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Use UltraTax -- but ditch File Cabinet?

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#1
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I use UltraTax and have been using File Cabinet in conjunction, but I honestly have never cared for FC. I do not use any other products from CS. Has anyone ditched File Cabinet? Have you found an alternative?

I know it works fairly seamlessly with UT, but I have actually had quite a few problems, including lost data, in FC. I am struggling to justify its cost and utility at this point relative to how I maintain other tax files besides tax returns. I have stopped e-mailing from FC since I use encrypted e-mail for that, and have to export to PDFs anyway to do so. My thought was instead of continuing with FC, just create a PDF in each of my client folders that reside on my encrypted hard drives as the archive. Only slightly more effort than current process of going to FC first, then creating PDFs to send via encrypted e-mail.
 

#2
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I use UT without FC, basically the way you are thinking of doing. I have a separate folder for each client, with subfolders for each year and a folder for the "permanent file".

I don't know whether getting your existing files out of FC into regular usable formats is a problem or a pain.
 

#3
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missingdonut wrote:
I don't know whether getting your existing files out of FC into regular usable formats is a problem or a pain.


I guess I'll soon find out. Have never done a mass export of data from FC but I believe it is done by "drawer" based on original file type. Example, if created using the FC print driver, it will export as a PDF. If something was scanned in via the image function, it'll be a PNG file, I believe.
 

#4
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I'd definitely test that functionality out before you make any decision. I like FC's folder structure and if you can export that it would be tremendous.
 

#5
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missingdonut wrote:I'd definitely test that functionality out before you make any decision. I like FC's folder structure and if you can export that it would be tremendous.


Started testing it. It doesn't export the folder structure but it does export everything as PDFs (including e-mails), and you can still password protect them if desired. I believe I can modify settings in UT to do backups do another source, too, besides FC drawers. Some of the drawers are old clients, I'll just export to a single folder and properly name the docs by year per the FC folder structure, but with active clients I will move the files to appropriate years. It'll also prompt me to delete files older than 7 years.

Fortunately I am not dealing with thousands of returns, but it will still be a bit of a headache. Regardless, I think I am ready to ditch the program--I have never liked it, and only kept it because I had a partner for a few years that insisted we continue using it from when we worked together at another firm. I am pretty certain I will not really miss anything about it and if I do, then I suck it up and renew the subscription.
 

#6
wel  
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Thanks - I didn't realize that there was a significant annual fee / subscription. I used FileCabinet CS for several years at a 30 person firm, and liked it a lot. My understanding was that there was a large up-front cost, with minimal charges for updates each year.
 

#7
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wel wrote:Thanks - I didn't realize that there was a significant annual fee / subscription. I used FileCabinet CS for several years at a 30 person firm, and liked it a lot. My understanding was that there was a large up-front cost, with minimal charges for updates each year.


They have different structures, but in my case the "renewal" for FC is about 2.5x that of UT and FC doesn't make me a single penny. I actually make money on what UT costs me each year with how I build in software recovery fees into my tax return fees.
 

#8
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I've been using Drake Documents as it comes with the software, but organization with that is an uphill battle.

I'm leaning towards switching to Caseware as a late December/early January project. It's not cheap, but it's what I'm used to and organizes well. Caseware connectors are extremely helpful too.
 

#9
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missingdonut wrote:I use UT without FC, basically the way you are thinking of doing. I have a separate folder for each client, with subfolders for each year and a folder for the "permanent file".



I do this too. I've been using UT since for 6 years and never used FC. Once you get those old files out of FC and organized, I think you'll be glad you ditched it.
 

#10
smtcpa  
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missingdonut wrote:
I don't know whether getting your existing files out of FC into regular usable formats is a problem or a pain.


It is a royal PIA. For example, it will not name tax returns with the year or client, so you get something like US Tax Return, US Tax Return (2), etc.

We stopped using it last year and have it now just for archiving. We currently save all files in Box. The only thing I am trying to figure out is how to easily mass-save efile acceptances without using FC. That is a pain.
 

#11
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smtcpa wrote:
It is a royal PIA. For example, it will not name tax returns with the year or client, so you get something like US Tax Return, US Tax Return (2), etc.


Not quite. You can select to include the drawer or client name in the file name, but unfortunately, not the tax year. Thus, when creating the files in FC to be exported for a given client, you have to modify the names by adding tax year. This is easy to determine since the folder structure within FC appears on the Export File(s) screen, and the selected files appear in chronological order for export. Is it as simple as it could be? Not at all, but I believe it is worth the effort and might take me a day or so if I can stay focused on it.
 

#12
smtcpa  
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Good to know. I just found those boxes for the drawer name. There is a greyed out box for Folder. I wonder what it takes to allow the folder?

CornerstoneCPA wrote:
Not quite. You can select to include the drawer or client name in the file name, but unfortunately, not the tax year. Thus, when creating the files in FC to be exported for a given client, you have to modify the names by adding tax year. This is easy to determine since the folder structure within FC appears on the Export File(s) screen, and the selected files appear in chronological order for export. Is it as simple as it could be? Not at all, but I believe it is worth the effort and might take me a day or so if I can stay focused on it.
 

#13
makbo  
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smtcpa wrote:The only thing I am trying to figure out is how to easily mass-save efile acceptances without using FC. That is a pain.

In the UltraTax Efile Status pop up window (the green "e"), you can select all rows (or just a subset) and then use the "print" icon near the top to print all the Forms 9325, plus state & FBAR equivalents, to one PDF file.

Also in Ultratax, you can automatically embed client name and tax year in the file name when saving to PDF. So, the only thing I think I lose by not use FC is that I have to manually navigate to a new directory (folder) each time I want to print a different client. A little tedious, but only a tiny bit of work compared to the the annual license fee!
 

#14
smtcpa  
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True, but if you print to a PDF it uses the file name "Remote Desktop Redirected Printer Doc.pdf". Then I have to remember which client I printed and rename every single file.

I do like the UT feature of embedding the client name. We use that and it is quite handy.

makbo wrote:In the UltraTax Efile Status pop up window (the green "e"), you can select all rows (or just a subset) and then use the "print" icon near the top to print all the Forms 9325, plus state & FBAR equivalents, to one PDF file.
 

#15
makbo  
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smtcpa wrote:True, but if you print to a PDF it uses the file name "Remote Desktop Redirected Printer Doc.pdf". Then I have to remember which client I printed and rename every single file.

I'm not sure what you are are trying to "save" regarding Forms 9325 (efile ACKs). Is this a batch save of all of them, for your records? Or are you trying to save each Form 9325 individually? If the latter, I just have the program automatically email the 9325 substitute form to each client, with a copy to me, when the ack is received.

In general, with UltraTax, I don't "print" returns, I use "Electronic Delivery - PDF to file", which can fully embed client name and tax year in the file name (configurable).
 

#16
smtcpa  
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I like to have a PDF copy of the Ack. I guess if I really needed one from a prior year, I could just open up UT and print it on demand. I think that just qualified as an Ah Ha Moment....

I use the word "print" to be the same as save as a PDF. I guess because half the time I am using Adobe as the "printer". But I don't print much either.

makbo wrote:I'm not sure what you are are trying to "save" regarding Forms 9325 (efile ACKs). Is this a batch save of all of them, for your records? Or are you trying to save each Form 9325 individually? If the latter, I just have the program automatically email the 9325 substitute form to each client, with a copy to me, when the ack is received.

In general, with UltraTax, I don't "print" returns, I use "Electronic Delivery - PDF to file", which can fully embed client name and tax year in the file name (configurable).
 

#17
Wiles  
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makbo wrote:Also in Ultratax, you can automatically embed client name and tax year in the file name when saving to PDF. So, the only thing I think I lose by not use FC is that I have to manually navigate to a new directory (folder) each time I want to print a different client. A little tedious, but only a tiny bit of work compared to the the annual license fee!

Lacerte has similar functionality embedding the client name, client number, type of entity, and tax year. We have a single folder on our server labeled "PDF Tax Returns" and a subfolder for each tax year. We print every client directly to that subfolder rather than navigating to each individual client folder on our server. We know where they are when we need them and can easily do a search using their name or client number. This saves us time and avoids errors because we are usually printing a dozen or so at the same time.
 

#18
Wiles  
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Is TR still making product enhancements to FC? We use Practice CS and have noticed they no longer make enhancements to that? I also read a user post in the TR Community this morning stating they are no longer making enhancements to NetClient.

