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Document Management

TaxWorks doc storageREDGEAR Technologies — ArkWorks

800-706-8261www.ark-works.com

ArkWorks
is developed and distributed by REDGEAR Technologies, the producers of TaxWorks
professional tax preparation software. In my opening remarks to this review
section, I made the point that the line that separates document storage systems
from document management systems is not black and white. ArkWorks is a prime
example of this. The overall features and functionality provided put this at
the top of the class. Even though some of the other products reviewed here offer
excellent functionality on a niche basis, based primarily on specific integration
with a particular tax package or QuickBooks, ArkWorks provides the most robust
solution that is designed generically to work well with any given tax package.

From the June 2009 Review of Document
Storage Systems

USER INTERFACE:
The starting point for ArkWorks is a “Getting Started” menu that
provides an easy-to-follow list of features to be guided through. Once you enter
the system, you are prompted to choose a cabinet type that organizes documents
and files into distinct databases, i.e. clients, firm documents, etc. The toolbar
displayed across the top includes File, Edit, Document, Tools and Help commands.
A list of client names is displayed along the left side, with the ability to
search for clients. Once you select a client, the file folder structure will
display along with a list of files that identifies their specific folder location.
This provides the best of both worlds; you can view a single comprehensive list
of all files and yet keep them organized in individual folders. I wish Vista
could do that.
When you select a file, you can right-click to view a number of functions to
perform on that file, such as view, email, print, rename, delete, move, send
to CD, view audit trail, add notes and check out the file for editing. A thumbnail
view of the document is displayed. When you view a document, you can utilize
the proprietary annotation tools that are included.

FILE ORGANIZATION/MANAGEMENT:
The files are organized into cabinets such as clients, firm documents, marketing
materials, etc. Within each cabinet, you establish a list of drawers, i.e.,
clients, employees, marketing projects, etc. Within each drawer, you will have
a folder/subfolder structure. This structure can be established by creating
a unique template for each cabinet. In order to help conserve storage space,
ArkWorks compresses all files that are stored by approximately 50 to 70 percent
of their original size. The files are also stored with 128-bit encryption to
provide enhanced security.

A “re-file” option facilitates moving a file to another folder
or drawer. A red checkmark is placed next to any documents that are currently
checked out by someone for editing. This alerts others that they can view the
file, but will not be able to edit them. A file retention feature is provided
that allows you to assign a “maturity date” to each file that facilitates
deleting files at the end of their defined life cycle.

INTEGRATION:
ArkWorks offers direct integration to the TaxWorks tax preparation software
to file tax returns directly into the appropriate client folder. The scanning
functionality allows you to access and control scanning settings for any TWAIN-compliant
scanner from within ArkWorks. Emailing of documents from within is enhanced
by the ability to establish a password and permission settings for PDF files
at the time the email is composed. These permission settings include limiting
annotations, preventing extraction of content from the PDF, preventing changes
to the file and disallowing printing. If you are familiar with Adobe Acrobat’s
security features, you will realize many of these settings are the same.

OVERALL VALUE:
In addition to the features and functions described above, ArkWorks offers a
comprehensive document activity audit trail, file encryption for extra security,
extensive user permission settings and “quicksets” to facilitate
filing documents with minimal keystrokes. Pricing is $995 for the first five
users, plus $50 for each additional user. The annual maintenance fee is $395,
plus $25 for each additional user beyond the initial five. The overall value
of ArkWorks is very positive.

2009 OVERALL RATING: