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BNA Software — BNA Fixed Assets Desktop Pro

From the Dec. 2006 Review of Fixed Asset Management Systems

BNA Software offers a variety of fixed asset management solutions, including stand-alone, server-based and web-based versions. BNA Fixed Assets DesktopPro, which is primarily geared as a stand-alone system, is reviewed here. Intended for use on a single computer but with optional support for multiple user licenses, the highly scalable DesktopPro is nevertheless a powerhouse, especially with its Open Timeline function, which enables the user to track asset depreciation changes through multiple periods.

The system allows the management of up to 10,000 assets per company for any number of companies, subsidiaries, divisions or other organizational units. Other BNA systems offer greater asset support, although the use of entity subdivisions is an easy way to increase capacity without upgrading. The system allows attachment of images to asset records and includes a full audit trail, as well as the ability to use multiple preformatted and customizable books, all traditional depreciation and calculation methods, as well as the ability to create custom calculation treatments. It also includes print-ready fileable tax forms and worksheets. BNA also develops asset management applications for organizations with larger or more complex asset bases, as well as the BNA Asset Inventory program, which provides enhanced controls for regulatory compliance, greater database support and the ability to use barcode scanning technologies. Pricing for BNA Fixed Assets DesktopPro starts at $2,345. A non-Pro version of Fixed Assets Desktop starts at $1,595.

DesktopPro uses wizards and a variety of templates to assist users when initially setting up assets and while performing other data entry, in addition to helping when performing asset changes during acquisitions, dispositions or other asset life events. Among other things, these wizards help the user select the appropriate treatment for various assets, including types, depreciable life, correct method, rate, convention and bonus depreciation. Guidance tools are also available during various tasks such as setup of books. When working within a specific company or when reopening the program, DesktopPro’s primary interface includes the master Asset list, which provides a customizable and sortable spreadsheet display of assets and associated information.

The Asset window serves as an excellent centralized data station, allowing users to easily view detailed asset information simply by selecting an item from the list. The Calculation window then displays the data, along with property types, life spans and information on how calculations were made. More detailed information on assets is accessible through the Asset Viewer, which uses an intuitive tabbed screen to show depreciation, book data and summaries, while easing data entry with the ability to duplicate assets and allowing customization of default data and fields or the creation of templates. Other user-friendly features can be found in assorted windows for other functions, including reporting, exporting and queries, as well as the Books and Asset Types windows. DesktopPro’s Query List is also a timesaver, enabling users to save prior searches and custom reports for future reuse.

As noted earlier, DesktopPro can handle an unlimited number of companies, subdivisions or other units, with up to 10,000 assets each, making it ideal for public accounting practitioners who manage assets for multiple clients, or for use in-house by mid-sized and larger entities. The system automatically calculates GAAP, AMT, ACE, Federal Tax and E&P, and allows the creation of as many as 99 user-defined books, while its built-in validation engine ensures compliance with tax regulations and GAAP rules. DesktopPro supports all accepted depreciation methods and averaging conventions, with support for government entities, farms and Indian Reservations, and includes 20 pre-defined property types.

The program simplifies various asset-life tasks, including transferring, consolidating or splitting/multi-splitting assets either externally or within an organization’s subdivisions, as well as mass and partial dispositions and like-kind exchanges. Each depreciation book includes a separate, detailed audit trail while management users maintain the ability to lock periods. The system also gives them unique asset management capabilities through DesktpPro’s Open Timeline feature, which gives total access to past depreciation figures and transfer histories and allows users to track these values throughout any portion of an asset’s life, extending forward to the asset’s life end. This feature is especially useful when creating reports, enabling users to tie back information to past reports. Barcode scanning is available through integration with the BNA Asset Inventory program.

BNA’s Fixed Assets DesktopPro is upward and downward scalable to BNA’s other fixed asset systems, which means that even if a company outgrows the capabilities of one system, it is easy to migrate to the more robust enterprise versions. The program helps users through the process of data import from external applications such as spreadsheets, text files and other asset systems. Data can be exported to Sage Accpac, Sage Timberline, Microsoft Dynamics GP, PeopleSoft and other major systems or can be output into *.PDF, HTML and plain text formats. Integration with a tax system is not available.

DesktopPro includes print-ready government forms and worksheets including forms 3468, 4255, 4562, 4626, 4797, 8824 and schedule M-3, and its excellent reporting capabilities allow for batch, individual or on-screen generation, with the ability to focus report periods on specifically defined timeframes. Standard, pre-built reports include asset detail, asset summary, treatment comparisons, net book value, gain/loss reports, depreciation and depreciation projections that allow users to compare up to seven books or 12 periods. As noted previously, the program’s Query list saves searches and user-defined reports, which makes it easy to regenerate reports even as asset data has changed. An optional Crystal Reports add-on provides significant additional customization features.

BNA offers web-based training, as well as live classroom training at BNA’s offices or at customer locations. DesktopPro includes very helpful wizards, and templates greatly ease setup and asset management tasks, while the traditional Help function includes a user’s manual (a print copy also is available), content-sensitive Help, right-click menus and daily tips. BNA also has an online Knowledge Center that includes links to tax news and has downloadable program updates. Technical support is free.

Much more than just a depreciation system, BNA’s intuitive Fixed Assets DesktopPro is an exceptionally strong and scalable program with support for multiple companies and subsidiaries with large asset bases, which makes it very well-suited to professional public accountants who perform this service for their business clients. Its Open Timeline is a great productivity boost, easing report generation over user-defined time periods, while its audit trail and validation features help ensure data integrity and reliability.

2006 Overall Rating: 5 Stars