From the July 2009 Review of Document
is a “horizontal” solution designed to work in virtually any industry,
but the accounting market is one of the vendor’s primary focuses.
The interface is designed with a series of control panels along the left side
of the screen that includes one-click access to a file search window, messages
and workflow information. The rest of the screen is dedicated to the document
view. The system is available in a web hosted (SaaS model) or in-house solution.
The optional Web module offers remote access via a standard browser.
An integrated “ImageMan” module is included to view TIFF files,
which can be annotated with the custom tick marks and stamps built-in. You can
also choose to work with PDFs and use Adobe Acrobat for your annotations. A
particularly appealing feature is that each scanned page is displayed as a thumbnail
that you can drag and drop to create a consolidated file based on a template,
i.e. 1040 tax documents.
The files are organized into cabinets at the top level followed by folders and
tabs within each folder to organize by document type, i.e. correspondence, tax
returns, etc. The folders can be customized to track various types of information
such as client contact information. When you highlight a document, it is immediately
displayed in a preview window, which is much more efficient than having to download
the file in order to view it. When you store a file, you can apply a “sensitivity”
and “retention” setting that controls access at the group level
and establishes the document retention period.
I was intrigued by the “Retriever” module that lets you develop
integration to virtually any Windows-based application, including QuickBooks,
practice management software, tax planning software, etc. Once you configure
the integration (no custom programming is required), you can have a hit list
of files based on a key field in a separate window while you are working in
an application. For example, if you are viewing a client in your practice management
software, you can see a list of files related to that client.
Integration with Outlook includes the ability to drag and drop email messages
and file them according to pre-established templates that utilize information
within the message such as the subject line. For QuickBooks users, there is
a plug-in called CNG-Books, which is designed to directly integrate with QB
and link documents and files to specific QB transactions.
A workflow module let’s you establish document-specific routing based
on rules that you establish. For example, you can route documents with specific
index values such as a dollar amount level or a tax return to a particular user.
You can also route a collection of documents as a group or an entire folder.
CNG-SAFE is priced at $1,000 per user license. You have the option of purchasing
concurrent user licenses at a cost of $1,400 per user. This means that multiple
staff members can share the same login. An additional “view only”
license option is available for $500 per user. Perhaps the best value is the
$100 per user, per month hosted option that includes the server infrastructure
and administration services. CNG-SAFE is a well designed EDMS solution that
offers a comprehensive set of features and functionality. The fact that the
system supports TIFF and PDF file formats provides additional flexibility. The
Retriever integration tool is one of its most distinguishing features, in my
opinion. If you’re offering a client accounting service based on QuickBooks,
you should also take a close look at the CNG-Books plug-in.
2009 OVERALL RATING: