2014 Review of AccountantsWorld - Accounting Power

Accounting Power is the new name for the collaborative bookkeeping and client write-up solution which is part of the Accountants World Power Practice suite of applications.  Formerly known as Accounting Relief, this solution provides a web-based bookkeeping application for accounting professionals and clients. 

This solution is an excellent fit for those who need both collaborative (real time) and traditional (monthly batch) write-up capabilities.  The product’s management tools (multi-client dashboards, alerts, and very granular security settings) make this an outstanding tool for firms who function as an outsourced finance department for clients.

Strengths

  • Solid solution for production write-up and collaborative accounting with clients, and tightly integrated with the other solutions in the PowerPractice Suite.
  • The product is designed for heads-down data entry and high volume processing.  Accounting Power has utilities for importing most kinds of standing data and transactions, including import from the PC and online versions of QuickBooks, as well as Sage 50 US (Peachtree).
  • Puts the accountant in total control of the software, and user access can be set for each function and menu option. 
  • The product is only available for purchase from an accounting, bookkeeping, or tax professional, and no services are directly marketed to a firm’s clients.
  • The product includes many advanced features, such as multi-client dashboards, user-programmable alerts, advanced trial balance features, and job costing tools.
  • The product includes features like job costing which are not natively present in any of the other products in this review, as well as a tightly integrated, robust payroll application (Payroll Relief), a practice management solution (Practice Relief) and a web-based document management system and client portal (Cloud Cabinet).

Potential Limitations

  • Does not have direct integration for automatic financial institution/credit card transactions, although data exported from a bank can be manually imported into the software.
  • Like most other products in this review, Accounting Power does not support multiple currencies.
  • Add-ons for specific business management needs, such as sales tax outsourcing, CRM, manufacturing, and inventory which integrate with the data in Accounting Power are not available.
  • User interface is a somewhat boring traditional website menu structure, which may look dry for those accustomed to products with embedded interactive advertising or options for additional features.

Summary and Pricing

“Accounting Power is priced at $149/mo. (or $1,495/yr. in advance) with unlimited client access for first year users.  Renewal pricing is $99/mo. (or $995/yr. in advance), with client access priced at an additional $20/mo. per client.”

Full Review:

Basic System Functions

Accounting Power, formerly known as Accounting Relief, is the core collaborative client bookkeeping application from AccountantsWorld.  The application is tightly integrated with the other products in the PowerPractice Suite, which also includes Payroll Relief, After-the-Fact Payroll, Practice Relief (practice management), Cloud Cabinet (document management), as well as tools for website and online marketing.  The solution does not integrate with many common applications like Bill.com,

The product is more debit and credit oriented than some other products in this category without being difficult to use.  Accounting Power is centered on a traditional double-entry general ledger and general journal, along with multiple subledgers for cash receipts, cash disbursements, sales, purchases, and payroll.  Data can be exported in a single file with all of the subledger data associated with the application.  Because of the tight integration with the other components of the Power Practice suite, most users utilize the entire suite of tools with their client.  The product does not directly integrate with external document management and portal applications like GoFileRoom, ShareFile, or SmartVault, but content can be printed to PDF and uploaded to these applications.

Core Accounting Capabilities

Accounting Power supports cash and accrual basis preparation of financial statements.  Transaction data and standing data can be easily imported from a spreadsheet format.  The accounts payable module supports printing a digitally imaged signature onto checks.  Sales tax is supported, and users can quickly create a check to remit trust funds to taxing authorities, although full outsourcing through partners like Avalara is not supported.  Payroll can be prepared by the client or the accountant using Payroll Relief, and payroll journal entries can be imported from outside payroll providers.  Accounting Power does not currently support multiple currencies.

The configuration of the software is very granular, and there are numerous options on how to segregate duties between the practitioner, staff, and the client in the application.  The product is designed where the books are configured by the accountant, with client access controlled by the outside accountant.  Accounting Power is not available to an individual business except as purchased through an AccountantsWorld accounting professional, and AccountantsWorld does not market products and services to the clients of firms who use their products.

Journal entries from third party applications can be imported from Excel files.  AccountantsWorld does not offer a cloud-based version of its fixed assets application, Fixed Assets Relief (FAR).  FAR is a multi-book complex fixed asset solution, and is sold as an on-premises application for the Microsoft Windows platform.

