Thomson Reuters - Checkpoint
Tax and accounting professionals that prefer a uniform platform for tax and accounting research
- High level of user-specific customization
- Single platform for multiple primary, proprietary & third-party research content providers
- Strong search capabilities
- Based on subscription level, users may experience content overload
- Search options may be overwhelming upon initial use, but should degrade over time
Thomson Reuters Checkpoint (previously branded as Checkpoint) is the tax and accounting research offering from Thomson Reuters. A new version, including a number of feature enhancements, was released in June 2011. A notable interface enhancement is the transformation from a tab-driven site to a menu-driven site, which may lead to a more productive research experience. The shortcut list at the top of the screen has also received some enhancements, including additional shortcuts to popular options and clickable drop-down menus. Many other enhancements have been made, each with the goal of enhancing productivity.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS - 5 Stars
When users login to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint, they are navigated to the home screen by default. This home screen has recently been redesigned and is fully customizable for each user login ID. At the top of the screen is a list of shortcuts with a menu bar below that contains a variety of categories. Both remain visible throughout the product regardless of the current screen view. When users hover over the menu bar, a shortcut menu appears with further navigation options. On the far right side of the menu bar is a new Site Navigator. This enhancement allows users to type in search terms to locate features and subscription content and does not perform queries across that content.
Search is a primary function of the service and is accessed through the search option on the above mentioned menu bar. When a user hovers over this option, a submenu appears and shows all library content to which users are currently subscribed. From here, users may perform search queries from specific libraries or across multiple libraries. Search terms may be entered as Boolean queries or plain English text. A thesaurus tool is also included to build search term strings. When a search is performed, the default presentation is to display a categorized source list based on subscribed content.
To the right of each category is the number of search term hits contained within that category. Users also have the option to view all documents and sort the results by relevance. When this option is selected, search results are displayed in a more traditional internet search presentation with contextual descriptions containing search terms.
A table of contents search is also available, which follows a traditional book feel and allows users to navigate by chapters within each content library. This is useful for users who are more certain of a document location or need to browse general research areas. Generally, this level of research will benefit the senior staff members.
CONTENT - 5 Stars
Thomson Reuters Checkpoint provides access to one of the widest ranges of content available. Subscribers have access to federal and state technical code and regulations, court cases, tax tables and rates, and a variety of tax planning libraries. Proprietary content is also offered through RIA, Warren Gorham & Lamont (WG&L) and PPC, which is designed primarily for accounting and auditing professionals. BNA portfolio analysis may also be integrated, allowing access to all the content on a single and searchable uniform platform.
Several newsletters are available and may be viewed online within the service or pushed to users via email. The delivery options of each newsletter are fully controlled by the user, though content is largely restricted based on content subscriptions. Newsletters are available daily, weekly, monthly and as published.
As previously noted, search is a key function of Thomson Reuters Checkpoint. The history tracking function with the service was enhanced mid-2011. All search history is now retained for up to two weeks, allowing users to search multiple scenarios across multiple clients. The history shortcut menu, available through a link at the top of the screen, now shows the 10 most recently accessed documents and the 10 most recently performed searches. All researched documents may also be flagged for later access and use.
CUSTOMIZATION - 5 Stars
Thomson Reuters Checkpoint offers a variety of customization options, each specific to user logins. The most useful customization rests on the homepage. The content on the homepage may be rearranged and scaled according to the user’s practice or interest areas. Users may also create their own list of links to specific folders, calculators and research libraries. Users may choose default page upon entering the service, change how search results are displayed and adjust newsletter offerings.
Users may also track time and adjust single sign-on options for ONESOURCE and other Thomson Reuters online applications. An additional useful feature allows users to create folders to store research. Up to 250 folders may be added, each with up to six levels of subfolders. This should allow research for multiple scenarios all housed within a single client folder.
INTEGRATION/IMPORT/EXPORT - 5 Stars
As part of the tax and accounting product lineup, Thomson Reuters Checkpoint offers tight integration with its companion products. The GoSystem RS and UltraTax CS tax solutions both feature tax research functions through right-click menu options. These options are contextual based on the user’s current location within the respective products and provides direct access to further research.
Research within the service may be exported to a variety of file types, including PDF, Excel, Word and HTML. Research may also be emailed directly to third parties, even if they do not subscribe to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint. One additional offering within the research service is the e-form RS add-on, which is form fill software and contains many federal and state tax and related forms. Both the ONESOURCE corporate tax platform and Checkpoint Learning certification solutions are also integrated with research on Thomson Reuters Checkpoint.
HELP & SUPPORT - 5 Stars
A variety of Help and support options are available within Thomson Reuters Checkpoint. A Help shortcut link is located at the top of the screen. When hovering over this shortcut link, a menu appears with additional links to traditional Help screens along with links for phone-based support and web-based training.
Help is also available on the home screen with links to more specific training and support areas. An additional Help feature was introduced along with the previously mentioned enhancements. A blue and white question mark is now located next to many new features. Clicking on this question mark reveals a description of the link and provides Help and support options specific to that particular task. All primary source content is updated nightly, while editorial content is updated weekly. All updates and Help options, along with many web-based training sessions, are included with the annual subscription costs. 5
SUMMARY & PRICING
Thomson Reuters Checkpoint offers a strong tax and accounting research set. The service features a number of highly respected primary resources in addition to proprietary content from the PPC, RIA and WG&L brands. Other third-party research, such as BNA Tax Research may be integrated into Thomson Reuters Checkpoint. All content resides on a uniform platform that may be easily searched. Many user customization options are available to enhance the tax research experience, as well.
Thomson Reuters offers a small firm library consisting of technical code and regulations, compliance and planning libraries, newsletters, access to e-Forms RS, and editorial content for around $1,000. Additional users may be added and are price indexed based on the number of users and subscribed content.