Thomson Reuters — Small Firm Research Tools

From the Jan. 2009 Review of Tax Research Systems

[Ed. Note: This product brief appeared along with the review section.]

In addition to the Checkpoint tax research platform from Thomson Reuters (reviewed above), the company’s Tax and Accounting arm also offers a variety of tools and utilities geared toward providing research assistance to small and mid-sized practices that might not need the overwhelmingly comprehensive capabilities of Checkpoint. Among the more notable of these are Quickfinder Online and PPC’s eTools Suite.


Quickfinder has offered tax reference handbooks and aids for more than 35 years. The primary materials are grouped into categories for Tax Preparation, Tax Planning, Accounting & Bookkeeping, and CPE. While print and CD-based materials are still available, most of the content is also available through Quickfinder Online, which provides additional search tools and, because it is web-based, is kept up-to-date with the latest tax information. Content available through the online version includes the Quickfinder Handbooks for 1040, Accounting & Bookkeeping, All States, Depreciation, Small Business, Tax Planning for Businesses, Tax Planning for Individuals, and Special Tax Situations, all of which can be subscribed to individually or bundled.

The Handbooks provide primary source materials, along with expert analysis, guidance, planning guides and practice tools. The online interface for Quickfinder provides intuitive navigation, with a Table of Contents menu on the left that displays and provides direct access to all content. A tab at the top of this menu allows users to jump to advanced search functions, while a Quick Search field at the top of the screen provides an alternative method.
Advanced search options enable queries to be made across multiple book titles and give multiple phraseology choices, including finding alternate forms of a word, searching for synonyms or including similar results. Online versions of Quickfinder products are priced the same with substantial discounting provided if both media are purchased together at the same time.


The core components of PPC’s eTools Suite are primarily focused on practice and workflow optimization, although they also include electronic and automatically linked versions of PPC’s print-based and CD/DVD research materials. These include the 1040, 1041, 1065 and 1120S Deskbooks, which provide practical guidance and cover virtually all issues involved with taxation for these entities. The Deskbooks highlight significant recent changes to taxation rules and provide examples of workable solutions to problems common or complex. The CD-based version of PPC’s Deskbooks offers direct integration with UltraTax CS and provides quick access to research and guidance from data input screens in the compliance system.

PPC’s Tax e-Practice Aids are built into the eTools Suite, giving users the benefit of streamlined checklists, comparison features, automatic entry of common engagement information, calculations and built-in formulas, tick-mark functions that can work on all Word and Excel documents, and other productivity features. The eTools Suite also includes PPC’s Tax e-Workpapers, which are Excel templates that help firms standardize workflow processes, increase accuracy and save review time.

Most of the content and utilities in PPC’s eTools Suite are also available online as a part of Thomson’s Checkpoint research platform, but the CD and print-based versions can be purchased, as well.