From a post by Intuit on their blog:

“Prep for Taxes introduces big improvements to the way you review, adjust, and map tax lines in your client’s books prior to tax filing. This new feature replaces Trial Balance in Accountant Tools for QuickBooks Online Accountant.”

Intuit recently rolled out a new feature called “Prep for Taxes” for Quickbooks Online Accountant users (i.e. those who are set up as Quickbooks ProAdvisors or otherwise handling books for other firms). It is intended to replace the Trial Balance feature. The old Trial Balance tool does appear to work in some ways (but not for your own firm books!),

This appears to be a workaround for a feature set they haven’t completed yet. “The dropdown option to attach documents will not be active until the middle of February.  If you need to retrieve old documents before then, use this link to access them.”

Benefits of Prep for Taxes compared to Trial Balance

This table is taken from the above reference article. In summary, many of the improvements have to do with navigation. Two features that stand out apart from that are carrying over tax mappings from one year to another, as well as being able to toggle between cash and accrual methods without affecting the client’s view of the books. The last one in particular sounds like a big improvement, since small business owners often want to see a “cash basis” view of their books, regardless of their accounting method for tax purposes.

Apologies in advance if this table view is somewhat difficult in mobile:

The new “Review and adjust” tab displays accounts in the Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss formats. Both formats are shown in one view.The Trial Balance has one long list of accounts, which can be hard to navigate. You need to scroll left and right to see the whole page.
Sections are organized by form number and name making it easier to find the form needed.The schedule section of the form involves lots of scrolling up and down before finding an account.
You can now carry over tax mappings from the previous year.Trial Balance has no ability to carry over tax mappings from one year to the next.
You can toggle the accounting method to cash or accrual without affecting your client’s books.Any changes accountants make to accounting method (cash or accrual) have to be changed within your client’s books and could cause viewing inconsistencies between clients and their accountants.
Setting mapping is easier.  You can type a keyword to see a filtered list where that word is included in the form.The type-ahead filtered list on Tax Mappings was not easy to locate.
Mappings screen has a larger scroll-able area so you can see more line items.The Trial Balance has a very short scroll-able area making it difficult to discover the line items needed.


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