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Company: Charles Castles, CPA
Headquarters: Hanford, California, 30 miles south of Fresno
Profile: Sole proprietor; specializing in accounting for small businesses
Problem: Preparing depreciation schedules more quickly and cost-effectively
Solution: CMI Fixed Assets by CMI

“Every time I use CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), I make money.” -Charles Castles, CPA

Ten years ago Charles Castles, CPA, was testing a fixed assets program that would help him create depreciation schedules for his clients more quickly - so that he could spend his valuable time billing out other work.

“I was in the middle of a 30-day trial with software from Best,” says Castles, “when someone referred me to CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM). I tried it. I like it. I sent Best’s program back. And I have not looked for another program since.”

Since using CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) by CMI, Charles Castles has saved countless hours preparing depreciation schedules for his clients. What was once a laborious task for him and his staff is now a more efficient - and profitable - operation. Castles says that with CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) “all you have to do is enter your data and the program does the rest. Today, if I had to do depreciation schedules by hand, I’d quit.”

CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) has several features that CPAs like Castles expect in a fixed assets program, not surprising considering CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) was designed by CPAs for CPAs. “It has everything you would want,” says Castles. The features of CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) that he especially likes include easy entry, sorting of assets, and duplication of the previous asset’s data for subsequent entries.

Castles also likes the professional-looking reports generated by CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM). “It prints out a whole depreciation schedule on one sheet of paper for me,” he says. The software also generates Form 4562, which meets IRS standards, and worksheets for Form 4797 and other tax forms. “These reports can be photocopied and attached to Forms 4562 and 4797,” says Castes, “or they can be done in lieu of tax forms.”

Even for clients with significant assets, entry - and calculation of depreciation - is very easy with CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), says Castles. “Once you get the data in, the computer calculates the rest,” he adds. “It’s smooth sailing.” What was once one of the most time-consuming segments of his practice is now one of the most cost-effective. CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), says Castles, “has made depreciation schedules profitable.”

Castles’ accounting practice also enjoyed a quick payback on his investment in CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM). He recalls he recouped the modest purchase price “definitely within the first year, and probably in less time than that. The program pays for itself.”

Another benefit of a fixed assets program like CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) is power. Not only is CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) automated, it is always up to date. Tax laws have changed considerably in the last ten years, and CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) has kept pace by updating regularly throughout each year.

Castles says it’s features like these, as well as very good help screens and technical documentation, that make CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) the accountant’s toolbox for fixed assets accounting. “I can’t think of anything that it doesn’t do that I need it to do,” he says. “It’s an extremely good program. The best one I’ve seen.”

Since he began using CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) ten years ago, Charles Castles has himself referred other CPAs to the fixed assets software. He says that three or four CPAs in his small town use CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) to help them save time - and make money - preparing depreciation schedules. “Even if I had to pay two or three times more for it, it would still be a good value,” says Castles. “Every time is use CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), I make money.”

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Company: Scott Elsea Consulting
Headquarters: Findley, Ohio
Profile: Specializing in PC applications consulting to industrial clients
Problem: Preparing accurate depreciation schedules for clients that reflect current tax law
Solution: CMI Fixed Assets by CMI

“Tax law changes a lot, thanks to Washington. [But now] you just don’t have to think about checking these things anymore. CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) takes care of it.”
-Scott Elsea, PC applications consultant

“I just got done adding eight assets for a client of mine who’s in the truck and tractor business,” says Scott Elsea, president of his own PC applications consulting business, Scott Elsea Consulting. “Thanks to CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) the data entry is so easy, and the data flow is quick and smooth. This little program is slick.”

For nine years Scott Elsea was a controller at a truck dealership before striking out on his own as a consultant. Today, he advises several small- to medium-sized industrial customers, setting up industry-specific programs that help them get the most out of their PC-based accounting systems.

The fixed assets software Elsea recommends to his clients is CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) - Comprehensive Fixed Assets Accounting by CMI. Why CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM)? Elsea himself has been using the program since 1987 (he prepares depreciation schedules for some of his clients) and, he says, for effectively tracking depreciation and producing accurate depreciation schedules, nothing beats it.

CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) has what CPAs and accounting professionals are looking for in depreciation software,” say Elsea. “Ron Tolman (CMI’s president and co-developer of CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM)) is himself a CPA. He and his programmers know exactly what we deal with and what we need in a depreciation program.”

The biggest challenge in creating depreciation schedules, says Elsea, is the difficulty in doing so quickly and accurately. Manual calculations are tedious and time-consuming. Additionally, software developers hadn’t successfully created a depreciation program that was consistent - or powerful - enough. That is, until CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM).

“With Peachtree, which is what I had been using,” says Elsea, “I always had to stop and think about what I was doing.” But because CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) is automatic - the user need only enter the data and the program does the rest - Elsea found it most user-friendly. He cites CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM)’s consistency and ease of operation as the features that won him over. Elsea also appreciates CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM)’s report formatting. “The printouts are clear and easy to read,” he says.

