2010 Review of BNA — BNA Tax and Accounting Center


BNA Software - BNA Tax and Accounting Center

BNA’s leadership in tax research can be validated by the inclusion of its research products in the research systems of all four platforms reviewed this year, including offerings from Thomson Reuters, CCH, and Intuit. Here we review BNA’s Tax & Accounting Center.

Basic System Functions: '

Analysis, primary sources and other guidance documents can be located using one of four primary methods on the BNA Tax & Accounting Center platform:

  • - A Quick Search, which locates all information on a topic in a user’s subscribed databases.
  • - An Advanced Search, which allows the scope of the search to be limited, as well as permits more complex filters such as Boolean search terms.
  • - Guided Search, which allows the user to browse through categories and topics as part of the search process.
  • - Finally, a user can enter a known citation, case, or Portfolio number in the Go To box, and be taken directly to that document.

BNA also has staff members who read the content and classify it into topical indices for each content database. Although electronic word searches may be effective for many searches, the work of its editors and authors to create these proprietary indexes makes it easier to find the best, on-point content, which is actually needed when searching for a topic as opposed to simply displaying where the search words are presented.

Content: '

BNA offers a comprehensive catalog of primary sources, including entire Internal Revenue Code, regulations, tax treaties, federal tax court cases going back to 1913, and more. The company also has an excellent library of state tax resources to assist practitioners with typical issues such as payroll and sales tax, as well as diverse business, legal and international topics such as environmental taxes, international taxation, pensions, employee benefits, and specialized industry practices and procedures.

Interpretative guidance and insight from practicing experts is available in BNA Portfolios, a series of publications that provide deep topical analysis, historical perspective and alternative approaches to transactions for of a wide range of topics, as well as links to the related primary sources and relevant guidance. Each Portfolio is authored by a practicing expert, focuses on a transaction or topic, and includes three sections:

  1. Detailed Analysis – analysis and discussion of the relevant issues as well as different scenarios associated with the topic so you and your client can make the best decision about how best to approach an issue.
  2. Working Papers – tools to assist you and your clients with effectively implementing different approaches to accounting for a topic, including checklists, publications from taxing authorities, forms of contract and illustrative language to use in agreements, as well as information from the IRS.
  3. Bibliography – Provides additional official and unofficial documents and citations that may assist the reader with additional research on the topic. Typical contents include statutes, congressional committee reports, court cases, IRS rulings and procedures, and on-point agreements, conventions and treaties.

BNA’s editors report that they have invested in the new Premier State Tax Library in 2010, which includes the Sales and Use Tax Navigator that summarizes the types of taxes levied by a jurisdiction, as well as detailed analysis and links to authoritative sources and Chart Builders, designed to create comparative charts and tables summarizing key points of tax law in various jurisdictions.

The BNA Tax & Accounting Center also features other practice tools, such as Client Development Letters, which are designed to present planning opportunities to clients and assist the practitioner’s business development to both new and existing customers.

Customization: '

The BNA Tax & Accounting Center’s user interface can be customized to meet the needs of individual users, and the home page permits users to configure key settings, including saved searches and the size of the text used throughout the service.

Integration/Import/Export: '

The products offer links from the deep, practical guidance in BNA’s Portfolios to related topics in other Portfolios as well as to primary information sources, such as the Internal Revenue Code, tax court cases, and IRS regulations and documents. BNA offers hundreds of client explanatory letters on a wide range of topics, and also offers development letters to help practitioners communicate additional engagement opportunities to new and existing clients.

Since BNA does not offer tax preparation software, there are no links to the BNA research service from within tax preparation applications, but content can be printed or output to PDFs for inclusion in a client’s file.

Help/Support: '

BNA offers a series of on-demand web-based training courses, numerous instructor-led sessions, and a series of reference cards, user guides, and quick start cards designed to help users work more efficiently. This includes cards that detail how to use BNA’s content in other research services such as Checkpoint, IntelliConnect, and Accounting Research Manager. All users will want to obtain the relevant reference cards and view the “Express Training,” which is a 30-minute recorded training session that teaches users how to navigate, search and customize the BNA Tax & Accounting Center online. BNA also offers extended product-specific training in specialized one-hour instructor-led training modules that focus on key tax and accounting products (e.g. Federal Portfolios and Tax Practice Series, State Taxes, Accounting and International Tax). These sessions can be offered via web conference or as a live, in-house CPE/CLE training session with an on-site instructor.

BNA offers users technical support via telephone, web and e-mail. One interesting service offered is e-mail access to its editors and authors so that end users can get clarifications of key points raised in a publication.

Summary & Pricing

BNA is a leading research service that includes one of the broadest and deepest collections of authoritative and interpretative guidance available for tax, accounting and legal professionals. Features such as the topical indices and integration of accounting & auditing, IRC and other primary sources, and many other topics in one interface compensate for the lack of direct integration into tax preparation software for serious researchers, and the depth of industry information available makes this offering very appealing to tax and accounting professionals who work for large companies or those who need access to regulations and guidance on special compliance and reporting requirements for various industries. Pricing varies based on product subscription and number of users, and pricing starts for under $800 for the Tax Practice Library.

2010 Overall Rating: