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REVIEW: Write-up Software 2014

Technology has made it possible for clients to access their financial data from anywhere at any time. Your clients can load an app on their phone to handle finances and help them make important decisions on the go. IMHO, that makes our profession more valuable than ever. And it makes write-up software more valuable than ever.

We do need to change to accommodate technology progress. However, this makes a great argument for turning those quarterly and yearly clients into monthly clients. As clients access data faster they can also make fatal business mistakes faster. The more contact we have with our clients and the more value we provide, the better for all involved.

This does impact the importance of the tools we use to provide monthly write-up services. As such, choosing accounting software is a bigger decision than it had been in the past. It is important to look at the program on an individual basis and make sure it fits your needs. And it is just as important now, to find out what other solutions you will need and how you can have them interact with the Write-Up software you chose.

Here is a list of the Write-Up products that were reviewed:

• Accounting Power, Accountants World
• QuickBooks Online Accountants Edition, Intuit
• Accounting CS, Thomson Reuters
•Client Accounting Suite Premier, CCH Small Firm Services
• Xero

Since technology has evolved so much, the set up of the programs are important but the differences are so minute that we chose to focus on what happens after setup . Now that you are ready to really use the program, how good is it and can it help you save time so you can add more clients or are you then stuck with a program that is a time sink. As all of us know and appreciate, time is very precious. The only way for a firm to grow and be profitable is to maximize every process as to eliminate any extra steps and allow for the least amount of time to accomplish your engagement. The wait is now over, let the review begin.

Accounting Power
Hauppauge, N.Y.
(888) 999-1366
$149 per month or $1,495 for a full year

Accounting Power
Accountants World's combines all accounting functions into one program. The cloud-based system line features bookkeeping, trial balance, after-the-fact payroll, write-up, fully customizable financial statements and comprehensive financial.

Accounting Power is designed to eliminate redundant processes. The tools in the software enable you to be a virtual CFO for their clients. The system is very easy to use so it makes setting up clients and getting them started easy to accomplish. Included in the software are client dashboards that show you what is happening with your clients at all times. You and your client can collaboration so you can work with your clients in full command, serving as a project leader and a coach.

The trial balance had a very unique feature. It had tickmarks but not the kind you would expect. Instead of your having to know that a red checkmark means it was reviewed and a red x means it needs to be reviewed, you actually can note what it is, so anyone reviewing the trial balance knows what it means. It was a refreshing feature. The system comes with many "canned" statements. Or you can fully customize them. It is very easy to use.

The integration between the other programs is something you can no longer just view as an added bonus; it is now what makes the difference between being a successful accounting practice or an accounting practice that may be unable to compete in this next decade. This software provides great tools and is worth a strong look.

QuickBooks Online Accountant
Mountain View, Calif.
(888) 666-7917
Price: $539 per year included in ProAdvisor Program memberships.

QuickBooks Online Accountant
QuickBooks Online Accountant is an excellent program for Accountants to use to work in a collaborative way with clients. I have to admit, I was very hesitant to use this program. I went in and things looked different than in the desktop version. But, thanks to some of my clients that wanted to go this way, I had to get over it.

It is a very good option. There is no more worry about which version a client is on, where is the last back up, or why did you break the accountants' link and do more data entry. Not as much customization is available yet on invoices and financials, but what you do have is a very easy to use.

This system can help you look very professional to your clients. You can set up weekly or monthly reports to automatically email to them. If you set it up, you can have bank feeds automatically enter all your data in the system. In a very quick and easy manner you can have up-to-date information. If you had invoiced a customer, as soon as the payment is deposited, you can have that pop up in the program, hit match and it is done. And frankly the price is right. In addition, QBO allows you to work with other apps to provide a wide range of services for your clients.

This system is great for you as you likely have several clients already familiar with QB and getting them to use the system effectively could be a breeze.

Accounting CS
Thomson Reuters
Dexter, Mich.
(800) 968-8900.
Price: Start at $2,950

Accounting CS
Thomson not only provides a fully functioning accounting system but a whole suite of products to make working with your clients seamless. Included is an AP/AR system that you can give your client access to work with you in a collaborative way. The client can go in and approve bills for you pay for them.

You can import information from anywhere via the use of templates and you can create templates to help you reduce rekeying data. The financial statements are very robust and you can create any statements that you would ever need. If want to set up memo accounts to create special reports for a particular industry, you can. The system's main advantage is its integration with other Thomson products.

Client Accounting Suite
CCH Small Firm Services
Rome, Ga.
(866) 345-4171
Price: $629 plus $110 online training webinar.

Client Accounting Suite
ATX offers a security-driven system. It is full service program with four modules including payables and receivable and live payroll for your clients. Process-driven, it looks like a spreadsheet to that data entry is familiar and easy. The software also has memorized transactions.

One nice feature is the credit card register. It is dedicated and allows you to pull in the statement make reconciling the accounts very easy. Bank reconciliation is also very nice and easy to use.

In fact, the entire system is easy to use, very straightforward and designed to maximize input speed. It has very nice financial statements. You can upload your logo and fully customize the statements to look as you need to have them. Many statements are prebuilt to make it easy to get started.

San Francisco, Calif.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Price: Starts at $9 per month ( unlimited users).

Xero is a new up and coming software company, which started in 2006 in New Zealand. Xero, which refers to the software as beautiful accounting software, offers a true cloud product. Since the software was designed in the cloud they have taken advantage of open source and are able to work seamlessly with many other apps that clients might need to run their business for their particular industry.

The software is very impressive. Xero has incredible bank feeds for banks and credit cards. You can set up processing rules so that when the transactions come in they go to the right place in the books, which is a huge time saver. You and your clients can collaborate. After the client comes in, you can take over or you can allow them to have access as there is an accountant's account that allows you to determine the type of user your client can be and what they can do in the software.

One of the things I really appreciated with working with Xero is how much it wants to do what they can to help you be successful. The company understands that if we as Accountants are happy, we will help it grow. Xero works with you on your goals and provides tools to help you accomplish them. There are all kinds of videos and training tools for you and your clients. The system is very easy to use, but is different in some ways so having access to the tools is very helpful.

Now is great time to figure out what product you want to use in your firm. Any of the above products would provide strong tools for you. Take a look and what works best for your firm and your product offerings! Good Luck.

Julie Lepper, EA

Julie S. Lepper, EA, MBA is the Principal of Julie S. Lepper, Accounting & Tax Service, LLC, a small local accounting firm in Pinckney, MI. She earned her Master's of Business from Eastern Michigan University and her Bachelor's of Accountancy from Walsh College in Michigan. Julie has over 16 years in consulting with client not only accounting and tax issues , but also on software and sales engagements. She specializes in focusing on start-up businesses and small to medium client needs.

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