Thomson Reuters - Source Document Processing
From the January 2012 Review of Tax Document Automation Tools.
Best Firm Fit
Firms using other applications of the CS Professional Suite. Specifically, a FileCabinet CS license is required for the labeling and organizing function. An UltraTax CS license is required for the data extraction and import into the tax software.
- Integration throughout the CS Professional Suite.
- At $6 per client, this is the least expensive software performing all of the scan, organize and populate functions included in this review.
- Requires firms to use FileCabinet CS for annotating and referencing source documents instead of Adobe Acrobat (though files can be exported in standard PDF format).
- Source Document Processing only accepts image files. If clients send their source documents that they have scanned themselves in PDF format, the practitioner will have to go through additional steps to convert them to a format that will be accepted.
- Besides the CS Professional Suite, Source Document Processing service does not integrate with any other third-party document management or tax software.
The CS Professional Suite from Thomson Reuters offers an integrated set of tax, accounting and practice management applications. The Source Document Processing service integrates with both FileCabinet CS, the document management component of the suite, and with its tax application, UltraTax CS. This service will shortly be entering its fourth year of enabling users of the CS Professional Suite to have their clients’ source documents automatically and neatly labeled and organized, as well as transferring the captured data for individual income tax returns into UltraTax CS.
Core Product Functions/Features - 4 Stars
The interface for scanning client tax documents and adjusting the related settings is all done within FileCabinet CS. Because using the FileCabinet CS Source Document module does not require tax knowledge or familiarity with UltraTax CS, the tasks of scanning and data retrieval can be performed by administrative staff.
Paperless Workflow - 4.5 Stars
Under the “image” menu in FileCabinet CS, a user has the option to either retrieve a document from a scanner or copy an image file from the computer. Source Document Processing only accepts image files (including *.bmp, *.jpg, *.png and *.tif files), with the best results produced when working with TIF images. If clients send their self-scanned source documents as PDFs, the practitioner will have to go through additional steps to convert them to a format that will be accepted.
The OCR scanning takes place at the Thomson Reuters data center after tax documents are uploaded with CS Connect. The average turnaround time for the past tax season was approximately one hour. There are currently 85 standard forms that the product will label and organize and, of those, data can be extracted from 48 different forms. In the folder structure within FileCabinet CS, a colored square next to the client’s “drawer” indicates that OCR data has been retrieved, and a purple exclamation point directs the user to the applicable folder. Within this folder, the scanned documents are labeled with the form type and the issuer’s name. Firms can modify the default labeling and sort order to fit their workflow and preferences.
For the populate function, source data-entry screens show the data that was automatically populated in red text to indicate to the user that the data should be verified. Proforma information appears in blue. As the user clicks on each input field, the corresponding values on the source document are highlighted, providing an efficient way for the user to verify them. After verifying that the amounts are correct and making any needed adjustments, the user can click on the “export to UltraTax CS” button for each form. The next time the user opens the corresponding client in UltraTax CS, he or she will be prompted to accept the data.
Source Document Processing extracts gain/loss detail for trades from brokerage statements issued by several financial institutions and transfers them to UltraTax. Thomson Reuters does not offer a solution for indirect download of documents from financial institutions.
Integration - 4.25 Stars
The entire CS Professional Suite from Thomson Reuters is tightly integrated. In addition to the Source Document Processing service integration with FileCabinet CS and UltraTax CS, W-2s and 1099s prepared with other applications in the CS Professional Suite can be automatically imported. The products also integrate with the NetClient CS portals for exchanging documents with clients. However, Source Document Processing service does not integrate with any other third-party document management or tax software.
Help/Support/Training - 4.75 Stars
The Thomson Reuters support site is robust for the CS Professional Suite with a knowledgebase, tutorial videos, and an active Accountant’s Resource Network (“ARNE”) community. It is not as easy to find Help specifically related to Source Document Processing as the other products in the suite, but some articles and forum discussions covering the topic can be found listed under FileCabinet CS. The built-in Help for FileCabinet CS also contains some tips for using the CS Source Document module and a link to a video demonstration to help users visualize how the product works.
Thomson Reuters provides support for its products by phone, e-mail or completing an online form. New users have the option between web-based or on-site training from Thomson Reuters.
At $6 per client for an unlimited number of source documents, the UltraTax CS Source Document Processing Service is one of the least expensive among populate products. Since the price is per client, a firm can upload a stack of documents that is initially received and then later upload a late-arriving document such as a K-1 for no extra charge. Some firms elect to use the service for more complicated tax returns (for example, those with dozens of 1099s) but not for simple 1040s with only a couple of tax documents. The price includes labeling and organizing, as well as the option to integrate extracted data seamlessly into UltraTax CS.