From the December 2009 Review of Tax & Accounting Research Systems.
Tax and accounting professionals have information needs that span many different categories, from income taxation for individuals and business entities at the federal level and each of the states, along with international taxation issues, plus the need for detailed guidance on GAAP, IFRS and other accounting standards. The information can be so broad and originates from so many government entities, courts, standards boards and professional associations that, even though the Internet has made research much simpler for professionals to find the information they need, it can still be overwhelming.
Many of the technology vendors that make the leading general tax research systems also offer more specialized tools for these specific needs, with resources covering tax prep, planning, accounting and practice workflow functions. When used in conjunction with a firm’s full research system, these specialized utilities can empower professionals by giving them streamlined access to greater information and resources, all at the touch of a few keys.
Thomson Reuters PPC Checkpoint Tools Suite
In addition to the powerful Checkpoint Research platform reviewed in this section, Thomson’s Checkpoint Tools Suite includes advanced workflow-focused utilities that give users quick access to a wealth of content from PPC, including Tax Practice Aids and Tax Workpapers. (www.cpata.com/links/TRcheckpoint)
PPC’s Tax Practice Aids
These handy tools are Microsoft Word and Excel versions of the practice aids in PPC’s Deskbook series, providing all the editable practice aids in the Deskbook, including edit capabilities for users to customize engagement letters, client organizers, checklists, election statements, worksheets, practice management tools and other resources. With automatic entry of common engagement information, one-click signoffs, links to resources, built-in formulas and client collaboration features, PPC’s Tax Practice Aids provide excellent workflow capabilities that add on to the power of CheckPoint. They are available for Forms 1040, 1041, 1065 and 1120S.
PPC Tax Workpapers
Just as the Tax Practice Aids extend the customizability of Word and Excel to PPC DeskBooks, the Tax Workpapers utility provides the same capabilities for additional workpapers not found in these guides. This can help firms standardize processes using productivity features that streamline engagements and reviews. Functions include advanced diagnostics, automatic calculation fields, tickmark features, user notes and the ability to dynamically change content based on input. PPC Tax Workpapers are available in versions for 1120, 1120S and 1065.
Thomson Reuters Quickfinder
Thomson Reuters also offers several other professional research and guidance resources, including Quickfinder, a collection of handbooks that cover specific practice areas. The Quickfinder Handbooks, available either online or in CD format, include libraries of options grouped into categories for tax preparation, tax planning, accounting & bookkeeping, personal finance and CPE. The 1040 Handbook series has been one of the most popular during the 38 years Quickfinder products have been on the market, covering all aspects of individual income tax compliance. (www.Quickfinder.com)
CCH Accounting Research Manager
Accounting Research Manager (ARM) is the accounting industry’s most comprehensive online database, providing easy access to accounting, auditing, governmental and SEC authoritative literature, plus expert interpretive guidance and FASB codification. ARM helps you understand and comply with rapidly changing standards by explaining often-complex U.S. and international authoritative and proposal stage literature. And it’s the only service in the industry that pulls together the literature and analysis, all in one place. (cchgroup.com/arm)
CCH’s Tax Prep Partner Series
With detailed explanatory content, practice materials and step-by-step analysis tools, the CCH Tax Prep Partner Series is a powerful combination of compliance research and aids that can help streamline and standardize preparation engagements for 1040, 1120, 1120S and 1065 clients. The program’s content includes examples of tax scenarios with guidance on how and when rules apply, tips on structuring transactions to maximize tax benefit, alerts that caution users about questionable treatments, and A-Line-D, an integrated lookup tool that lets users quickly pull up line-by-line explanations of business tax forms. (tax.cchgroup.com/tpp)
CCH’s Practical Tax Professional
Designed for smaller professional tax and accounting firms, Practical Tax Professional offers real-world examples of tax applicability, along with sample calculations, compliance pointers, comments and note fields. The system provides a common-sense approach with plain language explanations of core individual and small business taxation issues, along with additional federal tax research tools and features. (tax.cchgroup.com/ptp)
CCH’s Worldwide Tax Rates & Answers
The Internet has made it possible for even small businesses to become active globally, but with that broader market comes more complex tax liability issues. The Worldwide Tax Rates and Answers system is designed to give professionals a research tool that makes it easier to quickly access corporate tax rates for countries around the world, along with the rates of their subsidiary government entities, such as states, provinces and cities. All forms and instructions are offered in English, and the system also offers guidance on complex compliance issues written by professionals in those countries. (tax.cchgroup.com/wtra)
CCH’s State Tax Smart Charts
State Tax Smart Charts provide tax practitioners with reliable, comprehensive state tax research across multiple tax topics. You can use a single research tool to quickly create state tax charts for issues in one jurisdiction, or compare tax treatments for any combination of states. Select from hundreds of topics critical to state tax charts for all major tax types, then instantly review your answers with citations to tax laws on that subject in a convenient, easy-to-read chart format. You can even export state tax chart data to Microsoft® Excel or Word. (cchgroup.com/stsmartcharts)