Wizeline Partners With Tax Lab, Inc. to Simplify Bookkeeping and Taxes for SMBs
- Wizeline worked with Tax Lab, Inc. out of Southern California to build ThynkBooks, a platform that downloads, analyzes, and sorts transactions and helps companies complete their bookkeeping requirements.
- Initial testing showed that the software reduced the time spent completing tax forms from an average of 14 hours to 20 minutes
- The solution is built to increase efficiency for SMBs
- The ThynkBooks AI was found to be 92% accurate in correctly classifying transactions
Bismark Tax is tax firm that specializes in tax controversy for small and medium-sized business in the U.S. Every year, the tax firm helps its clients sift through mountains of receipts and paperwork, trying to account for every transaction with the same pain that most individuals dread every tax season.
Many SMBs prepare their own taxes with accounting software such as Quickbooks and only hire bookkeepers and accounts as needed. “You’d be surprised that someone generating $2M a year, time and time again, doesn’t have an accounting system. They just go off their bank statements,” said CEO and Founder, Isai Cortez. “There’s also a lot of disparity between Quickbooks, bookkeepers, and the taxpayer. My clients find themselves in a conundrum where no one knows where a number came from, and they have to manually recreate what the bookkeeping should have looked like.”
The opportunity to create Tax Lab, Inc.
Bismark Tax wanted to simplify bookkeeping to tax preparation for its clients by building a software solution that could download financial transactions, itemize income and expenses, calculate profits and losses, and complete tax forms. This would, in turn, make the bookkeeping easier for SMB.
Isai Cortez created Tax Lab, Inc. to solve the problem he saw time and time again working as a tax lawyer at Bismark Tax.
“We’ve streamlined the process so when your bookkeeping is done, your taxes are done.
When you use something like QuickBooks, you start with the general ledger. We have fragmented the general ledger and we all start at different places depending on the tax form you file. We’re going to make the categories match your tax return.”
Cortez had not previously worked with a product development company. He was at a conference on business and social impact in Bangkok when he met a data scientist and became encouraged that the product was tangible. “There are so many bookkeeping software programs. I wanted to build something that was easy to understand.”
In his search for data scientists, Cortez encountered what many companies do, a shortage of specialized technical skills. Data science and data engineering are growing and specialized tracks within software engineering. Cortez knew he needed data scientists to build his platform and was willing to hire from outside his region to find the right team. Through networking, Cortez discovered that Wizeline and its engineering and data teams offered the mix of specialized skills he needed.
Wizeline’s data team thrives on a challenge. They help clients extract value from their data, no matter how messy it gets—and Tax Lab, Inc. presented the perfect challenge.
Building an AI-powered solution
Wizeline kicked off the project with a user experience workshop to explore the solution and align on the end goal. Through brainstorming, user mapping, and design thinking exercises, the team created a product roadmap. The goal was to build an online platform that could link to financial transactions, and sort and classify expenses using artificial intelligence. The platform would be used to complete bookkeeping systems that match five different tax forms, including Schedule C, Schedule E, Form 1120, Form 1120S, and Form 1065.
The complexity of the project required a team with specialized skills—a platform architect, a UX designer, as well as data, frontend, and backend engineers knowledgeable in AI and data management. The team divided the project into five phases.
First phase: Develop UX mockup
Second phase: Write code for the platform’s different functions
Third phase: Build a minimum viable product (MVP)
Fourth phase: Integrate with Stripe to support customer payments
Fifth phase: Refine the platform’s UX and functions
Bringing ThynkBooks to life
The project team was invested in delivering a powerful and compelling end product for Tax Lab, Inc. The project was delivered successfully after six months. Cortez noted that he was not only impressed by Wizeline’s development capabilities but also the level of customer service that it provided. The team consistently looked for ways to improve the product and added enhancements and functionality to the platform, even if they were not part of the original scope.
ThynkBooks is undergoing testing and final review. During an initial test, Tax Lab, Inc. completed tax preparation forms for one of its clients. It used to take 14 hours to compile financial statements, classify transactions, and complete the necessary tax forms. The ThynkBooks software completed the same task in just 20 minutes. “It was like witchcraft. They couldn’t believe how fast we were able to achieve this result,” said Cortez. After reviewing the platform’s output, Tax Lab, Inc. found the ThynkBooks AI to be 92% accurate in correctly classifying the transactions. Tax Lab, Inc. has plans for a soft launch of ThynkBooks in late 2019.