2012 Review of CCH ProSystem fx Practice Management

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CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business — ProSystem fx Practice Management
800-739-9998
www.cchgroup.com

From the July 2012 review of Practice Management Systems.


Best Fit:
Accounting firms of all sizes currently utilizing other ProSystem fx desktop solutions or firms looking for a standalone practice management solution

Strengths

  • Fully contained solution, without the need for purchasing additional modules
  • Fully customizable to meet the needs of firms of all sizes and client focus
  • Strong reporting options including ability to automatically run reports
  • Driven by dashboards for each user level

Potential Limitations

  • Native integrations are limited
  • SaaS solution available, but currently only works with fellow SaaS products and not desktop solutions

ProSystem fx Practice Management is part of the ProSystem fx Suite from CCH. Built solely for accountants, ProSystem fx Practice Management is offered in three tiers, Basic, Office and Enterprise. The core functions of all three levels are identical. The Basic Edition is limited in reporting capabilities compared to other editions and does not include budgeting or client marketing tracking capabilities. The Enterprise Edition is intended for larger organizations and is reliant on the Microsoft SQL platform. The following review focuses solely on the Office Edition of ProSystem fx Practice Management.

BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS - 5 Stars

ProSystem fx Practice Management is built on the .Net and SQL Express platforms provided by Microsoft. These platforms help ensure a sturdy underlying database solution as well as a scalable solution to meet the needs of accounting firms of all sizes. ProSystem fx Practice Management is driven predominantly by dashboard technology. Dashboards are modifiable and available for every major function and position with a typical accounting firm.

ProSystem fx Practice Management has integrated tools that provide users with a suitable customer relationship management system. Nearly any type of client contact data may be entered and tracked within ProSystem fx Practice Management, including prospective client data. The included client dashboard can be set to show detailed contact and billing information about each client and allows for direct emailing capabilities. When sending batch emails, ProSystem fx Practice Management automatically includes client email addresses in the BCC filed to ensure adequate privacy is maintained.

TIME MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES - 4.5 Stars

ProSystem fx Practice Management features an intuitive time entry screen. Users simply enter the client name and the appropriate service code. All time posted is immediately available for billing purposes and the screen details the billable, non-billable and total time posted for the current day. Employees may also view their time entry through a calendar view to ensure that appropriate time is posted for each day worked. Time may be entered in batch for multiple employees by those with adequate user rights. Timers are available and run as a separate program. Multiple timers may be running simultaneously and users may enter basic time entry information that will automatically be imported into ProSystem fx Practice Management.

Project tracking is included with ProSystem fx Practice Management and allows full customization in the setup of each project. Project templates may be setup as detailed as necessary to meet firm needs, though more detailed project setup will generally result in better reporting capabilities. All project templates created may be attached to clients individually or in batches and may be set to automatically generate upon changing to a future time period.

INVOICING FUNCTIONS - 4.5 Stars

The ProSystem fx Practice Management invoice system is designed to produce multiple bills at one time, but still allows each individual invoice to be modified as necessary. Each invoice may be customized within the library of templates available. Firms can modify these templates further with the built-in editor. Invoices may also be set to immediately post to accounts receivable or be forwarded to another person for final review and processing. Final invoices may be viewed within the system and access to the underlying time is accessible through double clicking the respective line items on the invoice. Accounts receivable is straightforward and payments, credits and prepayments may be applied at any time. ProSystem fx Practice Management also will generate deposit slips based on current payments received and print out a deposit slip with the appropriate MICR encoding.

MANAGEMENT FEATURES - 5 Stars

ProSystem fx Practice Management includes several dashboard views for managers and partners. Several additional dashboards are currently in development and will be included in future releases. The manager and partner level dashboards allow quick access to client accounts receivable data. Alerts may also be set to notify partners or other staff of upcoming due dates, any time budget issues or WIP hours and cost levels exceeding predetermined thresholds.

All staff may be assigned user rights and are limited in viewing data within the system as appropriate. Each staff member has a dashboard that can be customized based on user rights and shows all projects currently assigned. Staff members also have access to an In/Out board to determine current staff availability.

ProSystem fx Practice Management has strong reporting capabilities and allows for fully custom reports based on firm needs. The included report writer can create and modify virtually any report and all generated reports may be exported to Microsoft Excel or PDF formats. Reports may be grouped together and report cues can be set to automatically generate reports and forward to staff and clients via email.

INTEGRATION & DATA MANAGEMENT - 4.25 Stars

ProSystem fx Practice Management integrates directly with ProSystem fx Tax. Upon selecting a tax return project, ProSystem fx Tax is launched and the appropriate client file is opened. A timer may also be set to automatically start upon launching ProSystem fx Tax. Any changes made to client contact and address information is automatically synched between ProSystem fx Practice Management and ProSystem fx Tax.

Native third-party integration is also built into ProSystem fx Practice Management. Push integration is provided to Microsoft Outlook to ensure uniform client contact information. Integration is also provided with Sage Abra Payroll and Sage Mas 90/200/500 General Ledger. Other third-party software may be integrated, but is dependent on creating a custom interface to bridge the data.

HELP/SUPPORT - 4.75 Stars

CCH provides a variety of help and support options for ProSystem fx Practice Management. Traditional help is available from the drop-down menu. Direct links are also available for web, chat and email support. Telephone support is also offered. A searchable online knowledgebase and downloadable program updates are provided through the ProSystem fx Suite website hosted by CCH. All mentioned support options are included with the annual license cost of ProSystem fx Practice Management. Supplemental training is available for additional fees and includes on-demand web training, onsite training, virtual online assistance and other specialized training options.

SUMMARY & PRICING

ProSystem fx Practice Management provides an effective platform for managing time, expense and project management within accounting firms. Built on top of a sturdy database, ProSystem fx Practice Management can handle needs of firms of all sizes and client focus. The Office Edition is priced around $3,500 for a 5 user license. Additional users may be added at $220 for each user. The Basic Edition is priced at $770 for 2 users. Annual renewals are priced at 35% of original purchase price and include all support options.

2012 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars

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