To Scott Elsea, accessibility to the president of CMI, Ron Tolman, was an unexpected - and, it turns out, most invaluable - benefit. “Other bigger companies have programs, but they have their pluses and minuses,” says Elsea. “I prefer to deal with someone like Ron. He’s more accessible and open to suggestions. He’s a down-to-earth guy with a real good program.”

An outstanding feature of CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) is the software’s up-to-the-minute currency on tax law. “This is a very difficult thing in working with depreciation,” says Elsea. “Tax law changes a lot, thanks to Washington.” Elsea adds that this feature, along with the fact that CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) is automated, increases the confidence of the accounting professional. “You just don’t have to think about checking these things anymore,” he says. “CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) takes care of it.”

It also adds up to the trust of his clients’ accountants and bankers. Says Scott Elsea: “CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) enables you to prepare current depreciation schedules. When you print those out and give them to your bankers, it gives them such confidence in what you’re doing. They see the reports, and they know you’re tracking depreciation. That confidence - that’s what it’s all about. CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) is a crackerjack program.”

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Company: Forever Living Products International, Inc.
Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
Profile: Manufacturer and retailer of health and beauty products; founded in 1978; $500 million in sales worldwide
Problem: Managing fixed assets for 25 companies under the “Forever” name
Solution: CMI Fixed Assets by CMI

“[Before we started using CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), there were] constant problems in handling this many assets in a company this size. Now we only spend one day a month on our fixed assets.”
-Donna Westerberg, staff accountant, Forever Living Products

Seven years ago, Forever Living Products of Phoenix, Arizona, was managing several hundred fixed assets for its 25 companies manually. Back then, creating depreciation schedules every month for these companies took days.

Then Forever Living got a piece of advice from colleagues. “Get a fixed assets software program,” was the advice. “It will save you time.” Forever Living examined the top programs on the market and chose CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), the fixed assets accounting program developed by CMI, based in Safford, Arizona.

“Now we only spend one day a month on our fixed assets,” says Donna Westerberg, a staff accountant who manages fixed assets for Forever Living Products International, Inc.

Forever Living Products is a manufacturer of health and beauty products. Not only does the company own its own manufacturing plants and retail stores, it also owns a fleet of trucks and several farms. “We have a lot of fixed assets, and, like most companies like ours, we are always adding assets, too,” says Westerberg.

Some fixed assets programs are limited in their management of both large numbers and diverse categories of assets. Forever Living found CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) by CMI, however, to be comprehensive and powerful enough to handle even their complex fixed assets needs.

CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) can handle a great number of assets as well as any kind of assets,” say Westerberg. “Everything from our large semi-trucks to our aloe vera plants.”

Forever Living Products also operates a resort division, called Forever Resorts, with 19 locations around the U.S., as well as six cattle ranches throughout Arizona. “CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) handles a lot of entities for us,” says Westerberg. “We can keep everything separate by ranch. I even know what cows are at what ranch.”

Since Forever Living Products began using CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) in 1987, the company has also reaped the benefits of the software’s flexibility and accuracy. When Forever Living handles its fixed assets manually “we didn’t know how many years to depreciate,” say Westerberg. “There was a lot of chance for error.”

But because CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) was written by accountants for accountants, it manages fixed assets accurately - and automatically. And since CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) is up to date with current tax laws, users like Westerberg had fewer worries about their depreciation schedules. “Instead of making estimates or having to refigure,” says Westerberg, “CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) does it for you. When I go back to compare numbers to the general ledger, I know I’m always accurate.”

Although CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) features help screens and comes with complete technical documentation, sometimes users like Donna Westerberg have questions that require immediate answers. “When there’s a problem, I don’t want to sit around and wait,” she says. Westerberg calls CMI’s responsive technical support team and gets immediate answers.

Once Westerberg called with a specific question about Forever Living’s fixed assets system for CMI president Ron Tolman, who was out of town. To her surprise, Tolman returned her call a short time later from across the country. He had received her message and insisted on calling her on the spot to answer her question. “I was impressed,” says Westerberg.

Forever Living’s Donna Westerberg has benefited from Tolman’s accessibility and expertise many times since. “Ron is always there to handle my questions and problems,” she says. “There are constant problems in handling this many assets in a company this size. It’s nice to have Ron there.”

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Company: Tourville, Simpson & Henderson, CPAs
Headquarters: Columbia, South Carolina
Profile: 12-person full-service auditing, accounting and tax CPA firm
Problem: Converting to a new depreciation software system, producing more professional custom reports for clients
Solution: CMI Fixed Assets by CMI

“CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) produces accurate records in a shorter time, and that lends more validity to the reports we give our clients.”
-Lewis Henderson, Tourville, Simpson & Henderson, CPAs

Tourville, Simpson & Henderson, specializing in accounting for community banks, had been using a depreciation software system for about six years when they noticed that a client’s depreciation schedules and reports started to come in better looking than their own.

“Everything I saw that my client had, I didn’t have,” says Lewis Henderson, a partner in the firm. When he asked his client what software system they were using the reply was, “CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) by CMI.”

The firm made the decision to switch to CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) shortly after. What followed was a one-year conversion from their previous depreciation software to CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), a conversion that Tourville, Simpson & Henderson had planned to do manually.

