From the August 2008 Review of Engagement and Trial Balance Systems
ProSystem fx Trial Balance provides a dedicated trial balance system capable of importing data from most accounting systems and offering a core working papers solution that can be used as a stand-alone system or as an integrated part of CCH’s ProSystem fx suite, which includes tax, engagement, research, practice management and other professional accounting programs. CCH also offers an engagement solution (reviewed on page XX of this issue) that provides trial balance functionality along with extensive workflow management and collaboration tools. Pricing for the Trial Balance system starts at about $1,275, although discounts are often available.
EASE OF USE — 4 Stars
The ProSystem fx Trial Balance system can be used to support any number of clients and subsidiary departments or divisions, including nonprofit entities and consolidated corporation engagements where multiple units are combined into one company. It shares a similar interface to the products in the ProSystem fx suite, providing intuitive navigation options and menus, with customization capabilities that enable users to set many preferences. The program includes assistive wizards during setup, along with trial balance and financial statement templates and the ability to set up standardized lead schedules, classifications, groupings and sub-groupings, easing first year engagements while allowing firms to maintain their preferred formatting and workflow practices. An on-screen diagnostics function helps spot potential data errors.
ProSystem fx Trial Balance provides spreadsheet-based grids for data entry and review, and allows direct importation of data from write-up or client accounting systems. These spreadsheets can also be customized, and the system allows viewing multiple workpapers at the same time, a feature enhanced for users with multiple monitors, but appreciated by others, as well. The program provides more than 30 industry-specific ratios for analysis, while users can add any number of custom ratios. Account numbers can contain up to 40 characters and support segmenting. Additional customization options allow users to configure screen displays to specific engagement requirements, the formula mode and the ability to make supplemental schedules for income and balance sheet statements.
TRIAL BALANCE — 5 Stars
With drilldown functionality from financial statement descriptions and balances, users can quickly get to underlying entries by account, lead or sub-lead. Users can also combine accounts. ProSystem fx Trial Balance can maintain up to 11 years of account information and supports various entry types, including adjusting, passed adjusting, state and federal tax, reclassification, eliminating entries, recurring and intentionally unbalanced entries, while providing source journals for cash receipts, disbursements and general journals.
FINANCIAL STATEMENT PREPARATION — 4 Stars
In addition to full sets of tailorable financials that are automatically generated by the Trial Balance program, 70 customizable, pre-built standard reports and workpapers are also available that can be output into Word or Excel. The program also includes lead schedules, trial balance and material variance options, and support for multiple period types and interim calculations.
DATA IMPORT/EXPORT/INTEGRATION — 4 Stars
ProSystem fx Trial Balance offers import capability for obtaining data in QuickBooks and most other business accounting systems and trial balance programs. It provides direct integration with the ProSystem fx Write-Up and Tax packages, as well. As previously noted, reports and financials can be produced in Word or Excel formats, which enables total control and manipulation of all formatting components, including the inclusion of graphical elements. Adding further to its Microsoft Office capabilities, the program’s Dynamic Data Exchange function can keep reports and financials produced in Word or Excel automatically updated as data within the trial balance is edited.
ProSystem fx Trial Balance is geared toward firms with established workflow processes and whose year-end engagements may involve more complex entities. The system offers excellent integration and dynamic linking with Microsoft programs, as well as the ability to import data from virtually any client accounting or write-up system.
2008 Overall Rating: 4 Stars