CCH Small Firm Services — Total Kleinrock Office

From the Jan. 2009 Review of Tax Research Systems

Total Kleinrock Office (TKO) provides strong research and guidance functionality for smaller and mid-sized tax-focused practices. The system was initially independent, and then offered as a bundle with the ATX line of compliance software, which was acquired by CCH a couple of years ago. TKO is also available as a stand-alone system, providing users with a broad collection of resources, including all primary government tax-related publications, state and international materials, CCH handbooks, expert analysis, employment law guidance and more than 10,000 state and federal forms. Total Kleinrock Office costs $699 and is available both online and on CD.

After logging in through the Kleinrock website, TKO opens to a home page that offers sections for the Federal Daily Tax Bulletin, Quick Links to research assistance and client letters, and a navigation menu that houses direct links to all of the research libraries. The screen also provides text-based hover menus with links across the top for the TaxExpert Research, Kleinrock Bulletins, Compliance, Reference and CPE. These same options are located in the My Online Products menu, which lists more than 20 libraries and reference sources, including Federal, State and Employment Tax Experts, Daily Tax Bulletins, and primary source materials.

Primary search functions are accessed by choosing a resource area, such as the Federal TaxExpert, which then provides the user with a screen that houses the search features and news from the Daily Tax Bulletin, which seemed a little cluttered in its presentation. Search functions follow a three-step process of selecting a library, entering search words or citation, or using advanced search functions that allow searching for phrases, proximity queries and multi-library searches. Search result lists are displayed organized by the reference source’s section. No additional filtering or sorting options are offered. Within a specific document, TKO highlights the searched for terms, making it simple to see the pertinent areas, and provides links to other sections related to the topic. Likewise, when viewing items in the Bulletin, links are provided to code sections, analysis and source documents.

In addition to the search functions, TKO offers a simple Browse feature that gives users a linked table of contents for a portfolio or reference book, allowing them to find information by section, which may be useful to users accustomed to traditional lookup processes. In general, the TKO interface is very easy to use and provides good organization of resource materials and search utilities, although with occasional lack of browser back button usage between some sections.

CONTENT - 4.5 Stars
TKO is one of the most affordable full research systems on the market, but it is pleasantly comprehensive, providing extensive libraries of primary source documents, the IRC, Treasury regulations, rulings & procedures, cases, legislation, analysis, news and Kleinrock’s primary resources, the Federal TaxExpert (with 25 volumes of analysis and more than 100,000 cases and rulings), the All States TaxExpert and the Employment Tax-Expert (a resource that helps assess and minimize risk, calculate payroll taxes, determine taxable income and uses third-party payroll providers). Other valuable content includes Kleinrock’s Analysis, Federal Daily Tax Bulletins, Planning & Practice, ZillionForms, Unlimited W-2/ 1099, the CCH U.S. Master Tax Guide: Kleinrock Edition, and CCH 1040 Express Answers.

TKO offers few customization options through its web-based version, but its CD version allows saved searches and viewing of search histories. The online version has the benefit of automatic updates managed by CCH’s Kleinrock staff.

TKO links directly to the ATX tax system, allowing users to access the CCH Master Tax Guide and TaxExpert research from specific lines within the tax program. The research system also offers easy copy-and-paste functions. Unfortunately, there is no built-in print or ‘save as’ utility, so users rely on their browser print functions for these processes.

SUPPORT - 4.5 Stars
TKO provides a Research Assistance function with links to support contacts, research guidance and CD installation processes. The company’s support website offers mostly contact information and forms. Also available is the Kleinrock TaxTalk Community, an online message board sys-tem that lets users share best practices, tips and other information with other professionals. Live and web-based tech support is included in program pricing.

2009 OVERALL RATING: overall rating