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CCH Tax and Accounting — CCH ProSystem fx Practice

From the October 2005 Review of Mid-Range
Accounting Software

ProSystem fx Practice 2005, Version 6.2, provides extensive practice
management tools that integrate with the ProSystem fx Office suite.
Practice 2005 offers time tracking, contact management, billing, project management
and custom reporting. This product’s best fit is for mid-size to large

Ease of Use/Flexibility — 5 Stars
CCH has applied simplicity to every aspect of this software package. ProSystem
fx Practice 2005 is task driven, with an approach that ensures that
no time is lost looking for or entering information. The Time Entry interface
allows for fast entry of new time, reports all the currently entered time, and
includes a day planner that allows for simultaneous recording of project tasks
and billable time. For firms where users regularly enter time under the wrong
persona or date, CCH includes two buttons within the main toolbar for moving
entries as appropriate.

Many firms are finding themselves in need of customer relationship management,
and the Clients section of ProSystem fx Practice provides much of the
necessary tools to do just that. Billing and Memos will likely be two of the
most regularly accessed portions of Client properties, allowing staff to select
billing options such as automatic billing, invoice formats and determination
of finance charges. As well, the Memos portion will enable users to construct
notes of recent e-mails, faxes and phone calls. The client properties can also
be used to link into the Tax module. The software is updated in real-time and
allows for unlimited clients, staff and engagements. As some firms provide multiple
services for each client, projects can be better managed by the breakdown of
engagements into projects and then into tasks. Project planning allows for budget
entry, budget-to-actual comparison, and notifications-upon-completion.

Scalability/Stability — 4 Stars
ProSystem fx Practice is designed for larger firms and is therefore
built to handle a large database. Small to mid-sized firms may want to consider
the all-in-one approach offered, especially if growth is expected. Tax firms
will benefit most from the modular approach, and those firms where “frequent
flier” best describes staff members should look into the options available
for remote connectivity across the Internet (Citrix not necessary) or hosted
Global Time Entry. Remote entry options are separately licensed and may have
monthly fees.

Productivity Tools/Features — 4.5 Stars
With all of the options available for tracking projects and managing time, firm
management should expect to gain a better control over staff scheduling and
responsibilities through task assignments. By tracking and billing at the task
level, clients will gain detailed bills. Provided that staff members maintain
memos, client correspondence will be more useful, and embarrassing situations
of requesting information multiple times can be avoided.

Because document management is part of another module, ProSystem fx
Practice does not offer the capability to attach documents directly to projects,
nor does it provide direct means for tracking online research. The billing section
breaks the process down to ensure management is aware of the status of bills.
Billing entries shows a summary of all billing entries from which invoices can
be quickly created. Bills belonging to a particular timekeeper appear in a section
called “My Bills” and can be sorted into categories such as unsubmitted,
submitted and reviewed. This approach is also adapted for Projects, for which
unique views of projects can be created and, if desired, shared with other users.

Reporting — 4 Stars
Several reports are provided with the standard installation, and an editor is
provided for sorting, subtotaling and formatting each of these. Crystal Reports
can be used to generate custom reports. A specific section of Management Reports
provides budget breakdowns by employee and project/task and also provides an
employee time analysis. “Printable” reports have not been stressed
as much as having information readily available in preparation and entry screens,
which may require extra work for the firm administration.

Support/Help/Updates — 5 Stars
CCH is well known for its interaction with customers and responding to users’
requests. The company’s first user conference is scheduled for fall 2005
with opportunities for training and meeting with members of the company. The
tutorials provided with the software are extensive and can guide a user through
nearly any process. A broad collection of information is also made available
on the company’s web site, which includes Community forums, research sections
and updates. Accessing the Help menu also provides links for EfxNews,
ProSystem fx on the Web, and an e-fx Update system. Version
7 should be released by the time this issue goes to press with new integration
features and licensing options.

Integration — 5 Stars
Outlook integration is provided for Clients and Contacts, though scheduling
is only available within ProSystem fx Practice. The majority of integrated
toolsets are with other members of the ProSystem fx suite, which includes
Tax, Document and Engagement. Mobile users have the option of using Palm-enabled
devices to enter time while away from the office and synchronize time upon their

Relative Value
A five-user license of ProSystem fx Practice costs $1,785; additional
users are $115 each. The five-user Practice/Project Management Bundle costs
$2,325; additional users are $160 each. The Advantage Database will also cost
an additional $50 per user and is required for all Practice users. Add-ons include
the following: Remote Time Entry ($235 for up to five users; additional users
$25 each); ASCII Import ($375); Internet Connect ($105 per user or $1,050 for
unlimited users); PDA Time Entry ($80 per user); Report Pack ($300); and Global
Time Entry (downloadable from the web site with no up-front
licensing; $225 setup fee when initially executed and $7.25 access fee per user
in months the program is accessed). Discounts may be applicable.

Firms with multiple offices or more than 20 timekeepers will likely find the
greatest value. Smaller firms experiencing growing pains may benefit from the
additional management and productivity tools, especially if combined with other
tools from the ProSystem fx product line. Any firm with need of billing,
project or task organization complete with management supervision will appreciate
ProSystem fx Practice.

2005 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars