From the August 2008 Review of Engagement and Trial Balance Systems
The Trial Balance CS system from Thomson Reuters (formerly Thomson Tax & Accounting) provides full integration with the tax, write-up and document management components of the CS Professional Suite. It can also be used as a stand-alone program or remotely accessed using the Virtual Office CS system. Trial Balance CS offers a variety of customizable financial statement formats, with several features designed to enhance workflow and save time. The program costs $600 for a non-network license with annual upgrades priced at $155.
EASE OF USE -- 4.5 Stars
Thomson Reuters provides generally consistent interfaces across all of the programs in the CS Professional Suite, making initial usage and familiarity with all programs fairly easy. Trial Balance CS opens within a crisply designed window that provides customizable panels for Tasks, Recent Clients, Firm Information, Data Locations, Status Summary, Notices and Payroll information. Each of these provides further options for working within clients, accessing support, finding online resources and other functions. A selection of icons and menus across the top of the screen also provide access to key features.
The main client selection screen provides basic sorting by client ID or name and searching by ID. Within client data folders, the program displays reports and documents, such as transmittal letters, in a vertical panel on the left, which makes moving between functions intuitive. Additionally, Trial Balance CS provides a split-screen view of trial balance alongside record journal entries, which speeds the process. Data-entry screens are easy to use, with smart selection lists that speed entry.
TRIAL BALANCE FEATURES -- 4.5 Stars
Trial Balance CS can be used to support any number of clients and maintains data for up to 10 years. Users have the option of easily switching the bases for financial statements between multiple options such as cash, accrual, tax, book, budget or others. The system also gives the ability to customize the order and presentation of columns in the trial balance grid, enabling viewing of various combinations of balances and adjustments.
The Tax Reconciliation Utility eases recording and reconciling of adjusted net and tax net income. Basic definitions can be customized, accounts can be grouped by code and sub-code, and adjusting journal entries can be recorded directly as a tax code, removing the need for contra accounts when making Schedule M1 and M3 adjustments. Users can also enter budget journal entries to create adjusted budget balances. The availability of on-screen tickmarks and workpaper references also add to the program’s capabilities.
FINANCIAL STATEMENT PREPARATION -- 4.5 Stars
The system includes dozens of customizable pre-built report templates and offers a flexible financial statement editor for creation of client-deliverable financial statements and analysis reports that can be enhanced with tables of contents, headers, footers, and graphical elements like charts and letterhead logos. Options include reports for Account Changes, Tax Reconciliation, Charts of Accounts, Trial Balance, Trial Balance Variance, Trial Balance Worksheet, Trial Balance Grid, Adjusting Journal Entries, Grouping Schedules, Financial Statements, Tax Code report and others. Likewise, a large collection of analytical ratios is included in the program.
DATA IMPORT/EXPORT/INTEGRATION -- 4 Stars
Trial Balance CS enables importing of client balances from spreadsheets or QuickBooks and is fully integrated with the CS Professional Suite , most notably Engagement CS, Write-Up CS, UltraTax CS, GoSystem Tax ES and FileCabinet CS. Users can output data into Word, Excel and plain text formats. Trial Balance CS also exports to various tax vendors as well.
With the full integration between the programs in the CS Professional Suite, Trial Balance CS is ideally suited to firms looking for a unified professional accounting system that covers all bases, from write-up, to essential trial balance functions and tax compliance. The system offers intuitive interfaces and good reporting and presentation functions, with customizable financial statements and other reports.