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TaxWise — TaxWise Fixed Assets

From the December 2005 Review Fixed
Asset Management Software

A newcomer to the fixed assets field is TaxWise, a longtime player in the tax
preparation market. The TaxWise Fixed Assets system integrates with the vendor’s
1065 and 1120 programs, taking a tax-based approach to asset management, enabling
professional accountants to manage large numbers of assets throughout their
life, compute and compare various book depreciation values, perform projected
depreciations, and apply the most beneficial treatments. While the system does
not offer some of the higher-end functionality of other applications, it provides
a basic approach to the asset management process that can help a firm automate
this task and move away from spreadsheet methods, which could make it worthwhile
for firms using tax preparation software from this vendor. TaxWise Fixed Assets
costs $295 for a site license that can be installed on a network or on multiple
workstations. It is also included along with the TaxWise Trial Balance program
at no additional cost in the vendor’s tax preparation bundle, TaxWise
Power Accounting. TaxWise has also recently introduced a write-up application
that integrates with its tax system.

Allen B. Powers (
is a CPA with two employees and some additional part-time staff during tax season.
His firm prepares approximately 1,200 individual and 250 business returns (1120,
1120S; 1065 and 1041). Powers says he selected TaxWise Fixed Assets because
he was told that his assets from another program could be transferred. “I
mainly need a fixed assets program for the ability to generate book depreciation
for financial statements,” he says. “This program is set up to handle
book depreciation just the way I want it to, because sometimes I have book basis
different from tax basis, and the program allows separate input for tax and
book amounts.”

Powers admits that he hasn’t used the program extensively but has been
very pleased with what he has used. He has had good experience with technical
support: “Support is great and very personal. If you find something that
needs to be changed or you would prefer it to be changed, they will respond
very quickly.” He also notes that the reports are very flexible. “Anyone
who wants a more detailed depreciation program that has a very low learning
curve, this is the program,” he says. “You can be up and running
immediately without having to read through technical manuals. Its very user
friendly, and now is the time to implement such a program before the busy season

TaxWise Fixed Assets opens to a very empty screen that provides a few icons
for primary tasks across the top, along with pull-down menu lists with additional
options. The remainder of the screen is blank until a task has been selected.
To work with asset data, a client must first be selected, which is performed
with the Activate A Client icon (“Open Client” would be more intuitive).
The resulting client selection list is rudimentary, providing access to existing
clients with options to sort by number or name. The client asset list is a little
more difficult to find, but it does exist and can be brought up by selecting
the Asset Entry icon, then clicking the Choose or Add from List button on the
new asset screen, which brings up a window titled List Forms for Selection.
This list uses a collapsible menu tree that organizes assets under form 4562.
Assets are listed by description and ordered by asset number only; the list
is not sortable, filterable or searchable.

Within an asset’s record, which is also the primary entry screen used
for entering new assets, the workscreen offers various entry fields and notes
for data such as date placed in service and cost or basis, and selection lists
are available for choosing method. In addition to the data-entry method described
above, the system offers a Quick Asset Entry screen, which provides a more streamlined
view of the asset’s books, cost, salvage value and depreciation information.

TaxWise Fixed Assets can handle any number of clients and probably could be
used to manage an unlimited number of assets per client, but with no sorting
or search capabilities in the asset list, it could be cumbersome to do so. The
system supports more than 30 general property types, along with a variety of
depreciation methods and averaging conventions, including MACRS, ACRS, straight-line,
Modified straight-line, Declining Balance, Sum-of-the-Year’s Digits, and
support for Indian reservations and farms. Up to three books can be managed
and viewed on-screen at a given time: Federal, State and Book. The program offers
no support for barcode scanning technologies.

TaxWise Fixed Assets integrates with TaxWise’s 1065 and 1120 preparation
programs, allowing both import and export of data between the systems. It can
export some reports to *.PDF file, but cannot output data into any formats easily
mapped to GL programs or to competing tax systems. It also does not offer import
functions other than from the vendor’s tax program.

REPORTING – 3.5 Stars
The program’s reporting feature offers a little more functionality, with
pre-built options for depreciation reports, disposed asset schedules, asset
details, and asset summaries, along with the ability to produce a worksheet
for form 4562 and the ability to view without printing or output to *.PDF format.
Little report customization is available.

The program’s Help utility is not accessible from the main interface but
is available from most other screens, offering task-specific Help from the traditional
Windows Help utility. Online assistance includes a knowledgebase, downloads
and other options. The vendor offers a variety of CPE-eligible training options,
as well as its very resourceful TaxWise TV educational video programs. Customer
support is included with the system.

TaxWise Fixed Assets is a new addition to the company’s suite of accounting
and tax products and, as such, the vendor still has some work to do toward making
it as functional as its tax preparation software. Despite its limitations, however,
the program offers basic support for automating asset management and depreciation
functions and is much more beneficial than using a manual spreadsheet approach.
The capabilities of the system, coupled with its low pricing, make it best suited
for servicing clients with non-complex moderate or light asset bases. Professional
firms already using TaxWise preparation software will realize the greatest benefit
due to its integration with the 1120 and 1065 modules.

2005 Overall Rating – 3.5 Stars