Aug 31 2023 /

Webinar and Q&A: Project Apollo, the usability initiative

Webinar & Q&A: project Apollo: the usability unitiative
Alex Wells

Alex Wells

6 Min

We recently hosted a webinar on our new usability initiative called Project Apollo. More than 700 people joined us live and asked 200+ questions! Don’t worry if you were unable to attend the webinar live: you can watch the whole thing below. We’ve also transcribed the answers to some of the most popular questions.

Here are the main topics we covered:

  • The work we do behind the scenes to improve performance and stability
  • The updates we are rolling out to make your life easier (such as redesigned tables, revamped filters, and improved sidebar navigation)
  • The improvements to your clients’ experience (such as a new mobile app, enhanced client portal and an easier way to settle invoices)

And some of the questions we’ve answered live:

  • How to configure the revamped tables
  • How to use the new filtering options 
  • How to customize the new client mobile app

Want to find out more about Project Apollo? Check out our blog post on the subject.

Have an idea about a feature you think should be added as part of Project Apollo? Write to us using the Feature Request Board.

Q&A transcript

Are we going to be able to link e-sign requests/docs to the job from the request signature page?

You can link any document to a job every step of the way: from the document view page, from the upload document page, and from the job page. This reduces clicks and makes your work more efficient.

As a reminder, you would want to link e-sign requests to a job because the signature can work as a trigger for other automations — for example, the job can move forward in your pipeline when the e-signature has been added. Read more about it in our recent update.

You can also link the document to the job when printing directly from your tax program in the desktop app.

Are these adjustments to the tables user-specific or firmwide?

The UI updates are all firmwide, but each user can set their own settings – so that Bob from Accounting sees columns A, B, C, D – and Mary from Tax sees columns A, B, E, G, F.

Do the new filtering options include the “is not” condition? Also, will you be adding this logic to stage conditions within pipelines? Let’s say I only want a particular stage to happen if a client does not have a specific tag.

Yes, advanced filters will include “And,” “Or” and “Does not include.”

It sounds like the second part of your question isn’t about the user interface for the new tables, but is actually about setting additional conditions for automation triggers. This isn’t in this release, but yes, we do plan to add more complex conditions to automation triggers.

Will you be able to adjust columns and their width on the Tasks screen — like you can on the Account screen?

Yes – all tables will be updated to feature the new design. The most popular pages will be updated first. We plan to update the Tasks page this year.

Can the organizer pull info from the client contact page so the client doesn’t need to give us information we have already?

You can already update your CRM tags through organizer answers, but we are also in progress of updating *all* fields in your CRM from organizer answers – so that responses in the organizer can update the fields in the account.

Are we able to offer multiple proposal options?

The first version of proposals will include one option – but we plan to add packages by the end of the year, enabling you to have multiple options for the client, each triggering different quotes.

Will clients need to log into the portal to sign the engagement letter?

At the moment they’ll need to log in – but soon they’ll be able to sign engagement letters without logging in. They’ll also be able to perform other actions without logging in — we are working on it. Just recently we’ve made it possible to pay invoices without logging in, and proposals are next in line.

Can clients save their payment info so it’s easier to pay in the future? Not talking about the auto-billing functionality that comes with many subscriptions.

The clients of our early access members can already save payment info, and in early September we’ll make this functionality available for all firms. 

How do we know if we are part of the early access program?

You can go to Settings, then Firm Settings, scroll down to the bottom until you see a toggle that says “Get early access to features” – and switch it on to join. Here are short instructions on how to join our early program.

I am really interested in the integration of AI with TaxDome – what is your plan? 

AI is on the tip of everyone’s tongue – and we’re looking  to truly add value for our clients. Experience has shown that to be first is not always synonymous with being the best. Facebook wasn’t the first to social networking, but no one remembers Friendster or Myspace anymore, do they? 🙂 

In our opinion, true AI is something that will replace entire workflows – and that’s what we want to deliver.

Are you going to update the firm mobile app? 

Our priority has been to provide the best experience to your clients, as there are millions of them. But – mobile work is paramount, so we’re working on updating the app for firms as well.

In addition to the current ability to receive notifications and work with the list of clients, there will be an opportunity to manage your work and communicate with clients using chat. We will be able to tell you more about our plans and status in Q4 at the next webinar.

Can I try out the beta version of the client mobile app?

You can find it in the App Store/Google Play — it’s called TaxDome Client Portal 2.0.

Can you explain how the transcript request feature will work?

This feature is still in early access – but we’ll post a blog outlining the full IRS integration soon! 

Will you be able to customize engagement letters/contracts more? Formatting (justifications, being able to center a letterhead) and more.

Yep! You’ll be able to add custom letterheads, images and videos to fully showcase your brand.

When a contact is set up in the “last name first name” format, a comma is missing (last name, first name). Will that comma come back?

In Q4 we plan to release improved formatting features for contacts (they will be called Proposals and engagement letters), along with other improvements within the CRM space. For example, you’ll be able to bulk-update contact toggles [Notify, login access, email sync]  – work is already underway.

How about contact access restrictions? I understand we can restrict USER access. Within a client account, one of my biggest concerns is employees of a client having access to the tax return when I only want them to have access to certain folders.

We’re working on an initiative right now where we’ll add the ability for users to control access to folders granularly – on a user-by-user basis.

When will the all-in-one chat feature — like Slack — roll out? I know it’s planned, but it is the hardest part about TaxDome.

We are working on a global chats section where you’ll be able to see all chats across all clients within one interface!

Will we be able to tag jobs? If not, why not?

How would you utilize the job tags? For filtering purposes, or for reporting? Our product team would love to hear your thoughts – please post in the feature request board accessible from the (?) in the top right corner of your portal.

Will we be able to add multiple line items to the same invoice, so that the client can choose to pay for separate items?

It sounds like you’re interested in offering your client choices to select what services your firm should provide them. You’ll be able to do that within our proposals & engagement letters feature coming out this year. 

Regarding the new filtering functionality, can you filter everyone who does not have a specific tag?

Yes, that will be an option. You can already do it in the current version by selecting the “does not contain” option when filtering by tags, but this functionality will be much more robust in our new interface.

Is there a way to have assignees on a job in the order that they perform the job?

You can already set up the system so it automatically assigns a specific team member to a task. You can set this up using conditional automations.

When I’m uploading client documents, the names get cut off if they’re too long. Will the document upload window have any changes to show the full file name if it gets too long? 

We will definitely update this in the future so you’re able to resize tables and view full document names. We have more than 150 tables inside our platform. We will continuously update the remaining tables this year and next.

I don’t use the TaxDome invoice feature – is there a way to hide the invoices tab so that my clients don’t get confused?

Yes, you can find this under your Settings -> Integrations -> Hide Invoice from clients (set toggle to off) 

Do you have anything in the pipeline for proposals?

We plan to launch Proposals and ELs (engagement letters) in the early access program in September. 

When will SMS be available?

We expect to release the SMS functionality in the next quarter.

Will clients automatically be prompted to update their apps? Or do we have to direct them to a different app to download?

When the beta testing period is over, the old app will automatically be updated for all users – like any other update in the app store. They won’t have to download a new app.

Can we hide the “book an appointment” feature? And what’s the timeline for the TaxDome calendar to integrate with the Outlook calendar?

If you don’t integrate a scheduler, the “book an appointment” feature will not be displayed inside the portal. There is no immediate timeline for integrating Outlook Calendar — but it’s part of our roadmap.

Are you planning to add accurate due date tracking for each jurisdiction? For example, 1065 due 3/15, NJ return due 4/15, NY due 3/15. Due dates should move automatically when each jurisdiction is extended. We need the ability to track multiple jurisdictions for each client.

Yes – this is in our plans. It sounds like you’re looking for custom fields for jobs (example: date format) – and the ability to have those dates updated through automatons.

We’re currently in the process of releasing additional custom field formats for accounts — dates, dropdowns, and more. We’ll extend this functionality to workflow and integrate it with automations in future.

The “type” field is now a part of the Accounts table. How can I make bulk changes from “Other” to new types?

We’re working on this as we speak – you should see an update this year.

Can we choose what buttons the clients see? For example, we are not using TaxDome to book appointments.

Yes, you can decide which buttons are displayed – you can disable prepayment and book appointment buttons if you do not use them.

Will you be sending a sample email to let our clients know of the new mobile app look?

Yes – our blog post will have a sample email you can use to email your client with the updates. Here is a sneak peek at the new app.

Are there any plans to allow the practitioners to see client files from the app? Currently we can only see info, messages and notes — but not documents.

Yes – we’re currently working on a redesign of the firm mobile app as well.

When I go to Invoices —> Time Entries, it lists the duration as parts of an hour. I think it used to be Hour:Minutes. How do I go back to that?

We have received feedback that it is better to show time in hours as opposed to minutes, since billable rates are hourly, and most time entries are used to create an invoice.

Regarding the new organizers, when is the planned release date? We’ll need to tweak them for the upcoming tax season.

New organizers should be out this quarter.

Will we have “smart” organizers, so that a response to a particular question will make the following question redundant?

Our organizers are already smarter than that: you can set up conditional logic to hide questions that aren’t needed. So, for example, when your client answers “no” to having a spouse, all subsequent questions regarding the spouse are hidden altogether. That’s how conditional logic jumps work in organizers.

Why are there no updates for the Mac Desktop app? I’m sure there are a lot of Mac users!

We hear you! Our team is focusing on making a singular platform of development that will allow both Mac and Windows users to use it. But we don’t have an official release date for that as of yet.

Will there be more enhancements to time tracking? For example, will there be a way to track an employee’s admin time vs. time spent working on a client?

You can do this now when you create invoices from time entries – you can mark time entries as billable or non-billable.

Alex Wells

Alex Wells

Alex is a content writer at TaxDome with a background in e-commerce and email marketing. He digs deep to understand the nuances of accounting, tax and bookkeeping practices and breaks down complicated tax code language to produce helpful content for TaxDome clients. In his spare time, Alex watches The Big Bang Theory, listens to Muse, and enjoys reading about the latest marketing trends.

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