October 11-24, 2010 | accounting today 19
21st century research
For 2010, we have looked at the top seven
research platforms — all of them online offerings. It is clear from the trends that while
tomes of bound-paper Tax Codes or CD/DVD
research offerings are still around, demand
for them is declining. The need for work-any-where, access-all-the-time research is making
these products obsolete. The online research
platform is here, and it is the future.
The best of these platforms — BNA, the
CCH Accounting Research Manager, and
Checkpoint — have redefined how research
is done in the accounting industry, and are
driving a new generation of practice management tools that will spur the industry into
new growth in the 21st century.
Smaller accounting firms that may not have
the funds to invest in these best-of-class services are not left behind, either. Free services
offering access to tax codes, regulations and
advice abound on the Internet, with Drake’s
1040.com and Accountants World two worth
looking at. Intuit offers a low-cost research
product powered by BNA, plus a free tax
practice wiki that is worth joining.
Overall, a roundup of the best accounting
and tax research tools of 2010 finds an industry more robust, more interesting, more
precise and more economical than ever before. And while there are plenty of entries at
the high end of the marketplace, there appears to be room for more economical and
targeted services for smaller accounting firms
BNA Tax and
BNA Tax and Accounting
Bureau of National Affairs Inc.
Pricing: Contact vendor.
The BNA Tax and Accounting Center is a Web
resource that integrates BNA’s best content
— Portfolios, the Daily Tax Report, practice
tools, source documents and commentary
— in a single location. Its key features are
advanced search capabilities, customization
features, simplified navigation and fast access
from any computer.
BNA was formed in 1929 to explain the
increasingly complicated workings of the
federal government and their impact on the
country. Its strong focus on tax and accounting came during the Eisenhower administration, when the Tax Code underwent a major
revamp. Today, BNA offers more than 350
daily, weekly, monthly and up-to-the-minute news services, and for tax and accounting alone offers more than 500 “Portfolios”
— in-depth analyses and guidance written
by practitioners for practitioners. BNA Portfolios are available in printed form, on DVD
or via the Web.
Each Portfolio is divided into three sections. A detailed analysis of the topic or issue
with citations and references covers opportunities, approaches, alternatives, probable
IRS positions, code provisions, IRS rulings
and tax cases — including common pitfalls
to avoid. The second section for working
BY Dave Mcclure
Technology has spurred a revolution in the tax and accounting
practices of most firms. What were once rather mundane practice areas of Internal revenue Service forms and findings and
Financial accounting Standards Board releases has exploded
into a content-rich, profit-generating segment of the industry.
and nowhere is that more evident than in the emergence over
the past decade of strong Web-based research sites and resources to make accountants more efficient and their advice
more pertinent to the needs of their clients.
Feature-rich platforms make tax and accounting research better
papers includes all of the relevant forms,
documents and background tools, such as
checklists and sample language. The third
section is a bibliography that documents all
sources, official and unofficial, including
statutes, regulations, rulings, congressional
committee reports, and tax articles in professional journals.
Content in the Tax and Accounting Center
includes the Accounting Policy and Practice
Series; Compensation Planning Portfolios;
Country Portfolios covering 40 other countries; Estate, Gifts and Trusts Portfolios; Foreign Income Portfolios; IRS Practice Advisor;
Premier International Tax Library; Real Estate
Portfolios; Sales and Use Tax Portfolios; State
Tax Portfolios; Tax-Exempt Organizations
Portfolios; Transfer Pricing Portfolios; Tax
Practice Library; Transfer Pricing Premier
Library; and U.S. Income Portfolios Library.
At presstime, BNA was adding another feature — the Premier State Tax Library. The new
library features more than 80 Portfolios and
a state-by-state Sales and Use Tax Navigator.
The site offers multiple ways to navigate the
content, via tabbed sections at the top of the
page, indexes, saved favorites, and by content
type. It offers the ability to create a customized home page, offers helpful links to other
Web sites, provides links to primary sources,
and has a simple but powerful search box at
the top of the index page.
Its clean interface, simple navigation and
depth of content make the BNA Tax and Accounting Center one of the most powerful
research tools on the market today, and a
strong contender among Web-based systems
that can level the playing field for smaller and
specialized accounting firms.
REMOTE ACCESS FOR QB
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. — Intuit has
released QuickBooks 2011, with new
features designed to allow small-business
owners to access essential information
remotely. A new service, QuickBooks
Connect, lets small businesses access QuickBooks data remotely via the
Internet or a mobile device. Other key
additions include customer and vendor
history features and a customer snapshot.
QuickBooks 2011 also includes a simplified start-up process, with start center
guides that assist users through installation and allow them to import business
contacts directly from their Gmail, Yahoo!
or Hotmail accounts.
THOMSON REUTERS ADDS
CLIENT ACCESS PRODUCT
NEW YORK — The Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters has released a
new product that helps accountants and
clients collaborate online. Accounting
CS Client Access is an extension of the
company’s recently introduced Accounting CS, and will initially offer clients
check-writing and payroll-calculation
capabilities, with accounts receivable and
payable to be added over the coming
year. Firms can choose which functions to
deploy on a client-by-client basis.
Firms can maintain control over how
clients interact with data and execute
their day-to-day bookkeeping functions.
Clients can access the software through a
secure portal on the firm’s Web site with
customizable permissions. Firm employees can set up each client directly from
the firm’s computer systems, with no
client visit required.
Dave McClure is the president of Kent Associates, in Alexandria, Va., an independent
testing laboratory and evaluation service.
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
Pricing: Ranges from $500 to $4,600, with
charges for additional features.
The CCH Accounting Research Manager is a
Web-based research tool that offers a com-
SCAN AND POPULATE
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CALIF. — Personable Inc.
has introduced Scan Writer for QuickBooks, a technology that will allow for
automation of all previously keyed entries
into QuickBooks. Scan Writer is designed
to capture scanned documents or existing electronic statements, including
bank statements, credit card statements,
receipts, invoices and other documents,
and immediately populate QuickBooks
transactions for a client.