CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business - ProSystem fx Practice Management
From the August 2010 Review of Practice Management Systems
CCH offers a broad suite of applications for professional accountants, from fully integrated client service programs for tax compliance, asset management, tax planning, trial balance and write-up, to systems designed for internal firm management of engagement processes, paperless document management, tax workflow, research and audit tools, as well as the core ProSystem fx Practice Management program reviewed here. Late last year, CCH introduced a new SaaS platform, its “Next Generation” version of the ProSystem fx Suite, which provides hosted versions of the vendor’s integrated tax compliance, document management, practice management, client portals and workflow management systems. The SaaS version of the practice management system, titled ProSystem fx Practice, incorporates Smart Client features and hosted benefits with reduced IT and infrastructure requirements. This review primarily focuses on the installed version, but also points out some of the comparative features in the Next Generation SaaS version.
Basic System Functions:
ProSystem fx Practice Management is a comprehensive practice management program, with built-in advanced time and billing capabilities and accounts receivables management, contact management/CRM functions, calendaring, analysis, project management and extensive client communication and workflow tools. With a SQL Server based backend, the program offers deep database capabilities and the ability to scale to the needs of virtually any size accounting practice.
The program also offers numerous additional features, including alerts for deadlines, client WIP limits and past due receivables.
Core program features, such as schedule management and time entry, are performed on intuitive work screens that provide drop-down menus, links as well as the ability to easily duplicate tasks.
Time Management Capabilities:
Whether a firm is billing by hourly rates or on a value-based, fixed fee model, time management and tracking are often key to measuring productivity across multiple levels, including individual staff, clients, tasking and the firm as a whole. Time entry can be performed in multiple ways in ProSystem fx Practice Management, with spreadsheet views providing selection lists for clients, tasks, calendars and other data entry.
The optional CCH Coolbar also gives integration with Microsoft Office products (including Outlook), providing a tool that appears within those programs, for accessing real-time views of client information pulled from ProSystem fx Practice Management. Tasks from the Outlook Calendar can also be easily turned into timesheets, streamlining entry and client contact management and helping to ensure accurate data by providing a unified work environment. The system’s workflow includes multi-tier time and expense sign-offs, including e-mail based routing of approvals.
Project management tools include due date management, project budgeting, budget-to-actual comparisons, and the ability to assign staff to projects. Client contact management features offer utilities for tracking multiple contacts at clients, business affiliates, prospects and leads, including functions for marketing and analyzing new client wins. ProSystem fx Practice Management includes payroll setup functions to provide an export of staff payroll hours and offers tracking of paid time off and other benefits, along with the ability to track CPE credits.
Invoicing functions are among the core management functions of ProSystem fx Practice Management, with simplified processes for performing client billing, along with options for assigning billing statuses on a per-client basis, project-based billing, WIPs, budget-based billing, and access to historical transactions. Flat-fee recurring invoices, such as monthly service fees, can be generated on a batch basis.