ATX/Kleinrock's acquisition by CCH last August tops the minds of many customers as well as the company itself. When the purchase took place, CCH President and CEO Kevin Robert explained that both companies have served different market segments-with CCH on the high end and ATX/Kleinrock serving small to midsize professional firms-but possessed the common goal of providing integrated tax, research and workflow resources.
Like what you see? Click here to sign up for Accounting Today's daily newsletter to get the latest news and behind the scenes commentary you won't find anywhere else.
One year later, the combined company is attempting to use pieces of each product suite to give its expanded user base more applications with greater integration.
A major goal for 2007 is integration between ATX's tax program and its other accounting tools, including the ATX Client Write-up Suite, ATX Trial Balance, ATX Fixed Asset Manager and ATX Document Manager. ATX Scan&Fill lets users scan W-2s and 1099s and then export that data directly into the appropriate forms in the tax software. They also can edit the scanned items to clean them up before exporting information.
Last October, CCH also acquired TaxWise to serve smaller firms, so many of the applications and tools offered by TaxWise and ATX are essentially the same, just branded differently, according to Gene Goldenberg, vice president of marketing and product strategy for CCH's Small Firm Services, adding that typical ATX customers are small professional firms offering a broad range of tax and accounting services.
ATX lagged TaxWise in some of its e-filing capabilities, so ATX customers will be getting what TaxWise users already have.
An Error Check feature looks for things like missing data, missing forms, overridden calculations and estimates. Clicking the error message takes users directly to the field, which can then be updated as necessary, and reports can be printed for these items.
While some preparers become aggravated with the need to immediately resolve errors, it avoids having to go back and fix them later, Goldenberg argues.
It also helps speed up the process and frees up the professional for more important duties.
"A client can hand in the shoebox full of documents and the professional can hand it to a secretary or a part-time employee who can scan the document in," Goldenberg says.
Updated government instructions now can be obtained from within the program instead of having to exit the system and search a Web site.
Expanded printing provides more flexibility in choosing sort order and allows for sorting individual and business returns together as well as printing sorted batches for extensions, organizers and returns.
CPE training will dramatically expand to reflect some of TaxWise's classroom seminars as well as online Webinars and self-study through ATX University.
In addition to his work as a Phoenix lawyer, Bob Kamman of Bob Kamman Law Office, prepares about 500 individual returns per year. He turned to ATX about eight years ago because the price was low enough to make it worth not spending time programming.
Kamman, who started with ATX when it was a small company, hopes with CCH's ownership ATX can iron out some of the kinks that smaller organizations tend to have, such as acquiring some of the state forms later than he would like.
Right now, he likes that his clients' information rolls over from one year to the next within ATX and would like to see the same process taking place between all CCH products, an issue which Goldenberg says the company is addressing.
"I'm a fan of consolidation," Kamman says. "I've had many good years with ATX. Until they start having problems, I'm not going to worry about it."
HQ Rockville, Md.
Phone (877) 7 ATX-PRO
Web site www.atxinc.com
Federal 1040 price (first year) $390
Pay-per-return price $270 (10 returns including e-file); $85 (additional blocks of five returns and e-file)
Multistate processing Available for unlimited states.
Support methods Toll-free phone and email
Support hours 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Saturday
Document management ATX Document Manager, ATX Scan&Fill
Client portals N/A
Online organizer N/A
Integration ATX Client Write-up Suite, ATX Trial Balance, ATX Fixed Asset Manager and ATX Document Manager
New for next year Error Check including estimates, overrides and notes; expanded printing capabilities; updated government instructions accessible from within the program; Ohio Cities module; improved Client Letter Wizard.