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2010 Review of Professional Client Write-Up Systems

The Evolution of Write-Up Continues

From the November 2010 Issue

Along with professional tax preparation, write-up has long been a cornerstone
client service for many full-service accounting firms, providing monthly, quarterly
and annual engagements that equate to a fiscal checkup for client businesses.
The core elements of account reconciliation, fixing improperly posted transactions
and preparation of financial statements are critical to these entities truly
knowing their health, and serve as a firm foundation for ensuring against employee
fraud, as well as for planning, budgeting and valuation.

2010 Client Write-Up Review Sections:

  • Basic System Functions
    • General Navigation/Ease-of-Use
    • Multiple Concurrent Users
    • Multi-Client Mgmt/Setup
    • System Customization, Alerts
  • Core Write-Up Features
    • Account/GL/Journal Mgmt
      Adjusting entries, re-class and recurring entries
    • Reconciliation Functions
    • Checkwriting
    • After-the-Fact Payroll/Tax Tables/
    • Financial Ratios
  • Reporting & Financial Statements
    • Customizable Reporting/Output Formats
    • Financial Statement Generation,
    • Communication Templates & Deliverables
    • Invoicing/Billing Functions
  • Import/Export/Integration
    • Import Capabilities
    • Imported data review functions/process
    • Integration w/Payroll apps
    • Client Portal Options
    • Export to common file formats
  • Help/Support
    • Built-in Support Features
    • OS/Browser Compatibility
    • Support website/documentation
    • Live Support
  • Summary & Pricing
  • Overall Rating

While the end products are generally similar to what they were 20 or even
10 years ago, write-up has changed dramatically over this time, particularly
from the accounting professional’s perspective. Almost gone are the days
of shoebox accounting and physical ledger books, with even the smallest of businesses
increasingly relying on off-the-shelf bookkeeping software to manage all, or
at least most, aspects of their businesses. These technology tools have generally
been great for productivity, but when it comes to fixing the errors that users
make, well … that’s where write-up has turned accountants into technological
sleuths, poring over hundreds or thousands of transactions for discrepancies.

Fortunately, professional write-up software has also evolved, providing many
tools for quickly finding potential transaction errors, missing information
and other issues, while also offering advanced features for quickly reconciling
bank and credit accounts with the company’s books. Recent advances in
this area even allow for client financial information to be directly downloaded
from their financial institutions and then viewed on-screen alongside their
check registers and transactions. Not only does this allow for quicker and more
automated reconciliations, it also allows for live reconciliations at any time,
instead of having to wait for a bank statement.

One of the most significant advances in write-up in decades, however, is still
evolving. A few systems on the market combine professional accounting and client-side
data, enabling both sides to always have access to company files. These integrated
systems are centered on the professional’s accounting and write-up package,
with clients having secure access to a web-based bookkeeping system that is
actually an extension of the professional program.

Clients only have access to their own company files, and can even be restricted
to only a few tasks, such as entering sales, check printing or running basic
reports. More advanced clients may be granted full access to their payroll,
inventory management and payables. The extent of their access can be tailored
to their needs as the accounting firm determines them. This allows the firm
to stay in total control of a client’s data and be more proactive in finding
and correcting transactions, performing reconciliations, and providing planning
and business consulting services.

Of course, one size does not fit all when it comes to client-side accounting,
and many have specialty niches that require specialty programs. So as always,
the integration capabilities of a professional write-up program, particularly
with regard to importing and exporting data from a client’s bookkeeping
system to a professional tax compliance or trial balance system is one of the
most important elements in determining the program best suited to a professional

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

AccountantsWorld — Accounting
AccountantsWorld was the first major vendor to offer
a totally web-based accounting system for professionals, offering its
software-as-a-service Accounting Relief write-up system with the ability
to manage any number of clients for a monthly or annual price. The system
includes comprehensive features with full GL, trial balance, reconciliation,
after-the-fact payroll and financial statement generation…
CCH Small Firm Services —
Client Accounting Suite
The TaxWise and ATX brands, which each offer popular
professional tax compliance packages, also include a suite of accounting
systems, including write-up, trial balance, fixed asset management, client
checkbook, payroll, firm management, document management, W-2 and 1099
compliance, and payroll reporting.
CYMA Systems, Inc.
CYMA Systems has developed business and professional
accounting systems since 1980, with current solutions that include Client
Write-Up, business accounting, non-profit fund accounting, payroll, inventory
management and job costing.
Intuit, Inc. — QuickBooks
Accountant 2011
With QuickBooks being the most common small business
accounting program in the United States, it’s no surprise that most
public accounting practices have also adopted the system, if not for total
practice use, then at least for their clients who use it. The benefit
of having the same general program simplifies data transfer, and finding
para-professionals who are already experienced with the system is fairly

Micronetics, Int’l — Accounting
Xpert Enterprise Edition
Micronetics has developed professional accounting
software since 1978, and last year introduced the completely redesigned
Accounting Xpert Enterprise Edition, a comprehensive write-up system that
includes full GL, AR, AP, payroll, reconciliation and financial statement
PC Software Accounting, Inc.
– Client Write-Up for Windows
PC Software Accounting, Inc. (PCSAI) introduced
the first version of its Client Write-Up for Windows system in 1997, and
has continued to develop and add to the program since then. The most recent
version, 9.24, continues to provide comprehensive professional accounting
features, including full GL, financial reporting, bank reconciliation,
after-the-fact payroll, tax interfaces, and payroll compliance reporting.
Thomson Reuters — Accounting
Thomson Reuters debuted its new Accounting CS system
earlier this year, offering a unified professional application that combines
write-up, trial balance, financials reporting, and live and after-the-fact
payroll processing and compliance. It also includes web-based client-side
accounting that integrates directly with the professional package, thereby
enabling greater collaboration, streamlining write-up and payroll functions
and increasing data accuracy.
The Versatile Group — Certiflex
The Versatile Group offers professional accounting
and business management systems under the CertiflexDimension brand. The
company’s professional Client Write-Up program and integrated business
accounting series includes full GL, AR and AP…

Related Article
BlackLine Streamlines Complex Reconciliation Functions
As a business grows and retains more of its accounting expertise in-house, the processes associated with period closes and reconciliations are just as important as for those who use an outside accountant. They still need more comprehensive tools than most traditional off-the-shelf business applications can provide, especially for balancing hundreds or even thousands of accounts, while ensuring that proper accounting principles are maintained.
BlackLine Systems has been developing custom accounting solutions specifically for such businesses, starting with the First National Bank of Nebraska in 2001.

2010 Review of Professional Client Write-Up Systems — Comparison Chart

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