From the November 2009 Review of Client Write-Up Systems.
On the market for nearly 15 years, the Client Write-Up for Windows system has continued to evolve over this time, providing core write-up features that include GL, bank reconciliation, and after-the-fact payroll with compliance reporting. It also has an optional Job Costing feature. Through integration with the vendor’s Computer Checkbook business accounting and management system, users also have access to AR, AP, check writing, extended payables management, and live payroll with direct deposit.
The Client Write-Up program costs $795 for a single-user system that includes unlimited U.S.-based phone support and can be used to manage any number of client businesses and any number of employees. A multi-user site license costs $895. PC Software Accounting also offers specialty modules for fixed assets, advanced payroll and an expense tracking system for clients. The Computer Checkbook program costs $295, and is also available for clients of the accounting firm.
LEARNING CURVE & EASE OF USE-
Installation and initial setup of Client Write-Up is simple, with creation and management of a client company, account and other background information occurring on intuitive tab-based screens. Data-entry screens can be resized as needed by the user and can accommodate high or low resolution monitors. Basic wizards are available during setup functions, allowing users to copy existing client charts of accounts and other data for use in creating new entities. This “client cloning” feature also allows copying of client charts, payroll settings and custom reporting that has been setup for an existing client. The main system interface offers a fairly traditional screen with pull-down menus and icons across the top of an otherwise blank work area.
The program opens to the last client accessed, and offers a client selection list that uses the Windows Explorer file system rather than a management console, which provides less advanced filter and search options, but does allow users to sort by either number or name, and offers client-level password protection. Within a client’s files, most day-to-day functions are accessed via the Transactions menu, which offers access to ledger transactions, journal entries, bank reconciliation tasks, trial balance, and the ability to set recurring transactions and journal entries. Transactional tasks such as splitting, deleting and modifications can be performed individually or in batch. Data-entry screens for transactions, journal entries and other information provide standard web-based forms with access to lists for accounts, codes, employees, cost centers, transactions, vendors and many other items, with GL screens allowing notes and automatic balancing cash entries.
One of the unique aspects of the Client Write-Up systems is that data from closed prior periods are always accessible and all transactional information retained. This aids in modification of year-end figures and making changes and adjusting entries for any period, which also eases reporting for prior periods, including up to five years of histories. A quick Debit/Credit Check feature provides users with a summary of GL balances.
Bank reconciliation functions enable users to import bank files and manage electronic transactions. As well, users can utilize multiple methods of working with accounts and transactions, including a side-by-side view of the disbursements journal and the receipts journal. Employee management screens for payroll and compliance reporting are well designed, with the ability to set 1099 and W-2 data, assign specific divisions or cost centers, and track hire and termination dates. Selection lists offer basic sorting and search tools. Client Write-Up’s after-the-fact payroll functions include e-filing options for both state and federal information returns. The vendor’s Computer Checkbook and Payroll systems offer check writing and additional options for more advanced employee and company management.
REPORTING & FINANCIAL STATEMENTS-
PC Software Accounting’s Client Write-Up system houses a surprisingly large library of reports, including full financial reporting options that include balance sheets, income statements, retained earnings, cash flow, sales schedules, break even, and others, which can be run as consolidated or by cost center and can include up to five years of history. Other output options include trial balance, general ledger listings, cash reports, tax estimates and budgeting. Batch reporting options are available, and users can include customized or preformatted charts and graphs with reports. Files can be saved as PDF or Excel formats, the latter allowing for customization, or they can be e-mailed directly from within the program.
INTEGRATION, IMPORT/ EXPORT-
The program offers integration with the vendor’s Computer Checkbook and Payroll systems, and can import multiple years of GL data from any version of QuickBooks. Import options are also available for most other client accounting systems, including older DOS programs, and from plain text formats. It also has interfaces for preparing and exporting data files into plain text, Excel and a format specified for McDonald’s franchisees, along with the ability to export data for use in most professional tax compliance systems.
SUPPORT, TRAINING & HELP-
Client Write-Up includes a traditional Help index with screen shots, plus F1 key access to field-specific Help. A tutorial, practice sets and a system overview are built into the program, along with links to the company’s website, which has downloadable updates but does not offer self-help resources such as a knowledgebase or FAQs. A printed user guide is included with the system, and unlimited U.S-based live technical support, program updates and payroll tables are provided for one year with system pricing.
Client Write-Up for Windows has the ease-of-use of a program designed for small firms, but offers good workflow features that can make it suitable even for practices servicing very large clients. With the networked site license, it can be used by any number of professionals in a single office, whether two or 20, and provides exceptional reporting capabilities, a beneficial always-available structure that allows access and manipulation of transactional data in closed accounting periods, strong reconciliation functions and effective integration options.
2009 Overall Rating: