From the July 2010 Review of Trial Balance and Engagement Management Systems.
CCH’s ProSystem fx Engagement is designed to be used as an integrated part of the vendor’s comprehensive suite of professional accounting, tax and practice management systems, providing advanced workflow tools, collaboration capabilities, automation of tasking, integration with external programs and strong oversight for audit managers. The system includes the core features found in CCH’s trial balance solution, and shares data with tax, accounting, document management and other applications.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS:
ProSystem fx Engagement is simple to setup, providing customizable engagement binder templates that are easy to work with and design workflows to meet firm and client needs. The program, along with most other applications in the ProSystem fx suite, uses an exceptionally intuitive interface that provides extensive customization options at the user level, letting users move quickly through engagement processes while working with accounts and moving between trial balance functions, including importing data from outside programs, consolidations, making adjusting entries, accessing source journals and producing reports and financials. When working with financial statements and reports, users can link directly to the trial balance, which provides the ability to quickly see the effects of changes to transactions.
Binder and Trial Balance Snapshot views are available in a shortcuts panel on the left, providing quick access to overviews, while additional links can be added as part of the customization options. An Engagements Today dashboard is also accessible. Tools are included that can help simplify first-year engagements and data acquisition and assist with grouping and sub-grouping of accounts, generating lead schedules and tax lines, rolling entire engagements forward, monitoring engagement progress, and maintaining data security.
ProSystem fx Engagement is somewhat centered around the Local File Room, which provides a Windows Explorer-style organization console that gives access to workpapers to both workers in the field and those in the office, enabling collaboration while also offering checks and tools to prevent data overwrite or errors, but without having to check out the electronic files, since this would make them inaccessible to other staff. All workpapers are efficiently organized and accessible based on user access rights, and binders can be locked after finalizing engagements. The system also provides client portal functions for sending the contents of entire binders to clients or third parties. Notes, tick marks, references and links can be included with all files, which are provided as a bookmarked and interactive PDF binder.
ProSystem fx Engagement includes a built-in reporting editor that simplifies customization and output of managerial and financial report sets, while also providing options for varying statement formats to meet client, third-party or industry requirements. The program integrates with the SaaS-based ProSystem fx Document for advanced digital management functions, including automated file retention processes, client portals and other features.
WORKFLOW & COLLABORATION:
ProSystem fx Engagement provides excellent user-based security and access features, which also serve to streamline and advance workflow processes by giving users access to only the features they need and then allowing even further customization. This provides streamlined oversight to managers, while allowing users to be more efficient. Firms can customize virtually every key element of the system, including workflow checklists. Any file type can be included as a workpaper in binders, including Word, Excel and PDFs. The binders can also be dynamically linked to client tax and other data files when using the other components of the ProSystem fx Suite. Reports and financial sets can also be output into Word or Excel for additional editing and customization.
Industry-specific checklists, audit programs, and practice aids are provided via the integrated modules Knowledge Tools and Knowledge Coach. These workpapers integrate seamlessly within the ProSystem fx Engagement environment. Knowledge Coach tailors workpapers based on the answers to interview questions, accumulates identified risks, automatically flows information between workpapers, provides a dynamic library for designing audit programs and signing off on steps, and displays pertinent diagnostics to ensure auditors sufficiently document their work. Research can be integrated using CCH’s Accounting Research Manager and IntelliConnect.
ProSystem fx Engagement seamlessly integrates with the tax, research, write-up and other programs in the suite, allowing users to quickly aggregate and move trial balance data into the engagement system, as well as to move data back out into those programs as necessary. Reports and financials can be saved to various formats, including PDF, Word and Excel, and can also be shared with clients and third parties via CCH’s portals or via email. Limited direct integration with third-party systems is available.
The program’s Help utility offers index-based assistance, while more extensive audit-based guidance can be found using the built-in Knowledge Tools and Coach modules, which provide contextual interpretive guidance and links to original pronouncements online. CCH’s website provides additional support options, including flash demos, training and consulting information, and whitepapers. Live support is included in system pricing.
SUMMARY & PRICING
CCH’s ProSystem fx Engagement provides advanced workflow and collaboration features key to modern audit engagements. Additional automation and management tools further streamline workpaper management processes. Extensive integration with other systems in the CCH ProSystem fx Suite, including the vendor’s new SaaS-based programs, provides valuable added benefit in acquiring data and maintaining accuracy. Pricing starts at about $1,400.
2010 OVERALL RATING: