2011 Review of CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business — IntelliConnect

CCH - IntelliConnect
888-224-7377
CCHGroup.com

 

BEST FIT:

Tax, accounting and legal professionals who need a wide range of research options.

STRENGTHS:

  • New categorized view groups data in easy-to-use chunks
  • Up to 8 simultaneous searches on one screen
  • Multiple ways of getting the same answer

POTENTIAL LIMITATIONS:

  • Integration only achieved with solutions in the ProSystem fx Suite of products

 

From the December 2011 Review of Tax & Accounting Research Systems

IntelliConnect is the tax and accounting research product offering from CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business. IntelliConnect features a number of new enhancements for the current year release. Upon login, users are greeted with a new homepage that features updated news, direct links to popular content and resources, and links for training and support. Users may also now go directly to code sections directly from the search bar. Other enhancements have been made with the intent of generating faster answers for tax, accounting and legal professionals.

Basic System Functions - 5 Stars
IntelliConnect is an internet-based research solution accessed through today’s modern browsers. Upon login, a new homepage is displayed on the right side of the screen with a folder tree that is based on content subscription shown on the left side. Both of these screens may be resized through a vertical divider bar. Above the folder tree, is a list of other tools, including a news option and a direct link to saved document research.

A search bar is at the top, along with various links to search history, preferences and Help options. The search bar and other various links remain visible throughout the program, regardless of which screen users are currently viewing.

CCH has also released two options for mobile devices. For iPhone/iPad and BlackBerry users, the CCH Mobile app is available. IntelliConnect users may use this app to perform research across the Internal Revenue Code, Smart Charts, US Master Tax Guide and Tracker News. All content is delivered in a mobile-friendly format. Also, many enhancements have been made to scale the app appropriately for tablet users.

Currently, an app is under development for Android devices that will access the same content. Recently released is the IntelliConnect Mobile app, which is currently exclusive to iPhone/iPad users. This app provides a variety of tax, accounting and legal news. Both apps are fee to download, but users must have appropriate login credentials to access the CCH Mobile app.

Content - 5 Stars
The backbone of IntelliConnect relies on search, and a variety of search options are available. The most logical search starting point is the search bar located at the top of the screen. Users simply enter a search term and IntelliConnect displays the results. A tax thesaurus is built into the system, which allows users to enter general tax topic phrases. This helps eliminate erroneous search terms and results.

New for the current year is a categorized view. When users use the search bar, the results are now displayed in categorized groups. This option is turned on by default but may be toggled on or off through a checkbox option at the top of the search results screen. When categorized view is turned on, a list of links is displayed directly above the search results. Users simply click on a link and are taken directly to that category of search results. Currently, each category defaults to a maximum of three results per search. Users may expand these results by choosing an appropriate category and selecting the view all option.

Another popular way to search is through the browse tree on the left part of the screen. This browse tree is largely dependent on the content subscription level and is also generally for users that are more familiar with content location. New for this year, is the ability to create a specific practice area. At the top of the browse tree is a link that allows users to create their own specific tree.

The tree is also included in the search box options at the top of the screen. This allows users to narrow the results to only the practice areas upon which they want to focus, such as state tax or international tax search results only. Also newly introduced is an information button next to each item in the browse tree. This button shows a quick description of the general contents within that level. This addition may prove invaluable to new staff or those new to the IntelliConnect research platform.

Regardless of search preference, results are always ranked by relevancy and displayed in separate tabs, similar to tabbed internet browsers in use today. Recent enhancements have expanded the number of tabs to nine, which allows users to perform up to eight different searches at one time. All searches may be saved to the research folder for later recollection. These saved searches may also be accessed through the CCH Mobile app previously described. Accounting and audit content is currently on IntelliConnect, but Accounting Research Manager is not on IntelliConnect.

Customization - 5 Stars
IntelliConnect offers a variety of customization options, each tied to user login credentials. Each user login may choose the appropriate practice area upon which they focus and create search criteria based upon this. Additionally, each user login may control how the screen is viewed upon login, how search results are displayed, as well as an appropriate font size for on-screen reading.

Perhaps the most useful customization option is through Tracker News. Users have granular control over which news they are most interested in. A full license subscription offers over 100 specific areas of content from which to choose. Once Tracker News is configured, the content is then delivered to the user’s email address at a regular, predetermined interval.

The newly redesigned homepage cannot currently be customized, but the ability to customize this page, along with creating specific dashboard-style screens is a planned enhancement. Also coming in the next few months is the ability to further customize the browser tree and the ability to share documents contained in a user’s research folder.

Integration/Import/Export - 5 Stars
IntelliConnect directly integrates with ProSystem fx Tax regardless of subscription level. The integration provides direct access to a variety of research tools, including the Internal Revenue Code, U.S. Master Tax Guides and Tax Prep Partner Series. ProSystem fx Tax users simply enter the appropriate IntelliConnect login credentials in the research configuration options, and the research tools are automatically accessed. IntelliConnect research may be directly accessed through a toolbar icon or a variety of right-click options within ProSystem fx Tax. The underlying research automatically changes based on the screen and/or fields the user is currently viewing.

All documents within IntelliConnect may be exported as text or Word files as well as be converted to PDF. Specific content may be transferred to other document formats through copy and paste functions. Documents may also be emailed directly to other users of IntelliConnect. This functionality may work well when research responsibilities are shared between staff members and respective level of supervisor.

Help & Support - 5 Stars
IntelliConnect includes a number of Help and support options. The login homepage includes direct links for phone, chat and email support. This support level is only available during normal hours of operation, but extended hours are available during the spring and fall busy seasons. Several self-paced Help options are also available from the homepage. At the top of each screen is a link for program Help with traditional options for navigating the program and working with various search options. Webinar training options are also available, though not all options are free. Most paid webinars are an hour in length and may qualify for continuing education credits.

Updates to the system are automatic and require no end-user interaction. All content is updated as new laws and regulations are generated. IntelliConnect also goes through three enhancement cycles per year. All updates and enhancements are included with the user content license.

Summary & Pricing
IntelliConnect stands out among its competitors in both design and implementation and offers a broad range of research tools. CCH strives to provide tax, accounting and legal professionals with fast answers and results, as well as maintaining a wide range of content. CCH is continually improving its research platform and relies heavily on customer feedback. This feedback has led to many of the adjustments and enhancements recently made to the product.

IntelliConnect is designed for use by firms of all sizes and may be scaled accordingly. Pricing is largely dependent on content subscriptions and starts at $200, which includes the U.S. Master Tax Guide and a variety of custom newsletters. Additional users and content may be added and are price indexed accordingly.

2011 Overall Rating 5

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