H&R Block logoNEW YORK - H&R Block will open a flagship office in Manhattan's Time Square this week as the tax service company begins its move into major metropolitan areas that includes selling many of its urban offices to franchisees, a move the company has said would make it better able to attract new operators who might otherwise sign up with its competitors.

The flagship store opens Thursday with the company citing plans to open nine other New York offices and the company plans to remodel 300 offices, utilizing elements of the design in the Manhattan location.

That store features a large "smart wall" which the company said guides clients through an interactive tax experience. Taxpayers can ask specific tasks questions through the smart wall via the use of touch-screen monitors and print tax tips and a tax-preparation check-off lists. There are also touch-screen kiosks via which they can provide Block with feedback about their reaction to the office.

Despite opening a few new company-owned outlets, Block has announced plans to about 300 stores to franchisees. In a December conference call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Russ Smyth said the company-owned stores have been concentrated in urban areas, which forced potential store operators to sign up with its competitors.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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