CCH & Twinfield now joined at the hip

by admin on October 10, 2012

in Cloud Computing/SaaS

Some 16 months after acquiring Twinfield, CCH has announced a comprehensive integration between its accounts production and the Netherlands based accounting solution. From the PR blurbs:

Efficiency – with direct integration between bookkeeping and accounts production systems, accountants can automatically synchronise hundreds of new entries in seconds, automating a raft of processes. Direct iXBRL filing to Companies House from CCH Accounts Production allows accountants to make the most of the efficiencies that iXBRL can offer. Tax filing for individuals and businesses can also be streamlined by using CCH Personal Tax and CCH Corporation Tax.

Collaboration – with the CCH Twinfield online accounting system, information is available as soon as it has been entered, so accountants and clients can work on the accounts together. By enabling shared access to accounting data updated in real-time, CCH Twinfield allows accounting practices to give their clients more useful, more timely and more relevant information and advice.

Added value – an ‘end-to-end accounting service’ that brings every part of the accounting process together dramatically improves the visibility of accounting information. It takes data from a client’s online system and processes it via accounts production through to online filing. Using this data, CCH Strategic Planning software also allows accountants to offer high value services like business planning, forecasting and benchmarking with little extra work.

Cutting through the PR speak, points to note are:

  • The synchronisation is two-way
  • It is a manual process in the sense that the accountant maintains control  over the point at which the synchronisation takes place. The idea is to keep month or period end under control and was requested by users.
  • Everything will be managed through CCH Central.
  • Customers will get the integration as part of their package at no additional charge.
  • As a side note, CCH is enhancing its content to include benchmarking data the professional can then use to test how its clients are performing across SIC codes. It may also be possible to benchmark groups of clients locally.

I welcome these changes. They were top of mind when the acquisition took place back in June 2011. It is good to see CCH helping its Twinfield practitioners extract more value from the combined service but I do think they need to think about a few more things on the Twinfield side. As at the time of writing, I believe full UK VAT compliance has yet to be fully addressed. Similarly, Twinfield will need to find a compelling case to encourage banks into allowing Twinfield to auto update the bank account. This would be a massive time saver and is something the Netherlands has been able to do for a long time. My sense is that Twinfield will need modification for vertical markets. Right now it appeals to the larger (as in 10 partner and up) practice that has a good volume of larger clients. But at the same time, there is more value to be gained by ensuring the system has vertical focus.

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Paul Brace October 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm

In Dennis’s report there are a few comments and suggestions that CCH is pleased to clarify:

• Twinfield was updated shortly following the acquisition to make it fully UK VAT compliant.
• Twinfield currently has the ability to import data from any UK bank using their standard transaction download facilities. CCH is currently in discussion to facilitate the extension of this to allow the bulk update of bank data across multiple clients.
• The architecture of Twinfield provides for companies supporting vertical markets to create applications that seamlessly integrate into the Twinfield data; these are called TwinApps. Over 100 TwinApps currently exist supporting a wide range of vertical markets.
• Although the system is clearly very attractive to large practices, our experience has been that practices of all sizes, from sole practitioners to top 20 practices, are appreciating the significant benefits that Twinfield offers and have implemented the solution.

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