Walters says it's hard to provide a nutshell description of what eMoney Advisor is exactly, but in fact that seems to be true of more and more financial planning software tools lately. The drive to come up with an all-in-one software solution for planners has been forcing software companies to extend the features on their core products. Thus, you have a lot of client management programs offering portfolio management and analysis features, financial planning programs offering client management features, and so on. Trying to keep track of where software offerings begin and end can be dizzying, even to the more technologically sophisticated advisors.

Walters scoffs at the idea that his or any other software tool can do everything. "I used seven software tools as a planner," he says. "I just have a bias against one thing doing it all."

Instead, he sees eMoney as providing a platform for an advisor's bread and butter: financial planning and clients. "It's deep on financial planning and the rest is client relationship driven," he says. "We don't want to build every piece of the puzzle."

Another key to eMoney, he says, is that advisors are at the center of what happens at their Web address. They give the clients access. They can monitor the frequency at which clients visit their personal Web page. And they can control what features clients can and cannot use once they log onto their Web page.

Among the central features of eMoney are a home page with a customized logo for each advisor, aggregation of client accounts updated on a daily basis, investment analysis tools, and a "vault" that can hold 20 MB of electronic client information ranging from wills and estate documents to personal items. The home page also allows clients to check on their investments and the items inside their vault.

Many advisors use the product as a presentation tool, he says, sometimes putting their computer display on wall projectors during meetings with clients.

The look and feel of eMoney, in fact, may be its biggest selling points, says Jim Starcev, managing principal of Etelligent Consulting, a financial software consulting firm in Overland Park, Kan. Starcev says advisors he's spoken to who use the product are most interested in its use as a marketing tool. "It really is a Web portal for clients to go into," says Starcev. "It's got a lot of sex appeal. It's a very nice looking site with a lot of value-added features for clients. It's a strong marketing tool."

That's why, he says, eMoney could be appealing to younger, Web-savvy advisors and clients. At the same time, he notes that the $350-per-client price could be a turnoff for some advisors. "That's a pretty hefty charge," Starcev says.

Randy Davis, managing partner at Horizon Financial Group in Baton Rouge, La., says eMoney has turned out to be a valuable tool for one of the firm's important client groups: professional baseball players.

It's common, he says, for the firm's baseball player clients to use a laptop to log onto their eMoney Web pages while on the road to check on their accounts.