As more accountants move toward electronic filing, CCH is working to help them keep on top of what is happening with their returns. CCH is expanding the Online E-file Status System it introduced last year to give its ProSystem fx Tax customers a centralized place to check whether returns have been accepted or rejected. And because it's Web-based, they don't have to wait in their office to find out the answer.
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"Acceptance has been overwhelmingly positive," says Ron Sosinski, product manager, client relations ProSystem fx Tax. "Accountants are generally working 24 hours a day or darn close to it. This allows them to get out of the office and check the status from home. Before, it was in the desktop software, now they can access it from their home."
Jeffrey Sapper, a partner at Bollam, Sheedy, Torani & Co., began using CCH in 2000 after it acquired APlus Tax. His firm prepares about 1,200 individual, partnership and corporate returns and uses the Global fx version, which employees appreciate because it allows them to work anywhere there's an Internet connection.
"Global has helped in quality-of-life issues with staffing, allowing staff access to files away from the office and allowing more family time," he says.
In the beginning, Sapper admits he was hesitant about security and concerned about where the CCH server would be located in the United States. "Through numerous conversations with the company, and some growing pains, they are getting better every year," he says.
His firm has two offices-in New York City and Albany-and working with the Global product helps them communicate more effectively.
"We find that the sharing of client files through Global will allow us the flexibility to transfer workloads to various locations with keeping the security intact," he says.
G. Glenn Adams, a partner with Adams and Hook CPAs in Bessemer City, N.C., has been a CCH customer since 1998 and began using the Global product three years ago to work on the firm's roughly 875 personal and 300 corporate, partnership, fiduciary and other returns.
"With all of the IRS changes and 45 state changes that occur almost daily, this [online] processing method will likely be the wave of the future," Adams says.
CCH offers electronic filing for all states and will continue to add business forms as the states mandate them, Sosinski says. A major improvement this year is multiscreen selection in the status system, which allows users to simultaneously file as many returns as they want, as opposed to only the ones they see on screen.
Last season, the company acknowledges it got behind with its e-filing during busy times because the number of returns flowing in was so great. But it is taking steps to fix that problem.
"We're tripling server capacity for electronic filing. It's a huge investment," Sosinski says. "We think it's a bit of overkill, but we're willing to do that. You have to be geared up to handle the highest peak, especially during the last day of tax season."
Integration remains an important focus for CCH, which continuously is striving to allow customers using several of its products to enter data in one place and have it carry everywhere else.
CCH's product currently integrates with ProSystem fx Document, Fixed Assets, Engagement, Planning, Practice Management, Outsource, Site Builder, Tax Notebook, Trial Balance, Write-Up, GainsKeeper Pro, BasisPro, and Microsoft Word and Excel. In August, it announced integration with XCM Solutions' workflow application.
"Integration is a big thing. Even if it's just someone that does business returns, the ability to bring trial balance into the tax return is a huge time-saver," Sosinski says.
ProSystem fx Tax
HQ Torrance, Calif.
Phone (800) PFX-9998
Web site www.prosystemfx.com
Federal 1040 price (first year) $3,305.
Renewal Discounts available.
Pay-per-return price $430 federal; $25 each state.
Multistate processing Available for unlimited states.
Support methods Toll-free phone and Web site.
Support hours 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Sunday; 24-hour support available last days of tax season per support calendar.
Document management ProSystem fx Document and ProSystem fx Engagement
Client portals Available
Online organizer Available
Integration ProSystem fx Document, Fixed Assets, Engagement, Planning, Practice Management, Outsource, Site Builder, Tax Notebook, Trial Balance, Write-Up. Gainskeeper Pro, BasisPro, Microsoft Word and Excel, and XCM Solutions.
New for next year Expansion of the online electronic filing system, including multiscreen selection of returns; tripling server capacity for electronic filing; integration with XCM Solutions; W-2 and 1099 import using ProSystem fx Scan will be available to selected customers on a trial basis.