2013 Review of CCH ProSystem fx Scan

CCH a Wolters Kluwer business — ProSystem fx Scan

From the January 2013 review of Tax Document Automation systems.

Best Fit: Firms wanting to integrate automated workpaper and form preparation into the larger suite of tax and practice management programs in the ProSystem fx Suite.


  • Optical character recognition (OCR) is streamlined and fast
  • The AutoFlow Wizard feature helps provide data validation
  • User customization options
  • Side-by-side views of forms and source documents during review
  • Options for annotating, managing bookmarks and repaginating PDF documents

Potential Limitations

  • Scan and organize functions work with any tax software, but AutoFlow Wizard only imports data into ProSystem fx Tax.
  • Best suited to firms with larger volumes of individual returns

ProSystem fx Scan offers tax document automation and can be used as a stand-alone system or as an integral part of CCH’s ProSystem fx Suite, which includes applications for tax planning, compliance and preparation, practice management, document management, client collaboration and other services public accountants provide clients. The system is available as an installed program that is located on an office server or computer, with all data remaining at the firm, and also available as a web-based solution. The SaaS version includes 24-hour turnaround for organized tax documents, with average turnaround time of about two hours.

Core Product Functions/Features: 4.75 Stars

ProSystem fx Scan has two separate principal functions. The Scan function uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to create bookmarked PDF copies of client source documents. These documents, such as W-2s, K-1s, 1098s, brokerage statements and others, can be scanned into the system in any order, with the system recognizing which forms are which, and placing them in proper engagement order.

The second main component of the system, AutoFlow, extracts the tax data from the scanned source documents. The system uses a validation process for review and then populates the client’s tax return with the data. Automatic population of returns is not required, but the function is available for those also using CCH’s ProSystem fx Tax.

A useful add-on utility is PDFlyer, an Adobe Acrobat plug-in that lets users annotate, markup, and review the bookmarked PDF documents created by Scan. PDFlyer also includes the ability to merge and append PDFs, a useful feature when additional documents come in late. It also has a convenient 10-key calculator that enables users to quickly and easily add calculator tape to PDF workpapers.

Paperless Workflow: 4.5 Stars

When using ProSystem fx Tax, after scanning documents, the AutoFlow Wizard identifies SSN/TIN numbers on the source documents and matches them up with existing client data files in the tax preparation program. The user then selects a tax return and the AutoFlow Wizard compares the scanned tax documents with the information entered for the client in the prior year, and attempts to flow the data to the correct form for tax documents that may apply to various forms of a tax return (such as 1099-MISC or a 1098).

Users can either validate the data at this point, or have the data immediately populate the tax return, to be reviewed later for data accuracy. When using the built-in data validation function, the system provides a screen that shows the source document at the bottom and at the top, a pane with the field name, the electronic value of extracted text, and an image of the extracted text. This convenient layout helps in reviewing the accuracy of the OCR since it shows these fields side by side instead of in separate windows. The validation screen also highlights certain amounts in different colors to show the data that was imported to the tax software and bring potential errors to the user’s attention. Users can adjust the layout of the validation screen to have forms appear on a separate monitor, easing the review process.

A diagnostics spreadsheet is included in the organized PDF created by the program, and includes a list of missing forms, skipped forms, and invalid fields. A separate spreadsheet displays the gains and losses detail extracted from the source documents, which can be imported into the tax program.

Integration: 4.5 Stars

ProSystem fx Scan integrates with other ProSystem fx programs, including populating client information from source documents to ProSystem fx Tax (available in both on-premise and SaaS versions of Scan), ProSystem fx Document and Global fx Office. Importing the data using the AutoFlow wizard is licensed on a per-return basis at a list price of $12 per return. For firms using ProSystem fx Document, Scan publishes the PDFs it generates to Document folders.

Help/Support/Training: 4.5 Stars

The program includes a comprehensive user guide, along with implementation documentation that is helpful in getting the hardware and software configured. CCH offers web-based and on-site user training, and its consulting group can assist firms with implementation. Online help options include the CCH Support Knowledgebase, documentation, news, online chat and phone support.

Summary & Pricing

Available in both installed and SaaS versions, ProSystem fx Scan provides a more user-controlled document automation system, with highly accurate OCR, strong data validation and PDF annotation, bookmarking and pagination options. Pricing for the ProSystem fx Scan application varies, with a starting price around $4,200. The Autoflow component is priced at $12 per return. The SaaS version is sold in bundled quantities.

2013 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars