CCH Small Firm Services – ATX
From the May 2012 review of professional tax compliance systems (traditional workflow).
Best Fit: Full-service tax & accounting firms with individual and business entity clients, seeking a suite-approach to their professional programs, with options for payroll and wage compliance, as well as automated tax return features.
- Compliance for all entities including federal and state plus local forms
- W-2/1099 and wage reporting options
- Form and interview-style input
- Available bundles for Workflow, Research and Accounting functions
- Integrated AR management and credit card acceptance
- Does not offer client portals or online tax organizers
- Limited tools for multi-preparer collaboration and review
The ATX line of professional tax compliance and accounting solutions, offered by CCH Small Firm Services, includes applications for preparation of returns for all taxable entities, trial balance, payroll, fixed asset management, client accounting and practice management tools. The system includes tools for paperless tax engagements, automation of data entry, unlimited e-filing, options for bank products, built-in accounts receivable management and credit card payment acceptance.
Core Product Functions/Features - 5 Stars
ATX is available in three packages, starting with a 1040 and three states version, and moving through the most comprehensive MAX package, which provides compliance for 1040, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S, 706, 709, 990 and 5500 returns and amended versions, with all states and unlimited e-filing. An optional Ohio Cities compliance utility is offered separately. The program supports multi-state 1040 returns. The MAX package includes integrated payroll compliance forms and tax research from CCH. ATX also includes tools for managing kiddie tax returns, determining AMT, comparing MFJ vs. MFS and managing self-employment tax.
The tax program’s home screen is the Return Manager, which centers on a client list that is based on the user’s access rights or assigned group. The spreadsheet view displays summary client and return data, with tabs for accessing more detailed accounts receivable functions, such as viewing aging and billing information. Additional tabs are available for accessing e-filing functions, bank products, data rollover, preparer management and the Tax Warehouse, a centralized overview of return details such as AGI, income, tax, refund, amount due, credits, and exemptions.
When working on client tax returns, ATX offers a choice of data entry using an interview process or entering data directly on the form. The interview format offers less experienced users a guided format that helps ensure that all tasks are performed. All related forms, worksheets and schedules associated with the current return can be accessed from tabs at the top of the screen, and new forms can be added from the forms library menu. All forms automatically calculate data as it is entered, with preparers able to drill down from the primary return.
Many of the basic data information fields include selection lists that will automatically populate previously entered information, such as employer, 1099 payees or K-1 partners, along with their basic address and TIN data.
Paperless Workflow - 4.25 Stars
ATX has offered an optional paperless workflow tool for several years now. Previously called Scan&Fill, the system has been redesigned with a new interface and enhanced with a faster processing core and expanded forms set. This new PaperlessPLUS module is geared toward giving tax firms an easy-to-use document management utility that lets users store client source documents, returns, cover letters and even email communications and other documents in a single electronic client folder. PaperlessPLUS automatically backs up stored data, and also includes user-level access rights, tools for emailing password-protected items from within the program, and the ability to integrate with electronic signature pads. Users can also make use of other privacy features, such as suppressing of SSNs/TINs, and the ability to mask other sensitive information when preparing client copies.