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Cabinet NG, Inc. — CNG-SAFE

From the April/May 2006 Review of
Document Management Systems

Cabinet NG – Shared Access Filing Environment (CNG-SAFE) is a document management
system designed primarily for the SMB (small and midsize business) market. It
provides a comprehensive collection of features and functions that meet the
needs of this market. CNG-SAFE is targeted primarily at the small firm and is
not an accountant-centric solution, per our standard of measure for this attribute.

Greg Crabtree is the CEO of Crabtree, Rowe & Berger, PC (,
a 15-employee firm based in Huntsville, Alabama. The firm offers a balance of
business consulting, tax services and traditional financial statement preparation
to clients throughout the southeast. “Our ability to enhance the profitability
of closely held businesses wins us clients over a broad area,” Crabtree
says. “And the ability to work remotely has allowed us to maintain a long-term
relationship with clients regardless of location.”

Crabtree says they were approached by several vendors about document imaging,
but he found CNG-SAFE’s presentation of features to be more thorough with
practical solutions to document control. “CNG-SAFE is very logically organized
and very simple to use,” he says. “My biggest concern with going
digital was the ability to effectively retrieve the information once it was
scanned. We had looked at just using Adobe to create folder structures, but
that process did not adequately protect files from being deleted or moved by
sloppy user actions.” Crabtree says they are currently in phase one of
implementation, which is to convert existing files. He expects that phase to
be completed this summer, after which they will begin to use the file routing
and control features of live projects.

Installation & Configuration — 4 Stars
The system is based on client/server technology and requires a Windows 2000
or higher server. Estimated storage requirements for a four-drawer file cabinet
are 1GB. Obviously this requirement is dependent on the volume and nature of
the documents you store. The vendor estimates that setup can be accomplished
with approximately two to three hours of administrative setup support. The assumption
is that your client/server technology is already in place. No ASP (Application
Service Provider)/hosting option is available.

User Interface — 4 Stars
My first impression of the interface was that there is a lot of information
on the primary display screen. As I learned more about the capabilities the
system offers, it quickly became apparent why various content items were appropriately
displayed. The benefit is they have provided the user with more opportunities
to manage the filing and retrieving of documents. The basic model for document
organization is a cabinet | folders | tabs | documents hierarchy. The tabs typically
represent workflows, such as tax preparation, audit, etc.

Integration — 4 Stars
CNG-SAFE is designed for a horizontal market, not exclusively for an accountant-centric
market. Therefore, there are no direct links to accountant-specific software
applications “out of the box.” However, the system does offer the
ability to develop interfaces as appropriate through its API (Application Program
Interface). Using the API in conjunction with *.CSV (Comma Separated Value)
file formats, interfaces can be developed from a practical perspective. Direct
integration with MS Outlook and MS Office is provided, and documents/files can
be imported directly via the MS Explorer window. More attuned to the specific
needs of the accountant market is the company’s CNG-Books module, which
provides a very unique capability for direct integration with QuickBooks that
allows you to link documents to specific transactions. Custom *.PDF annotation
tools are provided, thereby potentially reducing the need to provide Adobe Acrobat
for all your users.

Training & Support
Cabinet NG provides a comprehensive array of support services ranging from remote
training and technical support to on-site training and system configuration

Workflow & Document Tracking — 4 Stars
The system includes the functionality to automate the routing of documents/files
using pre-defined workflow rules, or by simply routing documents in an unstructured
path as necessary. This feature includes an “inbox” to show inbound
documents. You can also route to a group and, when a member of the group takes
control of the document, it is removed from the rest of the group members’
inbox. This can be useful in an environment where you have a pool of tax returns
to be prepared by a team on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can add workflow
notes to documents that are being routed.

Security — 4 Stars
A complete set of security features is provided including user/group-level permissions
at the cabinet, folder and document level. The system administrator can establish
a “sensitivity” at the folder level that filters who has permission
to access the documents in the folder. The system maintains an audit trail of
document activity. The files are stored in the traditional Windows file directory
structure and can be accessed or deleted without going through the CNG-SAFE
software. Cabinet NG recommends that server administrators use standard Windows
security practices to prevent unauthorized access.

Pricing — 4 Stars
CNG-SAFE is priced at $995 per user license with an annual maintenance fee of
20 percent. An optional technical support contract is available for a fee of
$350 annually for five users. A single QuickBooks interface is provided with
the base CNG-Books system.

Relative Value — 4 Stars
Cabinet NG provides a strong feature set for the small firm, despite the fact
that it is not specifically targeted to the tax and accounting practice. The
strength of its document management capabilities is impressive. The QuickBooks
link is a bonus feature for many smaller firms that use QuickBooks.

2006 Overall Rating — 4 Stars