Inspiration

In the 2018 edition of the "Robot Almanac" I contributed a piece describing how every Facebook messenger bot should become an Alexa voice bot. The hypothetical example I used was a voice only based tax service. To my surprise, one year later, no such service truly exists.

Around the same time that I saw the Devpost email about the ISP Hackathon, a CPA I know was lamenting how peers were literally walking away from hundreds of small business clients because they couldn't afford to give them quality face to face service at prices sole proprietors could afford.

I took that as a sign that I should dedicate a weekend or two to writing the first version of TaxRacer for Alexa.

What it does

Small business taxes cost too much to prepare. TaxRacer kills tax drag by turning tax filings into rocket fuel that grows your sales and cashflow—"e-racing" tax.

You’ll save up to 50% off tax preparation if you talk to Alexa instead of a human and upload your documents using Facebook messenger.

It's the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to get sole proprietor small business taxes done.

Just say, "Alexa, open Tax Racer!” to get started.

How I built it

The user voice experience was designed to be as easy as possible, consisting of a very easy to complete quiz that determines if the current iteration of Tax Racer is a perfect fit with the small business owner taking the quiz.

In other training skills I've developed previously, I've found that including a mnemonic, memory peg or clue is a very powerful way to inspire users to think of a topic long after they've completed using an Alexa Skill.

What I learned

Skills are super easy to build, but integrating payments the right way require more CX thought than coding.

Challenges I ran into

Just keeping it as simple as possible while making sure users had all the facts.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

This is the first all voice / all bot tax preparation service ever for small businesses. It will let them keep more money to grow their businesses. That makes me happy to have spent the time following through on this.

What I learned

What's next for TaxRacer

We've contracted with CPAs using self executing contracts tied to custom Alexa skills so as soon as the skill is certified we will be saving real business owners real cash using Alexa.

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