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CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business — ProSystem fx Site Builder

the Dec. 2006 Review of Website Tools for Accountants

ProSystem fx Site Builder provides professional accounting firms with
a template-based website and maintenance system that includes a variety of add-on
content options geared toward financial services. The system also provides newsletters,
tax alerts, secure client portals for exchanging financial documents, and financial
calculators and toolkits for financial planning and small business management.
The program has an initial setup cost of $295 and an annual fee of $895. Specialized
content, including the CCH Tax Resource Guide, business owner’s toolkit
and the financial planning toolkit are available for an additional cost. The
company also offers a la carte pricing for additional options, including e-mail
accounts, a deluxe graphics package, custom website design, Flash splash pages
and domain name registration.

The ProSystem fx Site Builder interface is intuitive, guiding users
through the basic steps involved in creating or editing a website and its content.
Through the system, users can customize the overall style and design by selecting
from several templates, which provide a crisp and professional appearance with
support for Flash and animated images. The system does not include toolbar-oriented
font and style controls, but users are able to use HTML coding to customize
text appearance. A basic HTML guide is included, providing hints for creating
bold or italic text or changing color or size. Websites start with seven pre-created
pages, speeding up the setup process. Pages for firm profile, “about us,”
services and other common pages include prewritten text that can be easily edited
using the step-by-step process. The addition of Flash animation and firm logos
unfortunately requires selection of the optional Deluxe Graphics Package at
an additional cost.

As one of the most reputable sources of financial and tax news resources, it
is no surprise that CCH offers one of the most comprehensive content packages
available, allowing a firm to include the latest financial and tax-related news
on its website automatically. All of the content packages require selection
of an optional add-on module. The included eContent package provides an Info
Center Page with tax calendars, downloadable forms, publications, tax alerts
and updates. The system’s financial tools include a large selection of
calculators for estimating tax, loans, business analysis functions, amortization,
rent vs. buy, and mortgage comparisons. The newsletter page provides archived
access to monthly articles and analysis of tax situations, including tax planning,
business valuation, FAQs and compliance issues. Newsletters include the company
logo and can be e-mailed to clients, although no automatic e-mail distribution
is offered. On the website, the newsletter is in *.PDF format. Another optional
content module called the Lifestyles Reading Rack offers several guides for
individuals and businesses, covering tax tips, financial planning and other
topics. CCH’s eContent is available separately from the website builder
for firms that already have an existing website and wish to include the more
than 500 pages of tax-specific articles and analysis. The Business Owner’s
Toolkit and Financial Planning Toolkit also provide excellent resource material
for clients.

Websites created using ProSystem fx Site Builder maintain a professional
and attractive design scheme with intuitive menus and navigation, but the availability
of only 30 or so design templates results in limited customization options.
Websites are primary domains (, so the branding remains
strictly with the firm, and CCH can assist in obtaining the web address of the
firm’s choice. By default, all pages created through the system include
a CCH brand notice at the bottom, but this is removable. A firm website built
using CCH’s ProSystem fx Site Builder is available at

Site Builder includes a very robust collection of financial calculators (about
100), along with tax and financial planning tools that can benefit clients and
draw attention to the firm’s additional services. With ProSystem fx
File Share, the system also includes secure portals for collaboration with clients
that allows them to access files and documents that the firm has decided to
let them view, through an encrypted interface. Clients can also use the online
CCH Tax Notebook, which is a tax organizer that is accessible through the website.
The data entered into the tax organizer can be imported directly into ProSystem
fx Tax. The investment aggregation program GainsKeeper Pro can also
be used through a website link. The website can also include a link to CompleteTax
Pro, allowing a revenue stream from self-preparers who complete their taxes
online through the firm’s website.

Site Builder includes visitor tracking and analysis to help the firm determine
the effectiveness of its website, and CCH automatically submits websites to
the primary search engines and web directories. All content offered through
the system, including newsletters, the Tax Resource Guide and the Lifestyles
Reading Rack are branded with the firm’s information and logo.

SUPPORT — 4.5 Stars
Technical support, both phone-based and through the online support center, is
free. CCH also offers additional professional customization and website design

ProSystem fx Site Builder is very easy to use, requiring no prior website
experience, but the inclusion of the basic HTML guide is useful for some content
formatting. The base pricing includes newsletters, tax alerts and the basic
website, which has between eight to 12 web pages. The ability to automatically
transfer data from the tax organizer into ProSystem fx Tax will prove
an outstanding feature for firms using that tax compliance system. The system
provides a visitor-friendly environment that offers good information and tools
and is simple to maintain. ProSystem fx Site Builder includes the eContent
and file sharing tools as part of the basic package. However, some of the other
tools and resources, including the tool kits, Reading Rack and Tax Resource
Guide are available as add-ons, either individually or in bundled packages that
start at an additional $250.

2006 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars