From the June/July 2008 Issue
Well it’s that time of year again! Summer has arrived and is passing
as swiftly as usual. Hopefully, by now you have wrapped up the loose ends of
another “busy season” and are starting to focus on what you can
do to improve your processes. We’re here to help! In this issue of our
perennial review of document management systems (DMS), we will get you up to
date on what’s new with this constantly evolving technology and highlight
the features of many of the best selling solutions on the market.
Once again, we have determined that it is appropriate to separate the review
into two distinct categories: document management systems (in this issue) and
document storage systems (coming in the August 2008 issue). (See www.CPATechAdvisor.com/go/1627
for last year’s document storage review.) The primary difference between
the two is that document management systems have a greater breadth of functionality
to automate all aspects of the flow of an electronic document, whereas the document
storage systems are typically more narrowly limited to document archiving and
retrieval. I’ll be the first to admit that the line is often blurred.
So before you start your research of alternative solutions, you should take
some time to develop a list of what functionality is most important for your
The following seven categories have been established for breaking down this
review of the document management solutions:
Usability – refers to the ease of learning and working
with the system, including the user interface, depth of functionality and
intuitiveness. Additional important features that fall into this category
include the document indexing methodology, ease of document retrieval, and
viewing and annotation tools.
Scanning – the features and functions that facilitate
the scanning of paper documents including OCR (optical character recognition),
bar-coding, automatic bookmarking, document organization and data transfer.
Integration – the ability to file and retrieve documents
and files from other applications including tax software, workpaper software,
MS Office and Outlook. The availability of integration tools is also an important
attribute in this category.
Workflow automation – the features and functions that
automate routine workflow tasks such as document routing, electronic signatures,
checklists, review notes, etc.
Client Portal – refers to the capability to post documents
and files on a secure website for client access. Portal capabilities can be
classified into three basic categories: document presentation, file transfer
and real-time data posting.
Technology – identifies whether or not the DMS software
serves as a front end to the Windows Explorer filing system or utilizes a
dedicated SQL database for organizing, managing and securing the documents.
We also evaluate whether or not the system is available as a web-hosted solution.
Pricing/Overall Value – examines the pricing model
relative to the overall value of the DMS solution.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
- Acct1st Technology Group, LLC
- Acct1st has had a busy year building out its “tax
productivity suite” based upon client feedback. The vendor continues
to brand Acct1st as the solution for “$1.00 a day” due to
the fact that licensing is priced at $365 per user, per year. They offer
the option to deploy the system in-house or you can subscribe to their
- Cabinet NG, Inc. – CNG-SAFE /CNG-Books
- Cabinet NG has released its latest version of CNG-SAGE
(6.0) this past January with major enhancements. They made a significant
shift in both the user interface and the technology by moving to a .NET
platform and a SQL back end. This alone will provide the capability to
continue to enhance the features and functionality of the system.
- CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
– ProSystem fx Document
- It has been about three years now since CCH acquired
the ProSystem fx Document software, and it’s clear that
the system is continuing to evolve as a core component of the ProSystem
fx product strategy through its direct integration with the suite’s
Practice, Engagement and Tax products.
- Computhink – ViewWise
- Computhink falls in the category of “horizontal”
DMS solutions that have the flexibility to meet the needs of many different
industries including banking, healthcare, education, manufacturing, government
and financial services.
- Doc.It Corp. – Doc.It
- The most important theme I picked up on during my
review of the Doc.It solution and in the discussions with their management
team is that they really emphasize a focus on “process” and
the role the DMS should play in working with and protecting the integrity
of your electronic documents and files.
- Interwoven – WorkSite
- I think the most important point to make about Interwoven
is that it is a world-class solution that has the depth and breadth of
functionality to transform your entire practice to a truly digital model.
- Laserfiche – Laserfiche 8
- Laserfiche was established in 1987 to provide enterprise-level
DMS solutions to many different industries including corporate, healthcare,
nonprofit and the municipal government market.
- SourceLink From Personable –
A Niche Solution For QuickBooks Users
- SIDEBAR: SourceLink is a good example of a niche
solution for document management. Unlike the other products in our review,
which are designed as full enterprise systems that can meet all of the
DMS needs of a tax and accounting firm, SourceLink is focused on direct
and deep integration with QuickBooks.
- Thomson Reuters – GoFileRoom
- GoFileRoom continues to evolve in its depth and
breadth of functionality based upon feedback and input from accounting
and tax firms of all sizes. An interesting change in Thomson’s approach
to marketing GoFileRoom is to brand it for two distinct markets: GoFileRoom
CS and GoFileRoom ES.