Tax office in need of new system

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AllHollysHobbys

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Jul 23, 2021
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I hope I am in the correct category. I am not finding any help from anybody and we are at a loss here. In speaking to multiple "professionals" all we can get is "You need an external drive" but that is not what we need. So hopefully I am providing adequate details to get the answers I need.

We are a small 2 preparer tax office. We each have a computer, and are open to replacing or upgrading if need be. We have used an external Synology drive which no longer works. We use Drake Software to prepare taxes as well as the Drake Accounting program. Our computers are not syncing. We are losing and overwriting information in our save files.

Here is what we want to do:
Have a main computer (network, hard drive, workstation, whatever it is called) that we each have an account and work from. As if our computer logs in to this one and saves each file to one place where I can open what was just done from the other preparers computer. We DO NOT want an external hard drive that just "holds" the information. All tax offices run off this type of system that I am talking about. I apologize again if I am not using the correct terminology. When we opened we didn't see the reasoning to spend all that money on this type of system, and we didn't expect to grow this quickly either. However, at this point, we are back tracking to replace the lost information and wasting a lot of time and potentially making errors we cant afford to make.

PLEASE HELP!!
Thank you :)
 

Cookiegal

Karen
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Malware Specialist Coordinator
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Ramon,

I've removed the content of your post as we don't allow referals to professional services. All assistance is to be done here on the boards and if it's not something we can help them with then they will have to consult services elsewhere but we cannot recommend companies as we aren't able to vouch for them. Plus, we don't know if you have any connection to the services referred to. Thanks for understanding.
 

texasbullet

Ramon
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Jun 11, 2014
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3,024
Ramon,

I've removed the content of your post as we don't allow referals to professional services. All assistance is to be done here on the boards and if it's not something we can help them with then they will have to consult services elsewhere but we cannot recommend companies as we aren't able to vouch for them. Plus, we don't know if you have any connection to the services referred to. Thanks for understanding.
I understand you but for your info I don't have any connections with said person or company but do know him thru his website on what he does.
 

Cookiegal

Karen
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Malware Specialist Coordinator
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121,338
for your info I don't have any connections with said person or company but do know him thru his website on what he does.
I was pretty sure of that too but of course we don't always know if that's the case especially with users we aren't familiar with so we can't make an exception. :)
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
59
If I understand you correctly...

The problem is that your files aren't synced between the two existing workstations

and...

You no longer have a working network storage unit.

If this is correct, let's move to the next question. If it is not correct, please clarify.

Next Question:
- Once the storage unit failed, were the files still syncing or did the syncing between the workstations stop?

**What I'm trying to find out is if the problem exists because your storage has failed...thereby not allowing your Drake files to store properly and later be inaccessible by the program.

OR

Something has changed within the settings of your software...yes, even if you didn't touch it.

Other Questions:
- Who set up the software?
- Who set up the network storage?
- Who set up the network?
- Has the storage unit been tested?
OR
- Is it assumed to be dead because it wont store anything?
- Has your network been tested?
- Has the switch been tested? This alone can cause everything to fail.
- Are the computers visible to each other?
- What, in all, has been done so far about this issue?
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
59
BTW, if you simply want to bail on the old system and get a new one going, feel free to let me know. I will ask some general questions and either help you myself or point you in the right direction.
 

AllHollysHobbys

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
3
If I understand you correctly...

The problem is that your files aren't synced between the two existing workstations

and...

You no longer have a working network storage unit.

If this is correct, let's move to the next question. If it is not correct, please clarify.

Next Question:
- Once the storage unit failed, were the files still syncing or did the syncing between the workstations stop?

**What I'm trying to find out is if the problem exists because your storage has failed...thereby not allowing your Drake files to store properly and later be inaccessible by the program.

OR

Something has changed within the settings of your software...yes, even if you didn't touch it.

Other Questions:
- Who set up the software?
- Who set up the network storage?
- Who set up the network?
- Has the storage unit been tested?
OR
- Is it assumed to be dead because it wont store anything?
- Has your network been tested?
- Has the switch been tested? This alone can cause everything to fail.
- Are the computers visible to each other?
- What, in all, has been done so far about this issue?

Yes we had the Synology, which no longer saves/syncs between the computers. We have to install a new program every year, and over the past 2 years the programs have changed to make it harder to save to an external drive. We had an IT person successfully sync the tax program, but the accounting program will not sync. He has changed the save locations to Y and Z I believe he named them and the accounting works for a moment then as soon as you turn the computers off it decides it doesn't want to do that anymore. We worked at a few tax offices that use the system I am wanting, I just don't remember the technical names for what I am trying to do.

They would have their own login to windows that ran off some sort of computer inside a separate room.

We personally set up the software in the beginning as well as the synology. It all worked fine for a few years. The drake program insists that it is installed on your C drive. So changing the save directory gets a bit complicated. On top of that we are not in a place to have substantially working internet, nor many IT Professionals in the area that actually know what they are doing.

I hope I have answered your questions

And yes we want to bail the old system and get a new system that will help us avoid these problems!
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
59
It sounds like what you are looking for is a server that can handle two clients.

One way to do this is to have the server set up on a network. The server runs VMware and hosts the clients. There's a small, fairly inexpensive "computer", known as a "thin client", that sits on the users desktop. Users log into their VMware profile to access their "computer" through the thin client and this computer looks and operates exactly like a regular computer with the exception that the computations are not happening at the users desktop computer, they are happening on the server and are being fed to the thin client. I suggest this method if you are expecting to grow past two people because it becomes easier to add new workstations. This will end up being a five figure solution.

If you don't plan on expanding, I suggest you have the equipment tested before opting for a new system of any type. This is because, getting back up and running could allow a buffer in time while you prepare financially for the hardware investment. Remember that it's not just the hardware purchase but with technology like VMware, it's not something you're going to learn and set up in a weekend on your own. You will pay someone to do it and hopefully they include training so you can maintain and manipulate it as needed.

Expect to pay for a service agreement. You want this in case your system fails because someone will fix it within the amount of time the service agreement calls for. You will want to pay for this until you understand how to fix these things yourself or you will continue to pay for it because it could take days to even understand just what the problem is, let alone how to fix it. It simply is piece of mind and a time saver because the faster you get back to making money, the less money you lose.

There are several possible reasons that the storage isn't working and a couple reasons like, a bad cable, or a singular bad drive in the unit are relatively inexpensive to remedy. If the network switch is bad, this will cause your devices to not talk to each other. This can also be a relatively easy fix. However, what I see is that the storage unit is, in fact, working. This also lets me know that the switch is at least working and possibly intermittent. It is only upon restart that the settings break.

In this case, I would suggest a professional be allowed to remotely connect to your computer to diagnose and remedy the issue.

You may want to start with Drake since you are a registered customer and are having an issue with their software. Again, your network seems to be fine with the exception that settings are not sticking. They may inadvertently identify the problem. If they can't fix it, after that would be a network specialist. They'll check and make sure the settings stick.

The professional services will cost money but keep in mind that the next step is five figures deep. Knowing what the issue is and knowing what you want to upgrade to is crucial and you wont figure this out on your own in a timely fashion. Paying for the professional services right now can be justified by rolling it into the future purchase. You simply need to know what you're opting to step into and nobody can tell you that until they evaluate your business needs.

I hope I've helped.
 

AllHollysHobbys

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
3
You have helped very much! Thank you for taking the time to explain all that to me! I suppose my best option is to research some professionals and find a trusted one that can help us. Its not so much about paying for the fix, its having someone that we can trust come in to the office since we deal with private information that other people trust us with.

Thank you so much for the suggestions and now I know where I need to start! You have no idea how much you have helped!
 
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