SurePrep - 1040SCAN Pro and 1040SCAN Organize
From the January 2012 Review of Tax Document Automation Tools.
Best Firm Fit
Firms where more than one person is involved in the tax return preparation process with multiple levels of sign-off. It’s also a good fit for firms using the supported tax software who are willing to use SurePrep’s proprietary data-entry and SPbinder tools.
- SPbinder has an impressive feature set for organizing and annotating PDFs, Word docs, Excel files and Outlook emails.
- Depending on the complexity and variety of source documents for each return, a firm may either use 1040SCAN Organize, 1040SCAN Trades or 1040SCAN Pro, each of these priced accordingly.
- 1040SCAN provides the flexibility to skip certain processes, allowing a firm to use the product in a way that best fits its individual needs.
- Average turnaround time for the 2010 tax season was 22 to 25 minutes, the fastest among the products reviewed where the documents are uploaded by the firm and the OCR completed by the vendor.
- With so many options available, new users may experience a learning curve and take time to discover their preferred settings.
- Data-entry interface used to validate data is proprietary and different from the tax applications. Files created with SPbinder are also proprietary and cannot be modified with other common PDF editing applications like Adobe Acrobat. However, users have the option to skip the verification step and create an Adobe-compliant PDF instead of using SPbinder.
SurePrep has many years of experience providing accounting firms with a product line of scan, organize, and populate tax products that have improved year after year. Among its product offerings are the following:
- SPbinder is a powerful electronic binder and workflow system built for organizing electronic workpapers and managing the tax preparation process. Some of its useful features include a wide selection of annotations, multiple levels of sign-offs, as well as dynamic workpaper referencing and linking.
- 1040SCAN Organize uses form recognition technology to bookmark and organize standard tax documents.
- 1040SCAN Trades extracts an unlimited amount of capital gain and loss detail from brokerage statements to Excel and to Schedule D of supported tax software.
- 1040SCAN Pro exports data from standard source documents into supported tax software with tools to ensure accuracy and prevent duplication.
SurePrep also offers outsourced tax preparation services where the information from standard documents is verified by human eyes, and the document organization process is taken a few steps further. However, these outsourced services are beyond the scope of this review.
Core Product Functions/Features - 5 Stars
A few of 1040SCAN’s components must be locally installed, but all of the back-end processes such as OCR and the data are hosted by SurePrep. Therefore, the firm does not need to install or maintain OCR software on a server. The form recognition capability is very robust, with new forms added every year. A list of the covered documents is provided on SurePrep’s website.
One of the differentiating features of 1040SCAN is SPbinder, a paperless tax preparation workflow tool that also provides the capability to organize and annotate source documents (replacing Adobe Acrobat for firms that decide to do so). SPbinder allows the ability to drag and drop for organizing files, can put different sheets of an Excel spreadsheet into different areas of the folder tree, cross references workpapers with hyperlinks, and performs many other functions not available in Adobe Acrobat and related third-party applications. At the end of the tax preparation process, SPbinder allows users to create a bookmarked PDF of the source documents.
In addition to organizing and bookmarking source documents, 1040SCAN Trades extracts capital gain and loss detail from any of over 270 recognized brokerage statements, and exports that data to either the tax software or an Excel file. The Review Wizard allows for verification of the trades detail before exporting.