“When I checked with CMI, though,” say Lewis Henderson, “Ron Tolman, CMI president, told me that he had conversion software we could use.” Using CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM)’s conversion software made the firm’s transition much smoother and faster than they ever imagined. “The software eliminated 95% of the manual conversion,” says Henderson. “And it was far more accurate.”

Since making the switch to CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), say Henderson, “life has gotten much easier.” Henderson and his firm were especially pleased with CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM)’s unique capabilities, the software’s handling of regular federal tax depreciation, as well as AMT and ACE applications. “We were also looking for something that would reconcile beginning and ending balances,” says Henderson. “And CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) does that for us.”

Henderson and his associates were also looking forward to what had captured their attention in the first place: The professional looking reports that their own client, who was using CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), had been sending to Henderson’s firm. “The program gives us all the flexibility we want,” says Henderson. “It gives us reports that isolate information. And we don’t have a lot of write-up work anymore. CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) prints all the reports we want.”

Henderson adds that report formats are both easy to set up and easy to change. These features are especially important to his firm because community banks must meet stringent requirements and their accounting must be done branch by branch. CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) meets Henderson’s own needs by generating tailor-made reports on demand. “CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) produces accurate records in a shorter time,” he says, “and that lends more validity to reports we give to our clients.”

For Tourville, Simpson & Henderson, the tables have turned. A client first recommended CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) to them, and now they recommend this proven software to their other clients. “We’re getting them to buy CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM),” says Henderson, adding that the more clients he converts, the easier his own work associated with depreciation schedules becomes. “Now most or our time is spent only keypunching,” says Henderson. “CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) does the rest. It’s a real good, easy-to-use package.”

During their own conversion to CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM), Tourville, Simpson & Henderson received top-notch support from CMI’s staff and it’s president, Ron Tolman. “Ron was with us on the phone throughout,” says Lewis Henderson. “CMI’s service was very good.” CMI’s superb conversion software and responsive support, says Henderson, is on par with the features and benefits of CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM). “It’s an excellent product all around.”

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Company: Vandeventer & Palmer, PC
Headquarters: Tempe, Arizona
Profile: Full-service accounting firm; clients are contractors and high-tech manufacturers in Arizona
Problem: Finding fixed assets software that reflects a true understanding of accounting and tax law
Solution: CMI Fixed Assets by CMI

“The most important feature of depreciation software is that it conforms to tax law. It has to be up-to-the-minute. And CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) is.”
-Jim Vandeventer, CPA, Vandeventer & Palmer, PC

In the early 1980s, Jim Vandeventer was a partner with Schulman, Klock & Co., one of the largest local CPA firms in the country. He was also teaching a course for the American Institute of CPAs at one of its first microcomputer conferences. Also attending the conference was Ron Tolman, a CPA and software developer employed by Comprehensive Microsystems, Inc. (CMI). At the time CMI was introducing its new fixed assets accounting software, now called CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM).

“Ron and I got into a discussion about some of the fixed assets programs that were around at the time,” says Vandeventer, “and the fact that tech lawyers who created these programs did not really understand how to compute depreciation. Ron told me about the software CMI had developed. He asked, ‘Would you give ours a try?’ I said yes. And I’ve been delighted ever since.”

Vandeventer brought CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) to Schulman, Klock & Co., which later merged with McGladrey & Pullen. He considered himself a “professional administrator” during these years, and didn’t work one-on-one with CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM). However, he knew that those within the firm who did were thrilled with the software.

That all changed in 1992 when Vandeventer left McGladrey & Pullen to form his own company, Vandeventer & Palmer, PC. “I bought CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) myself,” says Vandeventer, “and had to learn it again from the ground up.”

Although Vandeventer had not been a “technician” for nearly twenty years, he felt he was at no disadvantage with CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) when he started his own company. “It was easy to learn,” he says. “When I had questions I’d call Ron (now the president of CMI) who educated me in the nuances of CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) and tax law.”

Vandeventer is also impressed by how easy it is to use CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM). He attributes this feature to Tolman’s own experience as a CPA. “Ron truly understands accounting, and has a thorough knowledge of the tax laws,” says Vandeventer. “When the tax laws change Ron knows it and understand it. Then he programs it.”

When he uses CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) to prepare professional depreciation schedules for his clients, Vandeventer knows he can count on the fixed assets software to do the job right every time. That’s because not only is CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) full automated, but it is updated regularly, reflecting the latest changes in tax law.

“One of the most important things about depreciation software,” say Vandeventer, “is that it must be able to be modified to reflect current tax law. And Ron can modify it. He has a great understanding of tax law, and what its purpose is. When changes occur, he makes ‘repairs’ quickly. Because of that I have extreme confidence in his product.”

Knowing that CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) reflects current tax laws puts Jim Vandeventer’s mind at ease. He know that, because of the instinct and understanding of CMI’s staff, CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) is the most complete fixed assets software program the CPA can use. And not just because it’s easy to use and performs all depreciation calculations.

“The most important feature of depreciation software,” says Vandeventer, “is that it conforms to tax law. It has to be up-to-the-minute. And CMI Fixed Assets (THE SYSTEM) is.”

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