Day-to-Day Operations

The user interface is very utilitarian, and is designed for speed and efficiency.  Firms can remove unwanted menu options from client and staff access profile and can also change the appearance of the application to match their organization’s color schemes. 

Can import most transaction types as well as standing data, although the application does not have direct integration with financial institutions.  Importing makes it possible for accountant to always be in control of the date through which transactions have been imported.

Accountants can set permissions for client use on a very granular basis.

Management Features

Alerts, dashboard, functional multi-format group-based financial reporting tool.  Formatting settings in product are well suited for virtual CFO’s or traditional write-up practice.  Accounting Power will generate a full set of cash or accrual basis financial statements, including index, report, and templated notes in Word, Excel, or PDF format.  Text documents can be created, modified, and customized, and documents can be arranged in a format which suits the virtual CFO.  Data can also be published to the integrated CyberCabinet document management system.

Budgeting is available and budget-actual reporting is available through the application.  The general reporting is better than average, but custom report settings cannot be memorized and shared across multiple clients, resulting in users having to constantly change settings to filter reports consistently.  Accounting Power does not include inventory management, although job costing is present.  The product could easily be a fit for contractors and consultants, but does not have adequate costing support to be used by manufacturers or distributors who need perpetual inventory tracking and who do not have a separate inventory and manufacturing application.

Integration and Import/Export

Accounting Power has tight integration with the other Power Practice applications, especially the Cloud Cabinet document management and client portal system and Payroll Relief application.  The product also has support for exporting data directly to many popular tax applications.

Simple import from multiple applications is available, including QuickBooks desktop, Sage 50 (Peachtree), or generic data formatted in Excel or CSV format.  Payroll Relief transactions can be exported directly into the desktop version of QuickBooks.

All data can be exported into formatted traditional journals in a comma delimited text format.  There are also tools like the CyberDrop file upload utility which are installed on a local PC to simplify the process of getting supporting data into the Cloud Cabinet document management system.

The PowerPractice suite does not have an ecosystem of add-ins (e.g. inventory, manufacturing, etc.) to support extended functionality like we found in Xero and QuickBooks Online.

Help and Support

All support is US based at the company’s Long Island, New York headquarters.  Support is available via telephone, e-mail, and chat during normal business hours on weekdays, and a staff member is on call for emergency after hours support.  The company also operates user forums and has a robust help site where users can look for guidance on how to handle problems before contacting telephone support.

A built-in feature for instant messaging, Accountant-Client Messaging (ACM) is included, which permits clients and accountants to communicate online in real time without using third party applications like Skype or Lync.

Summary and Pricing

“Accounting Power is priced at $149/mo (or $1,495/yr in advance) with unlimited client access for first year users.  Renewal pricing is $99/mo (or $995/yr in advance), with client access priced at an additional $20/mo per client.”

Strengths

  • Solid solution for production write-up and collaborative accounting with clients, and tightly integrated with the other solutions in the PowerPractice Suite.
  • The product is designed for heads-down data entry and high volume processing.  Accounting Power has utilities for importing most kinds of standing data and transactions, including import from the PC and online versions of QuickBooks, as well as Sage 50 US (Peachtree).
  • Puts the accountant in total control of the software, and user access can be set for each function and menu option. 
  • The product is only available for purchase from an accounting, bookkeeping, or tax professional, and no services are directly marketed to a firm’s clients.
  • The product includes many advanced features, such as multi-client dashboards, user-programmable alerts, advanced trial balance features, and job costing tools.
  • The product includes features like job costing which are not natively present in any of the other products in this review, as well as a tightly integrated, robust payroll application (Payroll Relief), a practice management solution (Practice Relief) and a web-based document management system and client portal (Cloud Cabinet).

Potential Limitations

  • Does not have direct integration for automatic financial institution/credit card transactions, although data exported from a bank can be manually imported into the software.
  • Like most other products in this review, Accounting Power does not support multiple currencies.
  • Add-ons for specific business management needs, such as sales tax outsourcing, CRM, manufacturing, and inventory which integrate with the data in Accounting Power are not available.
  • User interface is a somewhat boring traditional website menu structure, which may look dry for those accustomed to products with embedded interactive advertising.

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