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REVIEW: Fixed Asset Software 2014

Fixed asset management software is not typically the most exciting software for accountants and tax professionals. However, with all the recent regulations changes it makes having an easy to use and well thought out depreciation program more valuable and exciting than in the past. Due to the many changes in capitalization and repairs, Excel spreadsheets really don't work well anymore.

Every time there is a change, we must understand it and find ways to make the most of the changes for all our clients. Having a solid fixed asset program will help with tax issues. A solid fixed asset program also can help you with disaster recovery. Imagine that your client had some kind of horrible event, be a fire or a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado. How nice would be it be if you could help make that situation a little better by being able to give them a list of the assets they just lost so they can collect insurance and start to build their business back up? Now that is being a good business partner.

In this review we are looking at the top four programs on the market. You would do well to use any of the products. They all use the spreadsheet based model as they are aware of what was and is still being used in many accounting firms. They will all allow you to quickly pull in your spreadsheet to their programs to get you up and running quickly. All programs do have a high price to use them and they are worth every dollar.

Here is a list of the Fixed Asset products that were reviewed:
• Fixed Asset CS, Thomson Reuters
• ProSystemsfx Fixed Assets, Wolters Kluwer CCH
• Fixed Assets, Intuit
• Fixed Asset Web, BNA

When it comes to software, every person has his/her own preference of what they like or do not like. 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 so as to eliminate any extra steps and allow for the least amount of time to accomplish your engagement. Let's take now take a look at the software.

Fixed Assets CS
Dexter, Mich.
(800) (968-8900)
Price: Starts at $1,500.

Fixed Assets CS
Fixed Assets CS, an excellent choice for any firm, is fully integrated with Accounting CS, Ultra Tax CS and Write-up CS. By integration we mean the data is in all programs by using the same client name. The software is extremely easy to use.

Highly flexible, it has everything you would need to properly calculate depreciation and amortization. It even allows you to create your calculations if you want/need it. One of the best features is that you can scan assets with the barcoder. You can then use the system as an inventory managing system by scanning the assets on the spot with a hand-held scanner.

Integration between the tax and depreciation programs is seamless. In fact, the two applications share the files so there is no need to do anything but open up the program. Further, you can create custom report profiles—the ability to save frequently used reports--in the depreciation program that are also available in tax. Another important feature absent in the other programs is built-in personal property tax forms.

Reports are truly flexible. You can use those already in the program or you can create any you want. If you need a report with a different calculation, you can easily create it, as well as producing charts and graphs to visually show your clients their assets by any valuation you desire. The wizard makes adding assets so easy. You pick the type of asset and the system automates the method and life and see how prior, current or future depreciation was calculated.

From the start you. can create templates that allow you to create standards so you can add assets quickly and easily. Even better is that templates can be used to update all the current assets. In most other programs you would have to manually update the assets. While data flows to tax programs in many other products, this data this offering doesn't just flow, it shares the same file so the data is already in the tax program.

Fixed Assets CS is a very good as a standalone program and even better if you have other products in the Thomson Suite. It is worth your time to review this program in detail.

ProSystem fx Fixed Assets
Wolters Kluwer CCH
Riverwoods, Ill.
(800) 739-9998
Price: starts at $2,500.

ProSystem fx Fixed Assets
Integration is key for ProSystem fx Fixed Assets software another great element in the CCH product suite. For me, the integration is key. This application integrates with ProSystem fx Engagement and ProSystem fx Tax.

It is so much easier to add on a product if you already know how the programs work. The really nice thing about the way these products integrate is that there is a drop-down right in the program that shows your client's name, a little thing that saves a ton of time. By having your list, you are assured that you have things set up properly so the integration is easy. This is a huge timesaver.

Reports are easy to work with and can be tailored to your needs. You can run projections of asset sales to help your clients make better financial decisions. Then you can save your reports in the client's engagement binder. You can send the reports as a PDF, Excel or Word document.

There are features that allow you to create any calculation that you might need and the system also allows you to set security on who can add that feature to client notes. If you are looking for an easy to use program that will allow you to manage clients' assets with less time, this program is worth a trial. CCH has years of history and experience behind their products and they are known for their excellent support and training. Although with all the features and ease of use, you really only need support and training to perfect your processes.

Fixed Asset Web
BloombergBNA Software
Arlington, Va.
(800) 424-2938
Price: Starts at $2,888, Fixed Assets Web; $3,100. desktop version.

Fixed Asset Web
BNA Fixed Assets enables tax and accounting professionals in companies of any size to gain a solid foundation for all fixed assets and depreciation management. Processes are automated, compliance with frequently changing GAAP and tax regulations, such as those impacting tangible property, are automatically enforced, management is streamlined, and comprehensive reporting delivers the insight you need to make informed management decisions.

In the next month, Bloomberg BNA is are going to introduce a new user interface. The interface will given updated with more modern and common features such as the ability to hyperlink an asset, the use of the configuration gear and the use of screen lists.

One great new item add this year is the ability to track the repair of assets. Other systems may have also handle this. But BNA added this to comply with the new regulations on repairs. The system allows you to link the repairs ( the child) to the original asset (the parent) in order to track the asset. This method means disposal of assets can be accomplished with ease, and more important, correctly. As usual, BNA is on top of ensuring this product remains a leader.

With Fixed Asset Web, a very impressive program, there is no limit to what can be done with this program. If you have a client that has several separate entities but needs to have them consolidated into one, this program handles it with ease. You can keep entities separate and through a consolidation feature, you can combine them all into one and do all the reporting you need.

The system offers role-based security and you can set up policies for assets. For larger clients, there are power tools to help manage the data more effectively. You can set up templates for industries. The system allows for the import of your general ledger chart of accounts to map assets accordingly. This improves the time required for reconciliation against the general ledger. The program handles multiple currencies. You can build assets and use Construction in Progress. This is a high-quality, easy-to-use program that can do it all.

If you have any clients affected new fixed asset regulations, you want to take a strong look at this program. It gives you the ability to confidently handle your asset management.

Fixed Asset Manager
Mountain View, Calif.
(800) 236-9501
Price: Included in QuickBooks Pro Accountant

Fixed Asset Manager
Intuit does a nice job of providing QuickBooks users and ProSeries users with a great way to manage their assets. Again, integration is key. With the fixed asset program as part of your accounting system, it simplifies not just entering assets but also managing them. As with other programs in this review, you can import assets from a CSV file. When you get started in the module you can go through the start-up wizard, which has a sample CSV file that you can modify to make importing assets a breeze.

The software allows you to create groups. You can group by location, vendor, manufacturer or anything you desire. If you think about how you will use the assets and set it up properly from the beginning you will be able to pull reports that will aid you in assisting your clients in good financial decisions.

You have the ability to query anything you want to see. You can enter the general ledger account number so that it can set up the deprecation journal entry for you. You can do projections and enter notes specific for each individual client. You can also set up a calendar to remind you for fixed-asset-related tasks. You can do mass dispositions. You can do mass assign assets to groups or general ledger accounts.

If you are using other Intuit products already, you will want to review this option for asset management. And the price is definitely right if you are a QuickBooks Pro Advisor or a QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions user. It is an excellent product.

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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