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CFS Tax Software, Inc. — CFS 2005 Payroll System

the Oct. 2006 Review of Practice Management Systems

Software’s W2/1099 Payroll System is a mature product that offers support
for paperless (electronic) and paper print wage and information return preparation
for most versions of Form(s) 1099, 1098, W-2 and associated transmittals. CFS
subscribers who are familiar with the interface, which is common to all CFS
programs, will quickly feel at home with the W2/1099 Payroll System ($109).
It consists of a basic program with the following add-ons: E-file (which enables
electronic filing to IRS, SSA and supported states for $99), an After-the-Fact
941/940 program for $99, and a very handy Payroll Return Corrector, which supports
corrections to previously filed forms for $39. A network upgrade costs $100.

Henry M. Anding, a sole practitioner from Los Angeles, selected CFS based
on a friend’s recommendation. He has about 500 clients and thinks CFS
offers an excellent product. “Clients call me every payroll period now
— every two weeks — and have me calculate their net pay and deposits
necessary,” Anding says. “I’m helping my clients do their
payroll and can stay right on top of their immediate payroll.” Anding
also appreciates the ability to download the program online so he no longer
has to deal with program CDs.

Usability/Navigation — 4.5 Stars
The CFS Payroll System features an interface divided into three sections or
panes: a client list at the top left, completed forms list to the right, and
a comprehensive list of available forms that includes a printable fax cover
sheet, invoice utility, memo and a W-2/1099 client solicitation letter. Navigation
is fast and easy, and the program is quickly learned, making it second nature
after preparation of a user’s first return. Users will likely appreciate
the simple layout of the program, but the addition of a sortable, on-screen
client listing would be helpful. For firms with a large number of clients, sortable
listings are a necessity to successful program operation. CFS noted that a sortable
listing is available for each client’s employees/payees.

Configuration options allow the user to control system behavior in areas such
as the recalculation of social security taxes withheld and decimal key defaults
in data entry. When creating a new form, W2/1099 prompts the user to import
the data or to select the option to manually enter data. This is smart behavior
and to the point. Client data can be entered directly into on-screen form replicas
or transferred from the 941/940 program, which includes a handy paycheck withholding
calculator for manual check entry and automatically calculates FICA withholding
when entering payroll into the CFS Payroll System. Forms-based data entry features
color-coded fields that show whether information was entered by the system (via
calculations or transferred from supporting documents) or entered directly by
the user. CFS W2/1099 provides applicable instructions at the bottom of the
screen for the active data-entry field — a helpful add-on that eliminates
any unnecessary guesswork while quickly teaching those new to the process of
Form(s) W-2 and 1099 preparation.

Reporting & Import/Export Capabilities — 4.5 Stars
W2/1099 users will not be able to import files unless they also have the 941/940
program. No support is available for import from other file formats such as
spreadsheets, *.CSV files, comma- or tab-delimited files, or other database
or columnar files. CFS noted that the CFS After-the-Fact 941/940 program supports
QuickBooks as well as ASCII importing of employees, employers and paychecks.
If the user also owns W2/1099, recipient information may be copied into the
W2/1099 program. CFS provides reconciliation and client summary reports, and
prepares Form(s) W-2, W-3, 1099-MISC, 1099-SA, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-A, 1099-B,
1099-C, 1099-PATR, 1099-R, 1099-S, 1098, 1098-T, and 1096. It also prepares
the following state forms: A1-R/A1-APR (AZ), CT-W3 (CT), G-1003 (GA), IL-W-3
(IL), MW 508 (MD), NJ-W-3M (NJ) and VA-6 (VA).

Support for Paperless Transmission — 4.5 Stars
Using the E-file module, users can electronically file W-2s and 1099s with the
IRS and SSA. The E-file module provides support for preparation and printing
of Form(s) 4419, 4804, 6857, 8508 and California state forms.

Help/Training — 4.5 Stars
The CFS Payroll System features online integrated Help features and an indexed
Windows Help utility. It provides a “Tip of the Day” upon startup
(which can be turned off for very experienced users), mouse-over button descriptions,
and line-specific instructions for the active line while in the forms-based
entry mode. A tutorial is also included, along with a wizard for the creation
of cover letters, envelopes and invoices. Program support is available via the
Web, traditional telephone support, and through seminars and training. Updates
are available online, and the program can be configured to automatically check
for online updates.

2006 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars