•The Budget Quandary. The computer systems used by regulatory agencies are already a mess – under-specified, insecure and largely based on obsolete technologies. This situation will grow worse, not better, as governments at every level tighten their belts in an effort to regain some semblance of fiscal balance. As this happens, the agencies will seek to shift the burden of records retention and reporting onto private organizations – to a level much greater than what is seen today. Expect new legislation mandating standardization of records and expanded storage and retrieval requirements.
•A rise in eDiscovery. Lawsuits today are increasingly dependent on eDiscovery – the use of electronic documentation such as email and electronic documents. As businesses move to document management and archiving solutions, this demand will grow – bringing with it evolutions in search and retrieval systems as well.
•Diversification in End User Needs. To date, document management has been a straight-forward process of scanning or capturing documents in an electronic format – generally Adobe’s PDF – and managing the system for effective retrieval or archiving. But increasingly, companies are demanding higher levels of security for this information, with the ability to assign security rights to different members of the firm at different levels. They want more content management functionality, including the ability to transparently offer documents on a web site or portal. And they want tighter integration with ECM applications, particularly in terms of collaboration and workflow management.
•Increasing Competition. In the past few years, consolidation has been the dominant marketplace trend, as startups in the DM space have been acquired or have failed to capture sufficient market share to survive. But as is often the case, these pioneers have proven the market’s value, and more established companies are moving in. Microsoft is beginning to push SharePoint as a solution. Oracle is beefing up its capabilities. Hewlett-Packard is trying to carve a niche for itself. And don’t count out the dominant accounting software firms, already in this space and looking to grow.
Against this background and forecast, we surveyed the top seven vendors serving the needs of accounting firms and their clients with an eye toward how they are evolving to meet the future.
(256) 258-0460 or (800) 621-6501
(866) 935-2334 Fax
Price: Software purchase: $495- $1,395 per user (local server); Software subscription: $50-75 per user per month (hosted server)
Cabinet NG's CNG-Safe (Shared Access Filing Environment) is a client-server system designed to automate workflow processes for accounting, tax and financial planning/wealth management.
Cabinet NG has made a concerted effort to target accounting and financial services firms, providing a system that mimics the familiar physical filing environment. The concept of CNG-SAFE is a repository containing Cabinets, within Cabinets there are Folders. Each folder contains Tabs where all documents reside, regardless of their format or function. This structure eliminates theinefficiency of multiple clicks to drill into a folder-sub-folder structure to get to a document.
This product incorporates powerful workflow capabilities as part of the core product. Workflow can be performed manually or based on business rules defined in SAFE and provides alert and escalation automation as well as reporting and management to monitor and control processes. The system also provides for built-in scheduling and action alerts.
Enhancements in version 7.0 include integrated batch scanning; the use of bookmarks for instant access from the dashboard; scheduling of any item in a cabinet, folder or document; improved integration with 3rd party applications such as Tax, and other accounting packages so users can file and access documents from within a single application; and a speed bar to drag and drop documents onto buttons for common task such as emailing, exporting, printing and routing.
Cabinet NG aligns document and contact management through its scheduling capability, making it an industry first with scheduling, workflow and document management in one, core package.
Doc.It Suite 3.4
Las Vegas Nev.
(888) MYDOCIT (693-6248) Phone/Fax
Price: Monthly subscription fee ranges from $25.00 to $35.00 per user per month, paid quarterly.
Doc.It Suite 3.4
Doc.It Suite, an archiving, work-in-progress, workflow management, and client portal system, aims to enhance performance and efficiency for firms with as few as three employees but scaling upward to mid-range and larger accounting operations.
The suite includes Doc.It DM, a firm-wide electronic document archiving platform for public accounting practices; Doc.It Workflow, to allow firms to track and manage any type of project and provides "load balancing" for tax engagements; Doc.It Work-in-Progress (WIP) Binder, to provide the ability to share and process the active "unpublished" documents within the security of the Doc.It DM environment; and a Client Web Portal for folder-based views of client documents.
The suite also includes a PDF Editor, Composer, and Printer; Scan and OCR; Advanced Forms Recognition; a Binder (to electronically replicate paper file folder tree structure); Integration with tax and accounting software; and archiving. Version 3.4 was released in November of 2010, and provides enhancements to the suite.
Doc.It is straightforward for its ability to capture, convert and archive any paper, fax, email, or electronic document into PDF format. It delivers document management services in a manner that will appeal to firms of all sizes.
(734) 426-3750 Fax
Price: Starts at $1,500, annual renewable license.
FileCabinet CS is a software solution for the electronic storage, organization and retrieval of many types of documents and document formats. While it is specifically intended to integrate with Thomson Reuters and Microsoft Office applications, FileCabinet functions well with most other Windows applications.
The product's features are designed to acquire, organize, display, print and email documents. One such feature is the Source Document module, which enables electronic source documents and other information to convey into the work flow. This Source Document processing capability includes OCR processing functions that allow users to scan client source materials and transmit them to secure data centers, where the documents are turned into PDF files and labeled and grouped by form type.
Designed to serve both large and small professional offices, the application accommodates network configurations for office use, and can also be run in sophisticated Terminal Server environments, allowing your firm to support remote employees and multiple branches. For the mobile professional, FileCabinet CS also runs well on laptop computers used for personal use and travel.
FileCabinet CS offers a strong platform that integrates well with Windows applications, MS Outlook and MS Office, and is particularly useful as a scan-and-OCR solution for smaller firms. It provides specific synergies to firms using the CS Professional Suite and Enterprise Suite, where it facilitates the recognition of clients, application types, document types and time periods for appropriate filing and management.
(734) 426-4109 (fax)
Price: Starts at $3,950 per year for a five-user license including FirmFlow workflow module.
GoFileRoom, with its family of modular workflow solutions, provides a complete document and workflow management system tailored to accounting, wealth management and financial planning. Physical papers such as client input sheets are scanned and stored in PDF format via a ScanFlow program.
FirmFlow workflows can be used to standardize business processes and provide real-time reporting. ClientFlow can provide a secure and convenient way to collaborate with the firm’s clients. Additionally, RecordsFlow can ensure that proper document archival and purging occurs in a timely manner for liability purposes.
September of 2010 saw an upgrade to GoFileRoom that added a new homepage-style interface, allowing users to customize the display of information, and a new notification module that intelligently monitors the firm’s workflow, allowing firm managers to create rules and reminders to more effectively manage workflow, staff utilization, and overall firm productivity more effectively.
Sporting desktop productivity tools that include GoFileRoom QuickLaunch and Control Panel, ThomsonReuters has put serious muscle behind an already formidable workflow management system. Its ability to work with competitive accounting systems and its modular approach to workflow make GoFileRoom both different from other products and more appealing for today's accounting environment.
Intuit Document Management Systems
Mountain View, Calif.
Price: ProSeries DMS is $450. Lacerte DMS Productivity Plus Bundle, ncludes Lacerte Tax Analyzer and Lacerte Tax Planner for $249.
Intuit Document Management Systems
Intuit offers Document Management Systems for each of its major tax preparation platforms. Lacerte DMS is a very functional and straightforward document archiving and retrieval system with capabilities for security, search and backup of files. ProSeries DMS provides similar functionality as an integrated add-on solution to the Tax Professional Series or as a stand-alone solution.
Both offer built-in, seamless integration with their respective tax systems. Firms can store and retrieve any type of client information electronically – tax returns, source documents, emails, and spreadsheets, from virtually any application such as Excel, Word and Outlook. In addition, this information can be easily edited, emailed, or faxed directly from DMS.
The Intuit DMS products are easy to learn and to use, and offer tangible benefits to firms in the form of both direct savings and enhanced document flow. Recent enhancements include ability to drag and drop emails and attachments directly from Outlook into DMS. Also, when setting up folder templates for the current tax year, users can cut, copy, and paste folders from the previous tax year for faster setup. And performance has been enhanced to reduce time for document scanning, storage, retrieval and viewing.
ProSystem fx Document 4.0 SaaS
Intuit’s DMS products provide a practical and economical introduction to document management for smaller accounting firms, providing excellent capabilities as well for tax preparation services and small businesses.
ProSystem fx Document 4.0 SaaS
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
Price: Annual subscription starts at $689 per user.
CCH has developed a new and more dynamic Document Management System as part of the ProSystem fx Next Generation Suite, integrating smoothly with ProSystem fx Tax, Practice, Workstream, and Portal, as well as the Microsoft Office Suite. The Suite uses a common Administration Module and Common Client Database.
Developed using Windows Presentation Foundation, the CCH Document SaaS utilizes Microsoft standards for consistent functionality and provides an Outlook-like search capability. It can be deployed either as a hosted SaaS solution or as a traditional, on-premise, server-based deployment.
ProSystem fx Document (SaaS) helps firms manage and stores electronic work papers, binders, client source documents, financial statements, human resources data files, back-office documentation, as well as provides secures client collaboration through tight integration with ProSystem fx Portal. Collaboration with clients is provided via a simple bi-directional, publish to Portal, functionality from within ProSystem fx Document.
The latest update to the firm-hosted version of ProSystem fx Document will be released later this summer. This much anticipated release delivers the same exciting features currently available in ProSystem fx Document (SaaS) to the on-premise or firm-hosted version of the product. For existing firm-hosted ProSystem fx Document customers, this release is included as a part of their normal maintenance update.
CCH continues to meld document management, workflow and compliance into a single, well-integrated platform, and then extended that platform into a first-rate SaaS implementation. Its rich feature set, tight integration and flexibility make this product a must-have addition for firms using ProSystem fx applications.
Price: Fom $19 to $69 per month; 10-percent discount for annual billing.
SmartVault is a web-based service that enables accounting professionals to securely store and share documents. Regardless of the native application in which the document was created. With the release of SmartVault's SDK, application developers have the tools to seamlessly integrate document management and file sharing capabilities into their applications as well as build new applications on the SmartVault document management platform.
This positions SmartVault to be the “Switzerland” of document storage, so that no matter what application or device is being used, the end user has a single, common back-end document repository. The benefit to the customer is central online document storage.
Recent enhancements to the service include a simplified files and folders view, in addition to the administrative view; an easy copy/send link to send document links directly and securely from the web portal via a personalized email or embedded within an email client; and new user activity logs.
SmartVault fills a niche with a strong set of features. SmartVault allows firms to create a custom branded client portal to securely share and exchange files. Clients can easily upload files or browse, open, and download folders they have been authorized to access — all within a very easy to use, "no training required" interface.