Thomson Reuters - Web Builder CS
From the Oct. 2011 Review of Website Tools & Services for tax & Accounting Firms.
The system can be used by any firm, but it’s optimized for use by professional practices using the CS Professional Suite of accounting and practice management programs.
- Client portals enable secure collaboration and document sharing
- Integration with CS Professional Suite
- Professional layouts, images and background colors
- Support for unique domains
- Calculators and track-refund links
- Custom site building available for an additional fee.
- Somewhat limited free content, charge for additional content
- No automated social media integration
- Extra charge for web email service
Few accounting software providers know as much about helping tax practices succeed as Thomson Reuters. The company’s Web Builder CS premiered in Spring 2000, and is now in version 2010.7.3. Most recent improvements include updates to the tool’s calculators and track-refund links, updates of tax deadlines, a webmail interface, and planning tools content.
Web Builder CS has 2,464 firms with sites up today, with 199 new firms added in the past 12 months and 210 dropped in that period. Average longevity of current firms on Web Builder CS is more than four years.
One of the service’s most unique qualities is that it was originally and continues to be designed for the accounting profession. Features include professional templates, sample text, a variety of tax- and accounting-related pages, and add-on features such as calculators and newsletters. The system is designed to link to private client portals such as NetClient CS, and to enhance communication, strengthen current client relationships and present a state-of-the-art image to prospective clients. Clients can log into the optional Virtual Client Office, enter payroll data directly into Accounting CS and Client Bookkeeping Solution, use hosted Microsoft Office applications, download files stored in FileCabinet CS, or securely upload files to the firm.
Page counts can run from one page to an unlimited number, with an average of 12 across all firm sites. Users may add more than 100 unique pages. Thirty-three templates are included, and Web Builder CS has a rich feature set, with support for photos, logos and text, as well as financial calculators, newsletter articles, PPC Alerts, Forefield KnowledgeTrust content, and email newsletters (more than 350 articles, 500 FAQs and 200 interactive tools for client use).
Firm information details can include FAQs, calendars, online client feedback forms, polls, client surveys and directions to a firm’s offices. Client Tools include the ability to track state and federal tax refund status online, on-demand client software training, 24/7 access to a firm's services, and helpful links.
Pricing: Setup is $350 with a basic recurring cost of $65 per month (or $780 per year). PPC Tax and Business Alerts are included in this price, as is Forefield KnowledgeTrust content. PPC advanced newsletters are $20 per month ($240/year), and Web email service (up to five accounts) is $10 per month ($120/year). Additional email accounts are $2 each. For firms who want Thomson Reuters to create a website for them, the Web Builder CS Design Service add-on is available for a one-time charge of $350. Supported browsers include Safari 5.0 or higher, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, and Firefox 3.0 or higher. iPad/Safari is also supported among mobile devices.
Hosting: Sites are hosted at Thomson Reuters’ secure datacenters and backed up by four redundant internet connections, as well as multiple backup power sources.
Search engines. Search engine submissions and statistics are available.
Domains: Domain names are unique and owned by users.
Email & newsletters: Email accounts are available, and users can maintain their own Exchange server. Each email account offers up to 25MB of storage and up to 9MB per email. Viruses are scanned and removed on the server.