Review of CNG-SAFE - 2011


Cabinet NG, Inc. - CNG-SAFE


From the June 2011 Review of Document Management Systems

Best Firm Fit:
CNG will fit in many different types of businesses, including, but not limited to, accounting and tax firms, as well as many of their clients. CNG is priced on a per-user model that allows organizations to increase or decrease the number of licensed users to meet the needs of the organization.

Core Product Functions/Features:
One way to describe the Cabinet NG (CNG) interface is “crisp.” It has the appearance of a very mature and well designed system, which it is. One particularly nice feature is the ability to sort folder lists by various fields such as the TIN, type of client, etc. The model used to organize files is a fairly traditional cabinet/folder/file model.

The sign-on dashboard offers a series of user-manageable panels that include recently viewed cabinets, workflows, scheduled “to do” tasks and a bookmark feature that lets users select a series of favorite documents/files for one-click access. CNG offers a unique “speed bar” that provides one-button access to email, document routing, file exporting, printing and file combining.


  • Extended set of integration utilities
  • Bar code scanning option
  • Deep QuickBooks integration
  • Document versioning & compare feature
  • Integrated workflow & portal functionality

  Potential Limitations:

  • Lack of pre-built integration with popular tax & audit software
  • The pricing is a little on the high side for the hosting solution

Files can be uploaded directly from Windows Explorer through a panel that displays folders from within the product. Files can be printed directly to CNG by using a proprietary Windows printer driver. Templates can be created that have pre-established metadata tags for quicker uploading of files. The metadata tags can be extensively customized to meet the specialized needs of a firm.

Document Workflow:
CNG is in a “horizontal” DMS group, which means that it has the flexibility to be deployed in many different types of organizations and across different departments. The application doesn’t include direct integrations pre-built for tax and audit software applications. Rather, separate tools are available to help users build their own integrations, including an API (application program interface) for custom programming and a feature called “Retriever” for accessing files stored in CNG without leaving the current application being used.

Direct integration with Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook is provided. E-mail messages can be dragged and dropped into CNG, and Microsoft Office files can be saved directly into CNG. This is an important feature to understand because some systems require you to save the files locally and then upload them to the DMS, which results in extra work.

The system includes an integrated workflow function for routing individual documents, groups of documents or an entire folder based on rule sets. Routing rules can be established based on desired criteria. For example, if the net worth of a client is above a certain level, a rule can be set to route the document to a designated individual, or if an accounts payable bill is over $100,000, a rule can indicate to route the invoice to the President for approval. A standardized note can be included with the routed documents and e-mail notifications to alert the recipient as to what action is requested of them. The most recent version of CNG includes a scheduling tool that lets users manage documents by other fields such as due date and renewal date for maximum efficiency.

Document Control:
CNG provides typical permission controls such as view, print, create and delete authority. A detailed audit file allows users to review the entire history of the document in CNG. Permissions are applied by assigning a “sensitivity” level to documents (e.g. Public, Confidential or Top Secret). Retention periods can be automatically applied by the system or configured to be manually set by the user. Only authorized users (typically the administrator) can generate a report of documents tagged for purging, and select what data actually gets purged.

CNG’s version control feature keeps track of all the revisions of a document. Users can also compare one document version with another to identify the differences, and can even choose to promote an earlier version of a document to the current version if needed.

Special Features:
CNG includes an integrated portal module that is accessible through a web interface. The portal can be set up as a link within another portal if appropriate. An integrated scanning solution permits scanning directly into a CNG folder for direct upload. The system also supports bar code scanning to help keep the document tagging process separate from the scanning function. This is important because the scan operator(s) may not be as familiar with the nature of the documents as the person responsible for processing them.

CNG can be deployed in either a traditional on-premises client/server model or through a browser interface. There are some differences between the two, but they are essentially the same application. CNG can also be accessed as a SaaS application, with all data stored in a secure data center.

One particularly distinguishing feature is the CNG Books module that provides direct integration with QuickBooks. Features include the ability to scan a document and create the QB transaction all in the same process as the document is being viewed. A folder is automatically created for each of the user’s QB customer and vendor records.

Executive Summary & Pricing
CNG is a very impressive solution. I like the fact that it is designed as a horizontal solution that can fit the needs of many different types of businesses. The integration with QuickBooks is a valuable bonus for organizations that work with QB. The pricing model is $495 per view license, $995 per dedicated user, or $1,395 for a shared concurrent user license for an on-premise deployment. The SaaS model is priced at $50 per user per month. Volume pricing will be applied based on the total number of users for both the on-premises and SaaS models.

2011 Overall Rating: