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Accounting & Audit

Smarter Engagements: OnPoint PCR Transforms A&A

Launched in the summer of 2018, OnPoint PCR addresses industry trends, allowing firms to comply with standards, manage their engagements efficiently, while also providing firms with the impetus to adapt the latest technology.

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What do you get when you combine the methodology of the AICPA, the innovative technology solutions fostered by CPA.com, and the cloud-based audit, financial reporting, and data analytics capability of CaseWare?

The result of this dream team partnership is OnPoint PCR, a smart, cloud-based solution that is transforming how CPA firms conduct preparation, compilation, and review engagements.

Launched in the summer of 2018, OnPoint PCR addresses industry trends, allowing firms to comply with standards, manage their engagements efficiently, while also providing firms with the impetus to adapt the latest technology. The product offers CPA firms “guided engagements,” a term used by OnPoint PCR to describe the process of smartly matching the required procedures to the level of work to be done. The objective is to help firms improve quality, operate more efficiently, and deliver better value to clients.

OnPoint PCR’s debut into the marketplace has not gone unnoticed. To date, the application has won CPA Practice Advisor’s Tax and Accounting Technology Innovation Award in July of 2018, as well as being named a 2019 Top New Product by Accounting Today earlier this year.

“Firms currently feel like they are spending lots of time sifting through guidance that may not apply and performing steps that may not be relevant to a particular engagement. OnPoint PCR combines technology and an innovative approach to deliver a high-quality engagement as efficiently as possible.” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com.

Designed to address common pain points experienced by today’s CPA firms, OnPoint PCR offers a host of benefits to firms including:

  • Built-in guidance that gives system users a high level of confidence
  • The use of active and dynamic checklists that show only relevant procedures and requirements based on information that is input
  • Client information requests that are embedded into the solution and part of the natural workflow
  • Integrated content and methodology that is available to help reduce anxiety on the part of practitioners who fear non-compliance
  • The ability to import data from QuickBooks and Xero into OnPoint PCR providing simplified data access

“Today, more than 19,000 U.S. firms are delivering preparation, compilation, and review work as their highest level of engagement,” said Asgeirsson. “This solution is an essential tool for providing high-value services to clients in this area.”

Here’s how it works. Each engagement begins with a series of basic questions, which OnPoint PCR then builds upon using the guided engagement process, creating a unique, on-the-fly updating of checklists that are generated based on the answers provided to the initial questions. Once a checklist has been completed, users are provided with a link to the next step in the engagement process.

To do this, OnPoint PCR uses a clean user interface that guides users through the series of initial questions, adding additional questions as the process continues. “Firms like the clean approach that is used in OnPoint,” said Matt Towers, OnPoint PCR’s product marketing manager. While being clean, this approach can ensure that only information relevant to the engagement needs to be completed, eliminating unnecessary tasks.

As a result, engagement letters and other reports are generated as the process continues. Users can also customize each engagement to add procedures or other specialized considerations based on the particular needs of the client or the industry that they are in.

In addition, trial balances from popular accounting products such as QuickBooks and Xero are auto-mapped into OnPoint PCR, while those imported from Microsoft Excel will have recommended categories. According to product source material, any auto-mapping discrepancies are immediately flagged, with users able to drag and drop accounts to the correct category.

OnPoint PCR also offers complete client collaboration, with firms able to send, receive, and track all client communications from within the application, eliminating the need to utilize numerous third-party software applications or email. This can be particularly helpful to smaller firms or solo practitioners who can quickly become bogged down with traditional methods of managing client documents and communications.

That may also explain why many of OnPoint PCR’s early adopters are smaller firms that appreciate its ability to streamline proper documentation and allow them to more productive. Jennifer J. Mansfield, CPA, a sole practitioner based in Tucson, AZ, spoke to this point. “I have been using super-long checklists for years, and it is a lot of work to pare down those guides into what’s relevant for my practice. That’s why the minute I saw the OnPoint PCR solution I knew it would be a game-changer for me.”

“OnPoint PCR can help small firms and sole practitioners work smarter by automating much of the processes that typically bring frustration,” said Michael Cerami, vice president strategic alliances & business development at CPA.com. “While smaller firms seem to be the first new adopters of the product, OnPoint PCR provides a different value to different size firms.”

“It’s also about growing a practice,” adds Asgeirsson, as CPAs can spend less time bogged down in the initial engagement process and more time growing their firm.

As an added safeguard, OnPoint PCR has what it terms “guard rails” built into the product methodology, preventing less experienced staff from making egregious errors during the engagement process.

“It’s about driving quality, efficiency, and value,” said Asgeirsson. “It also allows CPA firms to think more strategically about their client’s business.”

For more information about OnPoint PCR, visit the website at www.cpa.com/onpoint, where you can view a short video or register for an upcoming webinar. OnPoint PCR is also offering special introductory pricing of $495.00 per user, per year.