CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business — IntelliConnect

From the December 2009 Review of Tax & Accounting Research Systems.

IntelliConnect is the newest research offering from CCH, and is the successor to the Tax Research NetWork. It combines content on legal, tax, accounting and business topics, but this review will focus on tax research.

Ease of Use/Search Routine:
To make the huge trove of research documents accessible for browsing, IntelliConnect uses the familiar collapsing browser tree concept, with plus and minus signs to expand or contract visibility. Check boxes at each level are used for defining selected content when searching. A persistent header on each page provides entry for keywords or phrases, and a drop-down box allows users to indicate the content scope.

Searching within a selected document or set of documents is also supported. The search results by content source are presented, following the same organization as the main content tree, listed by document type, library and so forth. The number of hits is shown, and as the tree is expanded the search can be narrowed down, even allowing a new keyword search within one or more documents. Two center panes display results, with summaries above and the current document below. Up to five unrelated searches can be active, each contained on its own tab. A History link brings up both recent documents and recent searches, which can be used for later sessions. Results are ordered by relevancy or date, and the Thesaurus option may be applied, which will match the search term words or phrases with common synonyms. Finally, the results can be filtered by several date parameters, such as before, after or within a date range. When the user has just the right set of documents chosen, the contents can be printed, saved in PDF format files, or emailed as attachments or as content.

Content:
The core content library of IntelliConnect is based on the well-known CCH material, with available content scaled to the user’s subscription level, which includes material beyond federal and state tax topics. This rich library of content is organized into categories of News and Current Awareness, Primary sources such as laws and regulations, Explanations and Guidebooks, Practice Tools, plus Indexes and Tables. BNA editorial content, journals and treatises are also part of the library. A search on the keyword tax indicated over 3.5 million documents returned, which indicates the scope of the content.

Customization:
The main page layout has the content browser tree on the left and the search results in the middle; the user can move the divider between these panes as needed. While the main page is not customizable beyond this, other unique features within IntelliConnect provide great flexibility in saving the results for later use. Within a session, the user can save selected documents to the temporary document tray for later use, although this will empty upon logging out. While executing a search, the user can save selected documents to named Research folders, which are always available. These folders can be renamed, have descriptive notes attached, and be deleted as needed. The Tracker News feature can generate automatic searches that can be saved or sent as an email as new content is available. Selecting focused content for the Tracker news allows all the same search options available online.

Help & Support:
Online help with CCH IntelliConnect from the homepage includes a guided tour, FAQs and user guides. A dozen or so short animated demos in the guided tour illustrate very clearly the clicks and links to use the myriad of features in IntelliConnect. The user guide is presented in the familiar Windows style Help format and can be searched. The support phone number is included here should live assistance be needed.

IntelliConnect was in active development at the time of this review (late October 2009), and it’s likely that additional features may be added or changed before the start of the next tax preparation season. Overall, IntelliConnect is a fresh new tool, using state-of-the-art search technology. It’s easy-to-learn and –use and offers broad content and plenty of output options. Libraries start at $200 and go up from there.

2009 Overall Rating:

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