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Christina Kellerhals, Thomson ReutersShould anyone be surprised that one of the biggest trends in document management is the addition of mobile features? Not anyone who has travelled to a conference or read the unending stream of news articles about mobile capabilities.

Players in the tax and accounting market are addressing the demand for professionals to be able to access documents via smartphones and tables and not only access them, but to be able to send them to staff and clients.

Cabinet President Andrew Bailey says his company's next release of Cabinet Share supports the Apple iPad tablet natively. And the work that was done to architect the Share application for the Apple device "is going to pay dividends down because users will be able to access our application from virtually of any type of device," he says. "That is where the world is going."

Similarly, CCH is soon to release a mobile application that supports its ProSystem fx Document and the rest of the ProSystem suite. John Barnes, product manager for workflow solutions, said the CCH product will enable users to manage documents, being able to perform such functions as publishing them to ProSystem fx Portal. The company will start by making the software available for the iPhone and Android devices.

At its software users' conference last week, Thomson Reuters announced NetClient Mobile CS, which gives clients access to documents such as tax returns and financial statements, and which can provide functions that involve a lot more than document management.

But before anyone thinks the entire world of tax and accounting professionals is automatically moving to these digital tools for all facets of their business, consider "The Pulse", an opinion survey conducted on the Thomson Reuter website for its CS Professional and Enterprise suites. Asked about their prepared method of collecting source documents from clients prior to preparing a return, 35.7 percent of responders picked client drop off at the firm, 30.4 percent said face-to-face meetings while clients portals came in third at 17.9 percent, ahead of United State mail at 12.5 percent

Of course, there are capabilities beyond mobile. And for companies with product suites that includes increasing integration between document management and other applications in their product lines.

SmartVault, whose application integrates with QuickBooks, is getting ready to release a feature that will enable users to preview 20 document types, including all Microsoft documents, which have been posted to a portal.

"If a file is uploaded, instead of having to download it, the system will take you to preview," says CEO Eric Pulaski. That eliminates the need for users to download files simply to read them and having to delete files that they don't want "especially confidential documents," he notes.
The company has also completed its integration with QuickBooks Online. That lets those users attach documents built inside the Intuit product via SmartVault's recently patented tool bar. That functionality was already available for use with QuickBooks desktop versions.

Additionally, security has been fine tuned to provide more control over which documents individuals can access. For example, "In QuickBooks, you can say certain people can see invoices, but not payroll transactions," he continues.

CCH's Barnes says his company has put a major emphasis in Document on doing "things our clients say they want us to do to make it easier to use." That includes making it easier to move data from applications such as document to other ProSystem modules and being able to perform such tasks and dragging and dropping documents or files from one application to another.

That will occur with the Workstream workflow application via a link built into Workstream. Users have the ability move invoices from ProSystem fx Practice to the document management product and publish them to the portal. That's coming in a product release later this year. Also for delivery soon is a version for Canada that can support English and French. Barnes said the application can handle the French language and unique French alphabet characters.

Thomson Reuters is automating a task within FileCabinet CS, one of its two document management system, that users are very interested in having made easier. And that is providing a better way of capturing what is delivered in the client copy of the tax return, says Christian Kellerhals, product manager for web services and mobile products.

That means when a return is published, the system will now automatically, "take out things you are not going to hand to your client, such as the diagnostics", she said. "But you still see everything the preparer might want" and that will be true whether the return is published to the web, printed or delivered via email. That selection is being accomplished by behind-the-scenes document recognition technology.

Documents that are exported to FileCabinet from other modules in the CS suite can also now be organized in different ways. Previously, even though documents might be in different folders in other applications, once they were imported into FileCabinet, they were sorted only by date. They can now be organized by folders.

For GoFileRoom, Thomson has significantly increased template recognition in what Kellerhals described as a total upgrade to that web-based application. Users will also be able to access other documents from within GoFileRoom and FirmFlow for documents created via SurePrep. There will be a button in FirmFlow that enables SurePrep documents to be opened without exiting the Thomson product. Security has also been given "a lot more granularity," Kellerhals says. "We were getting requests for some pretty sophisticated document level security."

Cabinet is also introducing the ability to open applications within Share so that they don't have to leave the document management system."That can get kind of crazy because you skip from one app to another," Bailey says. At the start, the iPad application will be able to open PDF documents.

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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