From the June 2009 Issue
Just like the white snow melting into green grass, our perennial review of document storage and document management solutions has become a key milestone in the transition from winter to spring and summer. What a great time of year! This also means we have completed yet another year of development efforts by the vendor community. The solutions they develop to help you take your accounting and tax practice “digital,” have become even more effective. So our mission in this review and the companion review of document management systems to be featured in the The CPA Technology Advisor in July, is to help you gain a better perspective of what many of the leading vendors have to offer and some of the enhancements they have made while you were busy laboring through another productive tax season.
In these reviews we continue to face the challenge of trying to appropriately categorize the solutions into comparable groups. That is much easier said than done because there are so many good solutions and the depth and breadth of functionality varies considerably. However, we have made our best attempt to provide meaningful comparisons by separating the reviews between document “storage” systems and document “management” systems. I’ll be the first to admit that the line that separates them is much grayer than it is black and white. So we’ll start by attempting to explain the differences between the two categories.
When we talk about document storage systems, think of these as software applications that are designed with the primary focus on managing the way you organize the storage of your electronic documents, as well as other application files from MS Office, Acrobat, etc. These systems are generally limited in their scope of features, which makes them very affordable for the small firm or sole practitioner, and better yet, quite easy to deploy and use.
In the July 2009 issue, we will review the more robust document management solutions that are designed to fulfill the needs of the entire firm. Document Management systems not only organize the storage of electronic documents and files; they also provide extended functionality to integrate with tax and accounting applications, and perhaps provide a portal component, workflow automation, document retention and more. We’ll provide an in-depth discussion of the features and functions of these systems next month. For now, our focus is on the more simplistic document storage tools.
Since these document storage systems tend to differ considerably in the nature
of their functionality, we have rated them on four relatively broad attributes:
user interface, file organization/management, integration with other software
applications, and overall value based on the depth of functionality and pricing.
We have almost a dozen products in this review, so let’s get started.
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