From the July 2011 Review of Tax Document Automation Systems
- TaxWise & ATX customers who would like to implement automated tax document filing.
- Tax and accounting firms, especially those with high-volume that need a solution housed entirely on premises.
CCH Small Firm Services’ Scan&Fill is slightly different from the other offerings in this review in that it is designed primarily to automate the filing of scanned documents into folders within the Document Manager within a tax practice. Although data can be extracted from forms W-2 and 1099, the real value for most users is in how it creates folders and automatically routes documents to those folders based on recognized information. The product’s automation is targeted at reducing the administrative burden of filing documents instead of reducing the time needed to enter information from those tax forms into the proper screens in the tax application. Since our review criteria were partially designed to evaluate products targeted at automating tax data import, this product’s limited functionality related to extracting and populating data into the tax application has caused its score to be artificially low. The application is an excellent choice for small firms, but it should not be mistaken for a direct substitute for a more comprehensive tool designed to scan, organize, and populate a variety of documents.
Core Product Functions/Features:
Recognized scanned forms (W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, Form 8879 and Schedule K-1s) will be read by the program’s OCR and either properly filed into an existing client’s folder, or the program will create and label a new folder to store the documents. Any document can be stored to Scan&Fill’s Document Manager through the scan function, the program’s print driver or the program’s Add function.
The application makes it possible for users to annotate the documents on screen within the Document Manager. Amounts entered into the tax software can be validated against the scanned source document, and other schedules or forms can be printed directly to the Document Manager by using the Scan&Fill print driver. The application has an extensive audit trail so that users can know when a document has been accessed or modified. Folders can be password protected to keep especially sensitive items away from prying eyes.
Documents are scanned into many formats including PDF. However, any type of document, including Microsoft Word and Excel files, can be added to a client’s folder using the “Add” function. Scan&Fill allows users to open documents in their native format for revising and editing. The program’s print driver also allows users to print Word, Excel and Notepad documents to PDF directly to the client’s folder for permanent storage.
A unique feature of the Scan&Fill application among other products in this review is its support for electronic signature capture using the optional Topaz signature pads. This feature, along with the local installation and automated filing in the Document Manager makes this an excellent tool for high-volume tax firms. Scan&Fill users avoid the lag associated with using a tool that requires documents be electronically sorted at a service bureau ,which would stop most commercial tax operations from using the tool with their clients who come for a one hour interview, and leave with a signed tax return.
Scan&Fill is the only program besides CCH’s ProSystem fx Scan which has all parts of the application installed on the professional’s local network. The application includes a Document Manager system, and most users will also want to capitalize on the integration between Scan&Fill and the TaxWise or ATX suite of products such as tax prep software, Client Accounting Suite and the Fixed Asset Manager programs.
Scan&Fill supports automatic password protection of e-mail transmissions of data extracted from the Document Manager. Although this solution is not as secure as most portal solutions, it is successfully used in practice by many firms.
The solution is very easy to navigate, and is tightly integrated with the tax and document management applications. As such, minimal training is needed for an employee to be fully proficient on the software. CCH Small Firm Services provides a required webinar to help train new users upon purchase.
Small Firm Services offers free support on this product, with extended service hours during tax season. For the TaxWise line, support is offered in both English and Spanish, which may be helpful to practitioners serving the growing number of native Spanish-speaking communities around the country.
Although CCH Small Firm Services does not sell scanners or Topaz electronic signature pads, the website does recommend certain models and has a relationship with a preferred vendor who has served other customers well over the years.
Scan&Fill is priced for unlimited usage at $790 for a single user and $1,130 for five users. The product is not offered on a “pay per use” model.
2011 Overall Rating