Review of ProSystem fx Document SaaS - 2011

 

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business - ProSystem fx Document SaaS
800-739-9998
www.cchgroup.com

 

From the June 2011 Review of Document Management Systems

Best Firm Fit:
One of the advantages of a SaaS distribution model is that it is less expensive to deploy for smaller organizations because the infrastructure is outsourced and provided through an affordable shared services model. Therefore, ProSystem fx Document SaaS can be deployed in nearly any size firm. The firms that will benefit the most are those that use the entire ProSystem fx Suite of applications.

Core Product Functions/Features:
In 2009, CCH released ProSystem fx Document SaaS (Software as a Service) as a 100% cloud computing solution that is accessed using only a Web browser. This was a bold step that required essentially re-developing the application from the ground up. Two years later, Document has evolved to be a very comprehensive solution that offers an intuitive navigation interface.

The home screen includes three basic tabs: Outlook, Documents and Assignments. The Outlook tab acknowledges the fact that nearly every accounting firm has standardized on Microsoft Outlook for managing e-mail, appointments and contacts. CCH has embedded a direct interface to Microsoft Outlook from within ProSystem fx Document, and users can do most Outlook data entry and retrieval from within Document.

  Strengths:

  • SaaS platform helps simplify the deployment of the application & provides anytime, anywhere access to documents “out of the box.”
  • Integration with ProSystem fx Workstream, ProSystem fx Scan & ProSystem fx Portal to implement an integrated digital document processing life cycle.
  • Common client database with other ProSystem fx applications eliminates redundant client setup
  • Single sign-on allows one login for all ProSystem fx applications

  Potential Limitations:

  • The depth of functionality in ProSystem fx Document may be overkill for some smaller practices
  • The development of the SaaS application suite is still evolving
..

The Documents tab provides a hit list of recently accessed documents and files pending approval for publishing to the portal, or uploading from the portal. The Assignment tab provides a list of assigned client projects and a list of notifications of activity with documents/files that are associated with the active username.

The main document locator screen provides a list of clients along the left side and a document/file hit list for the selected client in the center pane. The document hit list shows whether or not the file is published to the portal, the document year, class and sub-class. Column headings can be dragged and dropped to group and reorder files according to the data in any column, which is very similar to the “group” feature in Outlook e-mail.

Individual files or entire folders can be uploaded with drag and drop from Windows Explorer. The PDF print driver prompts users to index documents by entering the information on the “add files” screen at the time the PDF is created. The metadata tags for class and sub-class can be customized by the user, provided they have the appropriate security permissions.

Document Workflow:
As one would expect, ProSystem fx Document has direct integration with ProSystem fx Tax and ProSystem fx Engagement to quickly index and store the output from these applications. Users can send documents directly to and from Engagement. Integration with Microsoft Office applications such as Outlook, Word and Excel is provided through a button that saves files from these applications directly into Document.

Document/file groups can be created to facilitate document organization and routing. In 2010, CCH released ProSystem fx Workstream, a workflow solution that is tightly integrated into the “Next Generation” version of the ProSystem fx suite of applications. Users can also create “saved searches” to quickly retrieve groups of related documents.

Document Control:
The system provides a completely configurable user activity audit trail. Te audit trail’s reporting tool provides custom reporting with a wide range of fields. Firms can create security groups or “roles” to streamline the management of security permissions. Documents tagged as “confidential” will be flagged before they can be published to the portal. Version control gives users the opportunity to save as many previous iterations of each file as needed for better backup and change control on documents. The check-in/check-out feature identifies files that are checked out for editing and prevents other users from editing a file while it is checked out.

Special Features:
An integral part of CCH’s SaaS strategy is ProSystem fx Portal, the suite’s robust integrated portal application. Firms can create custom folders on the portal, which organizes the files in a format that is logical based on the client’s specific needs and preferences. The way documents are organized on the portal for client retrieval may be different from how the firm organizes them internally.

Client documents can be easily filtered to show only the files that are published to the portal. Documents can be published to the portal in batches to streamline the process. Notifications can be sent to clients and staff to report on portal activity, requiring electronic approval before client uploads are stored in the firm’s workpaper files in the application.

ProSystem fx Document is integrated with the Autoflow technology in ProSystem fx Scan and ProSystem fx Tax, which provides document recognition, organization and optional data import into the tax application.

Executive Summary & Pricing
Overall, I am very bullish on where CCH is heading with the development of a fully integrated suite of SaaS applications. It’s tough to bet against cloud computing as the right direction to move. CCH’s commitment to provide an option to deploy its suite of applications on-premises, in a SaaS model, hosted or some combination of the three provides freedom of choice to end users.

Pricing for ProSystem fx Document SaaS starts at $689 per user, per year and drops to $448 as the number of users increases. There is also a $1,000 initial setup fee.

2011 Overall Rating:

 

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