you have to pay to get attend a new features webinar). I've had numerous instances of check boxes being mysteriously checked, often on forms that I never even opened--and those cause issues that make the return un-e-filable.

Perhaps worst of all, their formerly world class tech support has been horrible. I had to call in more this year than the previous 7 combined. At least half the time the tech person didn't have a clue and had to go find and answer and call me back. I even had one, after admitting she couldn't figure out a solution, suggest I file the incorrect return and then call the IRS to ask them to fix it on their end! I could not believe it!

I mentioned that to another support person who has been there for a long time. I could hear the eye roll in her voice. She said she wasn't surprised, that nothing is the same as before and lots of long timers were gone or leaving. She said the commitment to support isn't the same as before. When I told her I was in process of transitioning to another platform she said she's hearing that from dozens of preparers.

Sad. I really REALLY liked Drake...right up until I didn't/couldn't anymore.

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Follow up to my earlier post. When I spoke with a Drake tech support old-timer she recommended that if I call in to press 2 on the phone tree. It says it's for business support but it's really just a more experienced support person. If you press 1, you're more likely to get a newbie. I've done that a couple times and had much better success getting the help I needed.

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21 hours ago, JJStephens said:

Follow up to my earlier post. When I spoke with a Drake tech support old-timer she recommended that if I call in to press 2 on the phone tree. It says it's for business support but it's really just a more experienced support person. If you press 1, you're more likely to get a newbie. I've done that a couple times and had much better success getting the help I needed.

Good dodge; thank you.

I have not had too much extra trouble with support, although I don't like the "press 1 for" nonsense - I prefer a person. Yes, s/w has been buggier than in the past - but the tax laws have been changing as fast as Italy changes governments, and states are lagging in accepting federal changes. I figured it was all a part of the general  upheaval of the past few years.

I'm sticking with Drake for now. 

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Wow, sounds like Drake is going down the same road as ATX.   There was a time when we talked about ATX support like it was the best, cause it was!  Then it started churning through new owners and the first thing to go was customer support.   Sad to hear it is happening at Drake as well.   I almost pulled the trigger after 2012, but I just love the form input and bunny hop in ATX.  I think I am staying with ATX unless they give me a good reason to drop them.  I don't stay for any sense of loyalty or nostalgia, just a business decision on my part.

Tom
Longview, TX

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On 11/6/2022 at 8:59 AM, BulldogTom said:

... unless they give me a good reason to drop them.  I don't stay for any sense of loyalty or nostalgia, just a business decision on my part.

Exactly what I base my decisions on as well.

With ATX's 2012 disaster, I wasn't about to risk my entire season on a potentially unstable program, and certainly not for the price and lack of support.

Once I moved to Drake and learned the program, its overall performance and value for the $ has been a good fit for my practice.  I will reevaluate if that changes, as I would with any software or business tool.

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I'll stick with Drake for now. I know the program, I've not had much trouble with support, they are still very responsive in general. Plus with having downsized my practice, it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time evaluating new programs and learning a new one. I'm down to less than 100 returns a year. Could just about do those by hand (except for the e-file part).

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