Tracking IRAs

Article excerpt

Updated for new Roth accounts, software can help you manage customer IRAs

Congress handed banks a new product when it authorized the Roth IRA, which is likely to have broad consumer appeal. The software banks use for their IRA accounting and reporting has to reflect the special rules governing the Roth IRA, and two providers of specialized IRA software expect to release versions that apply to the new Roth rules.

Many banks run IRAs through their mainframe deposit account systems, but a few specialty programs are available to handle your customers' IRA portfolios. In addition, you can use software to administer self-directed IRAs, where customers choose their own assets-- typically stocks, bonds or mutual funds-instead of investing in bank depository products.

HELP FOR $3,000 TO $4,000

Nortridge Software expects to release an updated version of its IRA Accounting package that is Roth compliant. The Nortridge package comes in two versions, one priced at $2,995 for conventional IRAs and another priced at $3,995 that accommodates self-directed IRAs.

IRA Accounting is free-standing PC-based software that operates in DOS (2.1 or higher), but not Windows. If you want to feed data from other systems into this program or export data out of it to other systems, you have to invest in some programming to build the bridges to this data "island."

But the software does offer a full accounting and reporting package that can handle SEPs and Keogh accounts as well as IRAs. Multiple instruments and types of investments can be entered for each account, and certain investment options can be entered as "plans," linking clusters of data so that you don't waste time keying in all the specifics.

For example, renewable CDs, a popular IRA investment choice, are renewed automatically 11 days past the maturity date. You don't have to close one instrument and open another; the software supplies the new issue and maturity dates and the appropriate interest rate. Variable-- rate CDs can be pegged to five index rates, while fixed rates are applied according to the term and amount of the CD. Interest can be calculated for either a 360-day or 365-day year and compounded daily, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

To keep up with monthly transactions, the system accepts new IRA deposits by generating debit slips for a checking or savings account and an offsetting deposit to the IRA. For disbursements, the software posts an IRA debit and cranks out either a check or a deposit credit slip. …