I am wondering if they have abandoned all enhancements across their entire suite of products and are shifting all development resources to Onvio.
 

#19
sjrcpa  
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I don't think they are doing anything to File Cabinet. They want you to buy GoFileRoom.
 

#20
smtcpa  
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Have they made ANY improvements in the last 5-7 years to either? That's why I bailed on Practice a few years ago. And the only reason I have FC now is for archive purposes. Will probably dump that too in a year.

I looked at Onvio a year ago or so. Crappy replacement IMHO. I was on a product beta review group 5-6 years ago for a new FC (now called Onvio). It was horrid. And that was 5-6 years ago. TR can't develop software if their lives depended on it.

Wiles wrote:Is TR still making product enhancements to FC? We use Practice CS and have noticed they no longer make enhancements to that? I also read a user post in the TR Community this morning stating they are no longer making enhancements to NetClient.

I am wondering if they have abandoned all enhancements across their entire suite of products and are shifting all development resources to Onvio.
 

#21
Wiles  
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TR can't develop software if their lives depended on it. :lol:

Fortunately Practice CS is the only product we use in their suite. We stopped paying the annual fee for "updates" 3 years ago? It sucks they have virtually abandoned this product. We migrated over from their prior program, Practice Solutions, because they stopped supporting that. We were afraid one day it would just stop working. Now, we are going to have to think about doing another migration soon.
Last edited by Wiles on 13-Sep-2018 3:00pm, edited 1 time in total.
 

#22
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I like UT overall, but agree the rest of TR's applications suck. And the costs are insane.

I'm still pondering switching to another platform but it'll have to be when I am not busy. I tried a couple on trials, including Drake, and could not even get the simplest 1040 to convert. That is a big concern to me, I would hate to have to manually enter prior returns again to proforma to current tax year.
 

#23
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Took some time, but managed to successfully export all FC files to individual tax client folders by year. In process, discovered UT was not printing all tax returns to FC. Not a huge issue since they still reside in UT, but yet another reason to not keep FC when it is not reliable enough to send files to FC through default settings. Process also helped me purge anything older than 7 years.

Glad to now be free of FC. Have never liked it!
 

#24
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CornerstoneCPA wrote:Took some time, but managed to successfully export all FC files to individual tax client folders by year. In process, discovered UT was not printing all tax returns to FC. Not a huge issue since they still reside in UT, but yet another reason to not keep FC when it is not reliable enough to send files to FC through default settings. Process also helped me purge anything older than 7 years.

Glad to now be free of FC. Have never liked it!


So do you have a new software platform or do you just have organized PDFs searchable through Windows Explorer?
 

#25
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CornerstoneCPA wrote:I like UT overall, but agree the rest of TR's applications suck. And the costs are insane.

I'm still pondering switching to another platform but it'll have to be when I am not busy. I tried a couple on trials, including Drake, and could not even get the simplest 1040 to convert. That is a big concern to me, I would hate to have to manually enter prior returns again to proforma to current tax year.


If I understand your post correctly, you tried converting UT returns to Drake using the conversion tool supplied by Drake and are saying it did not work correctly? I've been testing Drake and have used their UT conversion tool and it worked very well. It's not perfect, so you're not going to convert a 2017 UT return to Drake and have it exactly match, but with a few tweaks you can get it to match. You definitely would not need to manually enter much data before being able to proforma.
 

#26
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RazorbackCPA wrote:
So do you have a new software platform or do you just have organized PDFs searchable through Windows Explorer?


I have not switched to a new platform. Have tried several platforms to help organize files and do not like any of them compared to keeping organized folders.
 

#27
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09RoadKing wrote:
If I understand your post correctly, you tried converting UT returns to Drake using the conversion tool supplied by Drake and are saying it did not work correctly?


I was able to finally get the conversion tool to work, but there were other issues with Drake that kept me with UT. They each have their pros and cons, and as much as I dislike TR, UT is the better tax prep software for me.
 

#28
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I use File Center by Lucion Technologies for my paperless storage. It organizes files similar to Windows Explorer. For tax returns I print to a pdf from Prosystem fx directly to the client folder. For other files (Word, Excel) I save them in their native format to the respective client folder.
 


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