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Thomson Tax & Accounting — Fixed Assets CS

From the Dec. 2007 Review of
Fixed Asset Systems

As a part of the Thomson CS Professional Suite of accounting and practice management
applications, Fixed Assets CS is designed for use by accounting professionals
who manage depreciable assets for multiple clients, with the ability to track
subsidiary units, cost centers, geographic locations and other asset groupings.
The system provides methods for tracking all standard depreciation methods and
custom methods, with multiple books per asset. An optional asset inventory module
is also offered. Fixed Assets CS integrates with other systems in the suite,
including write-up and tax prep. Pricing for the advanced asset management system
starts at about $1,100.

Navigation/Ease-of-Use – 5 Stars
Fixed Assets CS sports an excellent user interface that is consistent with the
other programs in the CS Suite, making adaptation of the program very easy for
users of any of the other programs. The systems also provide user customization
options that enable individuals to tailor the interface to more closely meet
their specific needs. The primary interface for Fixed Assets CS gives users
access to core client lists, features, tools and reporting options through icons
and pull-down menus. Client lists are sortable, filterable and searchable, as
are the asset lists for each client and client activity.

For most navigation tasks, a vertical panel on the left provides a logical
and easy-to-follow file structure that speeds information lookup and makes data
entry simple with selection lists and menus for selecting depreciation types,
asset types and other options. Several wizards further ease data entry for many
tasks, such as the Method/Life wizard for initial asset setup and the Disposal
Wizard for asset dispositions. Users can also easily look up tax forms or activities
from the file folder menu. The Asset List window provides additional options
for managing individual assets. For multiple asset acquisitions, items can be
copied or users can create templates, and the program supports asset divisions,
mass dispositions, like-kind exchanges, and other end-of-asset-life treatments.
The system can also be set up at a client’s location, with data transmitted
electronically back to the accounting practice for integration with write-up,
tax and other programs.

Management Features – 5 Stars
Fixed Assets CS has a powerful database that enables massive asset bases and
the ability to assign them to groups and subgroups. With support for thousands
of clients and subsidiary units with thousands of assets each, Fixed Assets
CS can satisfy the needs of most firms and their clients. The program has standard
books for tax, all 50 states, AMT and ACE, and it automatically performs calculations
for these methods as data is entered. Additionally, in-house books are available,
and the system offers the ability to create unlimited user-defined depreciation
methods, which can be set to calculate based on IRS tables or formulas on a
per client basis. Furthermore, the program can be set to calculate depreciation
by specific period, such as monthly, quarterly or annually.

Fixed Assets CS supports MACRS, ACRS, straight-line, sum-of-the-years’
digits, amortization, units of production, 200/150/125 declining balance percentages,
plus up to 99 user-defined depreciation methods. It includes state 179 limits
and bonus depreciation. The program can automatically assign methods and lifes
for assets, depending upon the asset class selected by the user. It includes
more than 40 such classes for regular, farm, Indian Reservation, Indian Reservation
Farm and governmental entities. Fixed Assets CS also includes calculation capabilities
for California C corporation depreciation methods. An optional asset inventory
system is also available, providing enhanced asset management with support for
multiple geographic locations.

Integration – 4.5 Stars
The Thomson CS Professional Suite uses a singular database across all of the
key financial applications, which reduces data entry and also the potential
for data inconsistencies. This enables instant updating of client files and
financial data across all programs, including their GL in the write-up system,
and it makes tax preparation almost automatic when using UltraTax CS. Integration
with the vendor’s FileCabinet CS document management solution enables
digital storage and retrieval, as well as document output into PDF format. The
systems also generally share similar interfaces, easing familiarity with the
programs. Fixed Assets CS also offers data export to the RIA GoSystem tax preparation
system, and data can be exported or imported into plain text.

Reporting – 5 Stars
Fixed Assets CS includes excellent reporting functions that are flexible and
easy to use, and it provides quick access to output. Among the system’s
customizable, built-in reports are asset detail, asset information, asset listing
reports, basis adjustments, depreciation projections, journal entries, comparative
reports, MACRS Convention, asset labels, future depreciation summaries, summary
reports by group and location, and property tax listings. It also offers the
ability to print completed forms 4255, 4562, 4797 and FASB109, in addition to
the form 3468 worksheet.

Help/Support – 5 Stars
Fixed Assets CS includes a well-designed Help system with content-sensitive
assistance and right-click menus, while online support options include a Knowledgebase,
newsletters, filing guides, marketing tools, news and access to the ARNE2 online
user community where CS users can seek specific usage and tax and depreciation
treatment advice from other professionals. Phone and web-based support is included
in the cost of the program, and training options are available.

Fixed Assets CS makes managing large asset bases for many clients an achievable
task, with strong customizable reporting options and other features like wizards
that greatly simplify many processes. With its total integration with write-up,
tax and other systems in the Thomson CS Professional Suite, it also automatically
transfers data to these systems, reducing data entry and errors. The program
can work as a stand-alone system, but users of other programs in the CS Professional
Suite will benefit most significantly through the use of Fixed Assets CS.

2007 Overall Rating : 5 Stars