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2009 Review of Professional Write-Up Programs

Client Write-Up Remains a Vital Service

From the Nov. 2009 Issue

Small businesses turn to their public accountant for many different reasons.
Some want their taxes done; others want business consulting, payroll services
or countless other functions that your firm may provide. But almost never will
a client ask for “write-up” because it’s a word used by professionals.
It’s a term of art that you know really means, “cleaning up client
mistakes and ensuring that their books are really in order.”

Write-up may seem like a thankless task at times, but without this core service,
most of the other functions you provide to clients would be without a foundation.
Without having confidence in a company’s financials, most accountants
would be leery to complete tax engagements or provide advice on business management
strategies. It would be similar to a physician advising surgery or attesting
to a patient’s health without first performing a physical and perhaps
advanced tests.

While the term doctoring the books is obviously worth avoiding, the medical
analogy is appropriate, especially for small businesses without an experienced
bookkeeper in-house, because the data is prone to error. And so, without periodic
examination of a business’ financial health, it can be futile to even
try to give clients the services they think they want and need. The results
of write-up can also give accountants a better ability to perform more advanced
analysis and identify potential sales, cashflow, inventory and other trends
that the client should take steps to either take advantage of or avoid.

At the heart of write-up, however, is the occasionally grueling work of going
through transactions, ensuring there are appropriate corresponding account postings
and journal entries, and making corrections as necessary. Equally important
to making sure the books are squared away is performing bank reconciliation
to verify that disbursements and receipts match up with bank records. Fortunately,
both of these processes have become much simpler over the years through better
data import functions from client accounting systems and electronic bank statements.

the leading client-side accounting systems have become more controllable, providing
audit trails, advanced security features, and other ways to help minimize errors
and intentional misuse by business users. Mistakes still happen, of course,
but that is what leads to the need for write-up services.

At their most basic level, write-up packages are essentially just professional
accountant versions of bookkeeping programs, providing GL, AP, AR, check writing,
payroll and other traditional business accounting needs. But true write-up packages
add to these core elements with modules specifically designed for analyzing
transactions more quickly, streamlining reconciliation, and producing professional
GAAP and IFRS compliant financial statements, with accompanying compilation
or review letters.

The more advanced write-up programs provide greater flexibility in reporting
and customization of user interfaces to allow for individual preferences, while
also offering streamlined integration or import of client data, and corresponding
export of corrected data back into the client’s bookkeeping system. Many
also offer after-the-fact payroll, since the end product of payroll results
in transactions that need to be appropriately managed in the clients’
books, and the professional accountant can use the data for wage reporting and
compliance purposes.

All of the programs reviewed in this section offer professional-level capabilities
for managing virtually any number of client businesses. But just as a small
business accounting system can play a significant role in the operations of
a client, the selection of a professional write-up system that will assume an
integral position in the practice is a major decision. Firm management should
find a solution that meets the needs of the firm as it relates to integration
with their client’s bookkeeping systems, as well as one that can provide
the workflow tools and processes the professional practice needs for other client

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AccountantsWorld – Accounting Relief
The Accounting Relief system from AccountantsWorld is a totally web-based professional accounting solution, providing full functionality for write-up services, including reconciliation, reporting, check writing and full GL, along with trial balance capabilities and options for after-the-fact payroll, live payroll and other programs.
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
– ProSystem fx Write-Up
CCH is one of the most well-known technology providers
to the tax and accounting profession, offering it’s ProSystem fx
Suite of integrated programs that cover virtually every aspect of client
engagements and practice management, including tax compliance, trial balance,
engagement management, document management, asset depreciation and workflow
tools, along with many others.
CCH Small Firm Services – ATX
Client Write-Up & TaxWise Client Write-Up
CCH Small Firm Services, which includes the ATX
and TaxWise professional tax compliance suites, also offers professional
accounting systems geared toward practices who offer additional services
to their clients.
CYMA Systems, Inc. – CYMA After-the-Fact
CYMA offers a range of mid-market accounting systems
for businesses and nonprofits, including the CYMA Financial Management
System, which includes the company’s professional write-up system
through its After-the-Fact module. While this module offers after-the-fact
payroll processing and compliance, as its name implies, it also offers
features designed for other write-up processes.

Intuit – QuickBooks Premier Accountant
Edition 2010
QuickBooks is to small business accounting as Microsoft
is to operating systems or the iPod is to portable music. By far the dominant
vendor in the space, Intuit offers several general versions of QuickBooks,
starting with Simple Start and moving up into the more comprehensive Pro,
Premier and Enterprise Solutions.
Micronetics, International –
Accounting Xpert Enterprise Edition
Micronetics recently released Accounting Xpert Enterprise
Edition – Client Write-up, a completely new program from the vendor,
which has been developing accounting software since 1978. The new Enterprise
Edition of Xpert continues in the tradition of the company’s Xpert
Write-Up system.
PC Software Accounting, Inc.-
Client Write-Up for Windows
On the market for nearly 15 years, the Client Write-Up
for Windows system has continued to evolve over this time, providing core
write-up features that include GL, bank reconciliation, and after-the-fact
payroll with compliance reporting. It also has an optional Job Costing
Thomson Reuters – Write-Up CS

The Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite is one
of the most comprehensive collections of accounting, client service and
practice management applications for professional accounting firms. It
covers everything from tax and payroll, to planning, analysis, trial balance
and document management.
— Related Article —
BlackLine Systems – Financial
Close Software Suite
Many technology vendors develop
business accounting systems for the broad market, providing customization
options that allow financial managers to tailor some of the functions
and features to their needs. But for those businesses that manage their
close processes internally and have more complex processes and reporting
requirements, a general purpose solution can’t always provide all
of the functionality they require.

2009 Review of Client Write-Up Systems— Comparison Chart

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