Thomson Tax & Accounting — Write-Up CS

From the Nov. 2007 Review of Client Write-Up Systems

Thomson Tax & Accounting is one of only a few software vendors that offers fully integrated applications across the spectrum, from an in-house client bookkeeping solution, through write-up and trial balance, and even continuing through tax planning and compliance. The company’s Write-Up CS is one of the leaders in the genre, sharing data with the other programs in the Thomson Tax & Accounting CS suite (formerly Creative Solutions). Direct integration with Thomson’s FileCabinet CS also provides firms with direct digital document management capabilities. The system can support any number of clients and includes full GL, bank reconciliation and advanced reporting options that provide customization and the ability to include full-color visual elements like graphs. An optional add-on module provides support for after-the-fact payroll with forms W-2, 1099 and the 940 series. Pricing for Write-Up CS starts at $1,800.

LEARNING CURVE & EASE OF USE -- 4.5 Stars
Users familiar with any of Thomson Tax & Accounting’s other CS products will be immediately at home in the Write-Up CS system, which opens within the core CS Professional Suite Accounting module, providing link-based access to user-related functions, including frequent tasks, recently worked on clients, firm setup, notices and other items. The system also maintains traditional pull-down and icon-based menus and toolbars across the top of the screen, which include options for import and export functions with other CS applications. Client work is performed after selection of the entity from a list that includes sort and search functions. Write-Up CS offers wizards and templates for initial setup of clients and charts of accounts, including the ability to set up multiple clients at once, copying data from client to client. Customization options allow the firm to set up data-entry screens to match client source documents.

Within a client’s files, the interface provides a vertical menu with access to transactions, bank reconciliation, the chart of accounts, payroll functions, employee and vendor data, reporting tools, and financial statement generation. The primary transaction screen makes it easy to add accounts and vendors or to edit previously entered transactions. Users can enter data either heads-down or using interface components. An audit trail and security features ensure audit compliance. Multiple client files can be open simultaneously, and Write-Up CS supports entry of prior-year journal entries and regeneration of prior-year journals, GL reports and financial statements. The system can maintain up to 10 years of historical GL balance and transactional data.

REPORTING & FINANCIAL STATEMENTS -- 5 Stars
Write-Up CS includes excellent customization options for reporting using the built-in Report and Financial Statement Editor, which helps users easily create appropriate documents using various templates, or completely according to their clients’ needs. The system allows multi-level comparative reporting along with other analytical tools. Users can fully customize output, including letterhead, fonts, logos and graphs, and templates are also included for client letters, coversheets and a table of contents. With the payroll module, Write-Up CS also offers wage information reporting with forms W-2, W-3, 940, 941, 942, 943, 945 and 1099. State payroll tax returns and withholding and unemployment forms can also be easily produced.

INTEGRATION, IMPORT/EXPORT -- 4.5 Stars
As previously noted, the CS suite of accounting products provides total integration across all components, working from the same database and reducing redundant entry. The program allows transactional entry though the Client Bookkeeping Solution to be fed into the same system that is used by the professional accountant to perform bank reconciliation and write-up tasks, thereby eliminating the need for data transfers and accountant’s copies of data. Import of information from external trial balance, client accounting systems and tax programs is generally simple, including transferring journal entries from the company’s depreciation and practice management systems. The program allows export of any report to a file, but does not support direct export.

SUPPORT, TRAINING & HELP SYSTEM -- 5 Stars
Write-Up CS includes content-specific Help features, right-click menus, setup templates and other assistive features that include a well-designed Help menu and built-in FAQs. Thomson Tax & Accounting’s online support center offers abundant options, including a knowledgebase, user e-newsletters, product downloads and updates, marketing tools, information on data conversions, contact information, and access to the ARNE2 message boards, the largest online software user community for accounting professionals. Multiple training options are available, including web-based virtual classes and live courses held across the country and at the company’s annual users’ conference (in Hawaii this year).

RELATIVE VALUE -- 5 Stars
Write-Up CS is not geared toward stand-alone use, but rather as a tightly integrated part of a CS-integrated professional practice providing financial services to more complex small and mid-sized businesses. Thomson Tax & Accounting’s CS Accounting Suite offers the most comprehensive line of programs for professional accountants, from client bookkeeping, to tax prep and planning, write-up, trial balance, engagement, practice management, financial analysis and digital storage. For this type of professional practice, Write-Up CS offers exceptional reporting customization options, including the ability to personalize headers, footers, coversheets and client letters with the ability to add full-color charts and graphs.

2007 Overall Rating: 5 Stars

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