Thomson Reuters offers a suite of software products and services for tax and accounting professionals, including the Web Builder CS website building service. Thomson Reuters has offered website building services designed specifically for tax and accounting professionals for over 10 years. With more than 2,500 firms currently using Web Builder CS, Thomson Reuters has a solid presence in the accounting market, offers a steady flow of new features, and is adding new firm sites at a steady pace.
Web Builder CS is suitable for firms that want to build their own online presence, using standardized content, financial calculators, page links to commonly used external sites (e.g. tax refund tracking, IRS forms and reference material), training for existing clients, and syndicated newsletter articles from sources like PPC.
Building a site from scratch is quite easy, starting with a rich collection of templates that are professionally designed and consistently themed. From there, the customization of contact information and other resources begins, using the advanced on-screen editor and menus. Professional custom web design services are also available for a small fee.
Domain names are unique and are owned by the accounting firm. Assistance is provided for moving an existing site or in obtaining a new domain name. Support for email is complete and flexible, with provision for hosted e-mail (using POP or Microsoft Exchange) or an on-premise e-mail server. Web email service is an optional add-on, starting at five users, with an unlimited number of additions. E-mail addresses are domain specific and automatically scanned for viruses. Hosting is provided at a U.S.-based Thomson Reuters owned Tier 4 datacenter, with four redundant Internet servers. The firm can access their site statistics and customize their own meta tags for optimization with search engines.
Content is an important aspect of presenting a website that has depth, credibility and usefulness to a firm’s existing and prospective clients. Web Builder CS provides a wide selection of appropriate and relevant syndicated content. Refund tracking, calendars and calculators are available to flesh out the website. An available stock ticker can track up to 25 stocks or indices. The Forefield Knowledge Trust content offers more than 300 financial and tax-related articles, more than 500 frequently asked questions, and more than 200 interactive tools, all available for no extra cost.
Customized client portals for remote data entry and secure file exchange are available as an integrated extension to a firm’s website, but these are provided by an optional, separately priced product not reviewed here. The entire Thomson Reuters line of applications for practitioners and clients is available using a software as a service (SaaS) model, with direct access provided through a login located on a firm’s Web Builder CS site. The client portals and hosted applications are an integral part of the Thomson Reuters strategy to simplify the work of tax and accounting practitioners by offering software accessible from anywhere, which reduces or eliminates the need for anyone to enter information a second time into databases. This strategy makes a firm’s website the center of its interaction with prospective clients and recruits as well as partners, current clients and staff.
The base offering has a monthly cost of $65 per month, plus an initial set up charge of $350. An attractive suite of optional services and add-ons such as tax alerts and advanced newsletters are available for nominal costs. Overall, Web Builder CS is a solid offering, suitable for firms of all sizes and competitively priced. Visit CS.ThomsonReuters.com/web-builder for a complete view of all of the features and options.