From the Jan./Mar. 2008 Review of Tax Research Systems
BNA has completely redesigned its online research offerings, rebranding the new package as the BNA Tax and Accounting Center. This new tax and accounting search portal provides a centralized point of access to all primary source materials; BNA tax and accounting content, expert analysis and guidance; and additional productivity tools. The system also provides enhanced customization features that enable users to set up personal home pages in the system with content focused on their area of practice. BNA offers the various libraries and tools as bundles or as individual add-ons, with the base version of the system starting at about $800 per year.
EASE-OF-USE/SEARCH ROUTINE -- 5 Stars
The new Tax and Accounting Center has an exceptional interface design that takes advantage of new browser technologies and provides a great online hub for research activities. Users can set up a fully customized Home page, while the system maintains tabs for accessing the various taxation and practice areas, such as Federal, State, International and Accounting. “From the Editors” provides alerts by practice area, notifying users of tax legislation, court rulings and other events. The screen also provides access to the Daily Tax Report, lists of Favorite Documents and Recently Visited Docs, Favorite Collections, assistance tools and other resources.
The new interface design also extends to the system’s search features, which are always available from the top of every screen, along with advanced search functions that let users specify which collections to search, date ranges, and also the ability to look for results in citation, heading and author fields. An online search cheat-sheet provides hints for terminology that can improve search results. Search queries can be saved or edited, or users can search even further within the results, with the items displayed in a split screen. The Tax and Accounting Center also maintains a Search History log.
Returned hits are presented by category and library collection and are sortable by relevance. They include links that bring up the full document with the search terms highlighted for quick reference. Documents provide built-in links to related code sections or other areas, as well as linked bibliographical references. From document pages, users can view contents or chapter outlines, elect to save the document or return to the results list. A print-friendly version of any document is accessible via an icon in the top text menu, which also provides options for exporting to Microsoft Word-compatible RTF format.
Since BNA’s research system is online, the change from the previous system to the redesigned one was automatic for users through the end of May 2008, but the company also had the foresight to keep access to the old system available for users, allowing them to transition at their own pace.
CONTENT -- 5 Stars
BNA’s Tax and Accounting Center offers access to the complete array of BNA tax and accounting libraries, including tax and accounting analysis, practice tools and federal, state and local primary source materials. BNA offers one of the most comprehensive libraries of tax and accounting regulations and insight, with Tax Practice Library and available portfolios libraries including U.S. Income Portfolios, as well as the Accounting Policy & Practice Series. Other topical libraries include Compensation Planning, Business Operations Abroad, Estates Gifts & Trusts, Foreign Income, IRS Practice Adviser, Real Estate, Sales & Use Tax, State Tax, Tax Exempt Organizations, and Transfer Pricing.
BNA’s Daily Tax Report provides additional breaking news content on pending and proposed legislation, tax rulings, court decisions and state and local issues, with users accessing this optional news source either through the Tax and Accounting Center or by having the content automatically e-mailed to them. BNA also offers weekly federal and state reports. A variety of practice tools are included with the Tax and Accounting Center, including client letter templates, sample tax plans and forms.
CUSTOMIZATION -- 4.5 Stars
In addition to the customizable Home page, BNA’s newly redesigned Tax and Accounting Center provides numerous query options and search saving. It also offers users the ability to receive e-mail highlight alerts. Users can select practice areas and set specific documents as favorites for easy access. The program’s output capabilities provide batch printing options.
INTEGRATION/OUTPUT -- 3.5 Stars
BNA’s Tax and Accounting Center is accessed through the user’s browser, which enables quick use of the system while working in tax or accounting systems, but it does not directly integrate with such programs for attaching notes or documents to client files. However, users can easily cut and paste search results and documents, and the system allows saving of findings in Word-compatible format.
SUPPORT & UPDATES -- 5 Stars
The Tax and Accounting Center provides intuitive navigation and search functions, and provides a useful Help utility that offers fully indexed access to program information and tips. BNA also includes toll-free user support with program pricing, as well as a free instructor-led training session that qualifies for CPE credit. All program and content updates are automatically implemented by BNA.
2008 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars