I have one particular client that requires us to deliver a few annual packages and letters to their partnership members. Say, roughly 500 members. The letters have paragraph text, line text, considerable numerical data and require some formatting. These letters change each year based on current tax law and the specifics of the tax year. This is semi-unique work in our firm and so a massive enterprise wide solution might be too expensive.
Right now, we are using MS Excel for the letters. The advantages of this is: the numerical data is held in the same workbook as the letters so it's easy to do something like a sum formula in-letter (as opposed to needing a whole new data set), the letters are relatively easy to format and customize. The downside is, we need many different sheets for each eventual variation in the letters. At the moment, I'm just using a very easy VBA script to print the letters to PDF. To that note, that is about the extent of my coding ability and in general I need there not to be too much (if any) required scripting since I need CPA staffers to be able to handle the process.
The perfect solution would allow me to use some sort of logic to dictate which variation of letter a member might receive. For example, a set of partners I might designate as type A, should get a letter with 3 paragraphs and 15 lines with numerical data, special formatting and a 2nd page. Type B would get something different, maybe only two paragraphs and 10 lines, no special formatting and no 2nd page.
Of course printing to PDF would also be needed.
This past year we attempted to use a firm-proprietary software that integrated SSRS / Report Builder. This had the logic-part, but required the use of some SQL (meaning I needed a lot of help from IT - too much) and the formatting options were unwieldy (can't full justify text for example, only left, right, center). We decided we did not like this solution.
Right now, I'm taking wild internet stabs at other software but a lot of them seem either too advanced or too "enterprise-wide" (expensive). I really liked the sound of Windward Studios, but I fear it's too in-depth and I don't think we'll be able to put our data on a SQL server again (too techy for my people). Templafy seemed a bit too expensive starting at $800 a month. (I think I'd prefer the solution to stay below $3,000 a year or so).
I'm going to schedule a call with Webmerge by Formstack since they look to have smaller business solutions, but to be honest I'm not sure if I'm even really looking in the right direction.
If anyone could provide any other specific suggestions or advice, it would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks so much! Amesh
Not 100% on this as of yet and I'm surprised it might be this simple, but I think we might just end up using MS Word's mail merge function. I honestly didn't know it had such an in-depth logic/conditional system. Additionally, the "code" is simple enough that I can teach several CPA's how to do it.