The folks at the CCH division of Wolters Kluwer have been busy working on bringing their Next Generation suite of accounting and tax applications to market, with a focus on a SaaS (Software as a Service) deployment model. This is an appropriate strategy since web-hosted applications delivered through a SaaS model is the biggest transformation in information technology to take place since the move from DOS to Windows.
ProSystem fx Document (SaaS) is one of five CCH solutions — along with Tax, Practice, Workstream, and Portal — to be delivered in this platform and has been on the market since October 2009. One of the most important features of this new solution is that it is designed to be scalable for use in a small firm all the way up to a Top 100 firm. That is one of the key value propositions of the SaaS delivery model.
Core Product Features & Functions
The user interface has been designed based on Microsoft standards, which provides for a familiar navigation experience. A navigation panel similar to Outlook appears along the left side of the screen. Here you can choose to search documents by client, staff or office … or display a list of your designated favorites. A ribbon of functions appears along the top of the window with the option to add files, search documents, generate reports and more. The right-click menu is context sensitive based upon the area of the system in which you’re currently working.
The current version does not offer a PDF print driver. However, that feature is scheduled for release this summer. A number of management reports are available, including various auditing reports and document listings organized by class/sub-class and by expiration date. OCR functionality is provided through the ProSystem fx Scan module, which is sold separately. 4.25
Integration with the SaaS suite of ProSystem fx applications is facilitated through the use of a smart client, which resides on the local PC. ProSystem fx Tax will print the return directly to Document. One of the cornerstones of the Next Generation platform is the ability to share a common client database. Therefore, Document draws from that common database, eliminating redundant client entry and synchronization challenges.
Email integration with Outlook is enhanced with an auto encryption feature that encrypts the document file attachments and sends a separate email with the encryption key to enable the recipient to de-crypt the files.
The new ProSystem fx Workstream (SaaS) application is designed to offer a firm-wide engagement workflow solution. It is fully integrated with ProSystem fx Practice (SaaS), Tax (SaaS) and Document (SaaS), which enhances your ability to have a truly paperless workflow. 4.75
The system is designed from the ground to be delivered through a web-hosted SaaS model. This product is not currently available as an on-premise solution. For that, you will need to purchase the original program, which is labeled as ProSystem fx Document (not reviewed here).
The new ProSystem fx Portal (SaaS) solution is fully integrated with Document (SaaS). Documents can be published to the portal with minimal keystrokes and can be posted as view-only or in a collaborative format to allow clients to edit the document. A visual icon on the document hit list identifies documents that are currently posted to the portal. 5
Document (SaaS) security can be set based on roles, as well as at the document level. A check-out feature controls access to documents currently being edited. Versioning can be activated to save multiple iterations of a file. Document (SaaS) retention periods can be established at the class/sub-class level, and a pre-purge report based on expiration date can be printed at anytime. 4.75
Summary & Pricing
I really like the direction that CCH is taking with its Next Generation platform. In my opinion, this is how software applications should be designed and deployed based upon today’s software technology. One of the most significant advantages of the new SaaS platform is that it makes the CCH suite of products a more viable alternative for the small firm by eliminating the costs and challenges of managing an on-premise network infrastructure to support the applications.
Pricing for ProSystem fx Document (SaaS) uses a tiered pricing model starting at $650 per user, per year for the first 10 users and declines to $423 per user when you reach 100 users.
2010 Overall Rating 4.75