What is the Best DMS for ProSeries Software?
ProSeries is best-of-breed tax preparation software. Your practice needs an equally capable document management system (DMS). What DMS integrates best with ProSeries? What features matter the most? What should you avoid? In this article, we'll walk you through the main considerations and give you our recommendation for the best DMS for ProSeries software: FileCenter. Read on to see why.
DMS for ProSeries Software Summary
- What is a DMS? Why do I need one with my ProSeries software?
- The best DMS for ProSeries software will offer intuitive organization
- Don't overlook the importance of scanning
- Fully-integrated PDF features make or break a DMS
- Jump to our recommendation »
What Is a DMS? Why Do I Need One with my ProSeries Software?
A DMS, or Document Management System, is to documents what ProSeries is to client tax info: it organizes and manages your documents in a well-structured environment. There are many feauteres that fall under this umbrella, but key ones include document naming and organizing, document scanning, and PDF manipulation. In short, the best DMS for ProSeries software picks up where ProSeries leaves off and makes a valuable contribution to your firm's efficiency. Integrating the right DMS with ProSeries will make all the difference in how your firm runs.
The Best DMS for ProSeries Software Will Offer Intuitive Organization
How a DMS organizes your files will make or break it. Most DMSes, being database-driven, favor a "tagging" approach where users tag incoming documents with certain keywords. To pull a document back out of the system depends on your ability to guess what keywords were used originally. Users often dislike these systems for two reasons: saving a document into the system is a time-consuming exercise that requires a lot of typing, and pulling documents back out of the system often requires multiple rounds of guess-work.
When given the option, users tend to prefer a structured system that organizes documents in a predictable tree. Possibly the most familiar paradigm is the paper filing cabinet. Our recommended DMS, FileCenter, utilizes this model. FileCenter features electronic filing cabinets which in turn contain drawers, folders, and files. Most users can navigate the structure and find a document in just a few mouse clicks – much, much faster than it takes users to search for documents with through keywords. Additionally, the cabinet structure lends itself well to an organizational approach centered around the client. Of course, on the rare occasion when users don't encounter a document where they expect to find it, keyword searching is available as a backup.
To aid predictability, it's important that the DMS enforce consistency in the way that users put documents into the system. One feature that helps folder templates – reusable folder layouts for all of your clients. A second, similar, feature is pre-defined file name templates to to standardize the way documents are named.
But possibly the single most important consideration when choosing the best DMS to integrate with ProSeries is the storage method. The vast majority of DMS software you'll run across uses a database for storing your files. Think of a database as a black box. You can't navigate the database. You can't get to what's inside unless it lets you in. It is, for all intents and purposes, an encrypted vault. Which hints at why so many DMS solutions go with a database: extra security. That security, however, comes at a price. With a database, all document access is heavily restricted. Many firms found this out the hard way when they tried switching to a different DMS, just to discover they can't get their own documents out of the database. They become effectively trapped because they can't get their files out. Which brings up another reason software vendors favor databases: databases preserve their user base. Another unspoken downside of databases: they restrict other software from reaching your files. Software like ProSeries. In fact, ProSeries will not integrate with any database-driven DMS unless the DMS vendor provides a specific integration point.
FileCenter sees document storage differently. FileCenter recognizes that Windows already provides outstanding security features, features that more than address the security needs of nearly any SMB. As a result, FileCenter chooses to use regular Windows folders for storing your documents rather than a database. The benefits are obvious. You will never lose access to your files. Moreover, your other software will retain access too. In fact, FileCenter integrates tightly with nearly any Windows program, including ProSeries. And if you eventually decide to switch to a different DMS to integrate with ProSeries, you won't have to worry about getting your files out of the system.
Don't Overlook the Importance of Scanning
Getting paper documents into the DMS is crucial. Unfortunately, in most DMS offerings, scanning is something of an afterthought. Given that scanning is notoriously inefficient, poorly-designed DMS software will make your staff avoid the daily demands of scanning. The best DMS for ProSeries software, on the other hand, should specifically focus on making scanning as streamlined and efficient as possible.
FileCenter, for one, offers a whole array of scanning tools, including options for automating every possible aspect of the scanning process. Tasks like document separation, document naming, and document routing are ripe for automation, and FileCenter provides a rich assortment of automation tools to make it possible.
Fully-Integrated PDF Features Make or Break a DMS
With each passing year, PDF becomes more important as a file format. Today, almost all file sharing happens in the PDF format, including official government filings. As a result, working with PDFs has become a primary task.
Most DMS systems, on the other hand, fail to offer the kind of PDF functionality that office workers need. For example, your staff should be able to drag and drop PDFs onto each other, right in the filing system, to combine them. They should be able to preview PDFs without having to open them. They should be able to add notes or comments to a PDF without leaving the interface. They should be able to convert almost any document in the system to PDF with the click of a button. They should even be able to email documents as PDFs regardless of whether they were PDFs to begin with.
The Best DMS for ProSeries Software
FileCenter DMS goes out of its way to pick up where ProSeries leaves off, giving you the sort of power and efficiency you need in managing and working with your documents. With intuitive document organization, full support for searchable PDF, many tools for facilitating bulk scanning, a built-in PDF editor, and a clean interface that users rave about, FileCenter can take you all the way from being smothered in paper to a paperless office. Download a free trial today!