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Review of Client Write-Up Systems 2006

A custom write-up application is a software solution created for the specific purpose of supporting a practitioner’s write-up practice. A non-custom software application can, therefore, be said to be an adaptation of a software product to other than its (specific) intent.

A custom write-up application is a software solution created for the specific
purpose of supporting a practitioner’s write-up practice. A non-custom
software application can, therefore, be said to be an adaptation of a software
product to other than its (specific) intent. Maybe it’s just me, but I
am constantly amazed at the number of busy practitioners who use a very general
accounting package in support of their write-up practice.

Actually, I commend these practitioners, as they have adapted the use of software.
Adaptation takes creativity and intelligence. In order to adapt, you have to
understand how to implement and use the software being utilized — a key
to effectively working with any software product. On the other hand, many would
say these accounting practitioners have only a “hammer in hand”
and, therefore, rather than adapting the use of software, these practitioners
have adapted (limited?) their accounting practices.

Most computer users are loyal and have strong feelings about the programs
that they choose to employ on a daily basis. Therefore, you can argue that the
reason for adaptation rests, in part, in this perceived loyalty. Accountants
are fairly typical in this regard. At the same time, many accounting practitioners
are loyal to their (custom) write-up program of choice, as write-up engagements
remain the “bread and butter” of many accounting practices today.

Like I said, it could just be me. Perhaps I am just “Type A,”
looking to spend (waste, some would say) money on “custom” applications.
Or perhaps I am just bored or simply looking to spend time reviewing products
that I don’t presently (but could) use in my accounting practice. But
I really don’t think this is the case. Rather, I am always willing to
sample other products within reasonable time constraints (nothing like an online
demo, eh?). Why? Because software vendors are constantly working to build a
better mousetrap, and the right mousetrap for accounting practitioners could
increase firm profits while making write-up practice a bit easier.

Like many accountants in public practice, many financial statements (and supporting
information) prepared by other accountants in public practice cross my desk.
These financial statements are prepared monthly, quarterly, annually, etc. To
be certain, there is plenty of variety in these presentations. Don’t get
me wrong, almost all have the accountant’s report and most include the
basic financial statements — balance sheet and income statement. However,
any “sameness” usually ends there, and the other supporting documents
take many forms and shapes. In this “variety” I get to see how the
“other side” thinks and functions. Some presentations are exhaustingly
long, while others are very brief. No doubt, this may be due to the custom (or
non-custom) write-up application being employed, as there is varying support
for the accountant’s report, customized financial statements, trial balance,
current/comprehensive GL reporting, customized transaction journals, financial
statement analysis including graphs, notes to financial statements, etc.

Since no two accounting firms are exactly alike, the choice of a write-up
program should be based on “individual fit.” As each write-up program
has its own set of attributes, the write-up program providing the best “fit”
will best meet the needs of the particular practitioner. In no certain order,
factors that lead to the selection include ease of setup, learning curve, training,
support and program pricing. Other related factors may include conversion of
existing data, update/upgrade/maintenance, storage requirements, efficiency,
flexibility and integration with the practitioner’s other programs (tax,
payroll, analysis, word processing, etc.).

With the increasing integration of tax and payroll programs, most any engagement
involves the practitioner’s write-up program. So use of the “right
fit” application has widespread effect on the practitioner.

The truly exciting part of write-up practice today is what I refer to as “electronic
interchange” with client data. Client data can be imported and exported,
into and out of the practitioner’s write-up program of choice. Support
for this “interfacing with client data” varies among write-up programs,
as does the practitioner’s ability to interface with client (program)
data. If no data is available for import, the write-up program should still
be capable of being used in the engagement effectively. However, where client
data can be interchanged, the time and cost savings, ease of production, and
ability to deliver services can be overwhelming.

As an accounting professor once told me, “It depends on the (accounting)
terrain.” So here’s to your terrain and making the best choices
among today’s best of breed in write-up software. 

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AccountantsWorld — Accounting
Relief AC
Accounting Relief AC is a web-based, online product
available from AccountantsWorld. Accounting Relief AC includes software
for write-up, compilation, review, audit and financial statements. Accounting
Relief AC allows the accounting practitioner and his or her clients to
access the product from a standard web browser. Client access is determined
and controlled by the practitioner..
CCH Tax & Accounting —
ProSystem fx CPAClient Write-Up
Last year, we reported to you on CCH’s ProSystem
fx Write-Up, a brand-new write-up application that had just been brought
to market. However, late in 2005, CCH announced the acquisition of Sage
Practice Solutions, which had only just been renamed. This added the former
Sage CPAClient Write-up product to the ProSystem fx line of software.
The staff of CPAClient Write-up was retained, and CPAClient Write-up will
be supported and regulatory updates will be released through 2007.
CYMA Systems, Inc. — CYMA
Accounting For Windows Client Write-Up
Founded in 1980, CYMA Systems, Inc. is one of the
oldest personal computer accounting software companies in the United States.
CYMA Client Write-Up consists of a System Manager, General Ledger, After-the-fact
Payroll and F9 (the Report Writer). Additional integrated modules include
Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Bank Reconciliation, Inventory
Control, Job Costing, Purchase Order, Payroll and Sales Order.

Intuit — QuickBooks Premier
Accountant Edition 2005
QuickBooks Premier Accountant Edition (QBAE) is
one of two write-up packages offered by Intuit (the other is EasyAcct,
the former TaascFORCE product). Clearly, Intuit has made its product strategy
clear — to position itself as a major player in the accountant’s
write-up marketplace.Most will agree that QuickBooks (QB) is the most
popular accounting product in today’s marketplace.
Micronetics — Xpert Write-Up
For Windows
Xpert Write-Up for Windows (Xpert) is a 32-bit
Windows-compliant program for computers running Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP.
Xpert supports computer networks running AS400, NetWare, NT, 2000, Unix
and Linux. It includes General Ledger, Journals, After-the-Fact Payroll,
W-2/1099 Laser Processing, integrated Bank Reconciliations, and comprehensive
Financial Reporting.
Thomson Creative Solutions —
Write-Up CS
Write-Up CS is widely recognized, and its innovations
are regarded by many as the de facto industry standard — the standard
by which many other write-up programs are measured today.Write-Up CS boasts
more licensed users than any competitor, featuring a complete arsenal
of integrated products with options you would expect to find in a market
leader. Write-Up CS features General Ledger, Bank Reconciliation, flexible
Financial Reporting and After-the-Fact Payroll.

Review of Client Write-Up Systems
2006 — Executive Summary
It’s funny, but I can remember a time in the
mid 1980s when there were only a few PC-based write-up applications on the
market. Those of you who date back that far in time will recall the concept
of “buckets” that was employed in building financial statements
(subtotals and totals) in these early write-up applications. For my firm,
it was our 1985 purchase of the original Write-Up Solution. We thought we
had really made the jump to light speed (not). Of course, you could talk
to some real pioneers (identified via the arrows in their backs) —
the accounting practitioners who had a Radio Shack TRS-80 circa 1977. YES,
we had write-up software not too long after the TRS-80 made its debut. (I
never did hear of any write-up software for the Osborne or Apple 1!).