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The shift is underway to meld document management – the traditional process of managing source documents and client files – with workflow management. The result has been a burst of innovations, updates and new entrants to the marketplace for firm management.

The result has also been a great deal of confusion in product features, pricing and development strategies. As in the early days of Windows, the move to the cloud has been firmly adopted by some companies, and given a tepid response by others.

Here's where the future appears to be for document management:

• There will be a greater effort to get client source documents into the workflow at the outset.
• Client portals, portal security and collaboration will get greater attention.
• Digital signatures from e-signature pads are a growing application, saving time in getting client and partner signatures on key documents.

Our round-up of products for 2014 contain a blend of cloud-based and desktop systems, most of which have e-signature support – and all of which combine critical workflow capabilities. The question is whether, given the overlap in the two categories, they will be addresses separately two years from now.

Doc.It Suite
Doc.It Corp.
Las Vegas, Nev.
(888) 693-6248
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.doc-it.com
Price: $35 per user per month (first 10 users); $30 per user per month (11 to 30 users); $25 per user per month (more than 31 users)>

Practice Management Workspace
Doc.It serves accounting professionals with document storage, document management, workflow and Web portal software. The suite includes an Inbox for temporary storage; scan and organize; a PDF Editor; a policy manager for uniform implementation of file names and procedures; a Workflow system for every type of engagement,

There are also Work Binders, to provide the ability to share and process the active "unpublished" documents; a Client Web Portal for folder-based views of client documents; document search; document archiving; and a report generator.

Doc.It provides three levels of cloud solutions. An On-Premise Cloud involves hosting applications on-site using the firm's equipment. An on-premise cloud solution works well for firms that have contracted IT services or traditional IT staff in-house. With a Hosted Cloud, a third-party hosts applications off-site for the firm and runs resources on the firm's behalf.

This solution works well when the firm does not have contracted IT service or traditional IT staff in-house and the firm requires ongoing support. Doc.It's team works with a firm's existing hosted cloud provider or will help a firm connect with a hosted cloud provider.

A hybrid cloud involves mixing on-premise and hosted solutions to employ a cloud solution that is best for the firm. Some firms may choose to keep select documents and run some applications on-premise, while storing or hosting others using a hosted cloud solution.

Document Manager
Drake Software
Franklin, N.C.
(800) 890-9500
www.drakesoftware.com
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Price: Drake Software Suite with Document Manager is $300 for 15 returns, with additional returns $20 each. Unlimited use (including document manager), $1,095 per year.

Document Manager
Drake Document Manager, a document storage tool integrated into the Drake Software Suite, provides document filing and retrieval functionality from within the Drake applications. The suite also offers an integrated solution for tax document automation via the GruntWorx system, as well as the SecureFilePro.com portal, and integrates with the client write-up module.

Files can be added to the application by printing with the included PDF print utility, manually adding files to the system, or by dragging and dropping items into a DDM window. The application is compatible with TWAIN compliant scanners, but does not support other scanner protocols such as ISIS.

Key features of the DDM are its customizable organization, modeled after a physical file system of cabinets, drawers and folders; import and export features, integrated email and multi-year storage capabilities.

New for 2014 is integration of a new e-Sign Application with the system. The e-Sign Application enables preparers and taxpayers to digitally sign the tax documents for an e-filed tax return, making it possible to achieve a completely paperless workflow. PDFs of the documents are created with fillable fields and stored automatically in the Document Manager (DDM) directories for the client. Partially signed docs in DDM can be opened via the e-Sign app from within the DDM.

eFileCabinet 2014
eFileCabinet
Lehi, Utah
(877) 574-5505
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.efilecabinet.com
Price: eFileCabinet Online monthly subscriptions, begin at $19.95 per month.

eFileCabinet 2014
Designed to capture, organize, index, search and secure database storage, eFileCabinet is offered in both a desktop and an online version. Other features include a compliance and regulatory tool, an advanced workflow module, an e-signature application, and web portal capabilities with the SecureDrawer application. New features in the 2014 version include improved security, document retention settings at every level, higher OCR document limits, and Microsoft Office 2013 support.

EFileCabinet Online provides all of the features of the desktop version on a monthly subscription pricing basis. Documents are stored on the web securely, enabling access and management of files from anywhere, any time. No server is required. All content is backed up automatically in state-of-the-art data centers with advanced encryption and security to protect client data.

Our data centers are Level 1 PCI compliant and have obtained ISO 27001, SAS 70 Type II and HIPAA certifications. Access is restricted by staff, intrusion detection systems and video surveillance. For maximum security, data is encrypted while being transmitted to and from data centers. Data cannot be accessed or tampered with by an unauthorized party.

Practice Management Workspace
Office Tools Professional
Palmdale, Calif.
(888) 667-8440
www.officetoolspro.com
Price: Small office, $600 per year (single concurrent user); Mid-size office, $2,900 per year (10 concurrent users). Large offices, $9,500 per year (40 concurrent users.) Includes all software updates, basic online and phone support and online user guides.

Practice Management Workspace
Practice Management Workspace from Office Tools Professional is a workflow/automation suite that combines contact management, calendaring, collaboration and task delegation, expense and billing, and tickle file in a single-screen, desktop based solution.

Practice Management Workspace integrates with Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook, addition to popular mapping programs. Reports can be exported directly to Word, Excel and all common formats. A new Microsoft Office Add-On tool bar saves Microsoft Office files directly into Practice Management. Firms can also create time cards for payroll or billing inside of Microsoft Office, and an Adobe Add-in enables printing or saving of any file in PDF format.

Other key features include contact synchronization from virtually any tax or accounting application, and direct synchronization with QuickBooks, Intuit Demandforce, Outlook and Mobile Devices. Recent enhancements include enhanced billing and reporting, faster operations, drag-and-drop document management, and better integration with the system's client portal.

New portal features portal include time card creation, client intake/check in system, and online scheduling now available via the Portal.

Workpapers CS
FileCabinet CS
GoFileRoom
Thomson Reuters
Dexter Mich.
(800) 968-8900
http://This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Price: Workpapers CS starts at $1,250 (4 network seats); Additional 4-seat bundles, $500 each. FileCabinet CS starts at $940 for the first year, $470 renewal. GoFileRoom starts at $4,205 per year (five-user license).

Thomson Reuters offers three document management products. Workpapers CS, a document management and collaboration tool, is available as either a cloud-based or local installation. It provides a single-interface, single-database structure that focused on getting source documents into the firm's workflow with no syncing, no imports, and no exports.

The key enhancement for this year is integration with Source Document Processing that enables firms to transmit client source documents for UltraTax/1040 clients directly from a Workpapers CS engagement to Source Document Processing.

FileCabinet CS is the integrated document management solution for the CS professional suite, and offers enhanced source document input, scanning and organization. Source Document Processing enables the firm to realize the efficiencies that can be wrought by either just scan and sort, or taking things to the next level and populating that data into the tax return, yielding an enormous leap in 1040 tax processing efficiency.

GoFileRoom offers sophisticated workflow technology and advanced modules that allow the accounting firm to manage every aspect of its workflow, including client interactions, internal operations, human resources, accounts payable and accounts receivable. Reflecting the need for firms to better integrate document management into their workflow is the addition of GoFileRoom Workflow Manager, a completely new workflow management system for the GoFileRoom platform. It enables firms to create sophisticated workflow arrangements that reduce turnaround times and allow administrative employees to perform more tasks.

Dave McClure

David P. McClure is a technologist and business consultant whose career has included eight years with the NASA Space Shuttle Program and assignments in marketing, environmental services, software publishing and broadband.  He founded the US Internet Industry Association, the nation's primary trade association for Internet and broadband companies.  In 2004 he was awarded a Cornerstone Award for leadership in the broadband industry.  In the same year, he was named to the Board of Directors of the Universal Service Administrative Corporation, the non-profit corporation that oversees the nation's $8 billion universal service telecommunications fund.  His areas of expertise include software management, strategic and market planning, global technology policy and technology audits.  He is the author of more than 100 white papers on business management, technology, customer service and strategic planning.

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 May 2014
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