the Sept. 2008 Feature on Scan/Fill/Populate
Copanion is a new entry into the space, having debuted GruntWorx last fall.
The fully web-based workflow management system provides scanning, identification
and bookmarking of all client documents into a set of digital workpapers that
enables users to quickly jump to any document when reviewing a return or performing
other tasks. The system also allows the addition of tickmarks and notes from
multiple users, allowing firms to keep much of their traditional processes intact.
In its first year (TY2007), professional users at firms ranging from the Big
4 to small practices processed more than 350,000 client documents using the
In time for next tax season, Copanion is adding automatic tax return population
features to the Pro version of GruntWorx, making it one of the few products
on the market that is not from a tax software vendor and that integrates with
multiple systems. For the 2008 tax season, GruntWorx Pro will automatically
export data from scanned tax documents into GoSystem Tax RS. Support for additional
tax preparation software packages will be determined and announced later in
the 2008 tax year.
Among the more notable features of GruntWorx are several patent-pending technological
aspects, including biometric recognition of forms. This feature in particular,
which is similar to the technique used by law enforcement for analyzing fingerprints,
gives the system the ability to recognize the most minute differences between
various forms. Couple this with the intelligence of the program, which can actually
learn as it goes and share this experience across all users, and the result
is that GruntWorx has the ability to recognize virtually any type of form or
consolidated statements, regardless of the issuer. The system also has the ability
to identify tax organizers and handwritten notes.
The resulting product is an organized, bookmarked PDF file and coversheet,
with a summary of client data that can then be uploaded into one of the supported
tax preparation systems. GruntWorx also has an Image Enhancement feature, which
improves the quality of scanned input. All of this processing power gives the
system extraordinary accuracy, but requires significant infrastructure, which
Copanion maintains at its secure facilities.
The actual user process is very simple, and the initial functions take only
- Select a client,
- Scan client documents or add documents from previously scanned PDF files,
- Upload the data through the secure GruntWorx system.
GruntWorx then processes the files and identifies, classifies, sorts and compiles
the bookmarked PDF workpapers. When processing is complete (usually in one or
two hours), the program notifies the user, who then securely downloads the PDF.
Tax professionals can use the bookmarked PDF to quickly find and enter tax data
in any tax software. GruntWorx Pro provides the additional capability to extract
data from the scanned tax documents and automatically populate the data in tax
preparation software. The extracted data can be verified for accuracy against
the scanned source documents in the bookmarked PDF.
All data is secure, remains in the United States and is never accessible to
outside eyes, making the system fully compliant with IRC 7216. Pricing for the
scan & organize function is very affordable at $1 to $2 per client based
on volume, regardless of the actual number of documents and pages scanned. Pricing
for GruntWorx Pro for GoSystem Tax RS will have a list price of $50 per return.
“Automatic population of client data can save significant administrative
time, but there are many challenges that must be overcome to develop a reliable
system,” said Ed Jennings, Copanion’s vice president of sales and
“There can be thousands of variations of even the most basic forms, depending
on the issuer, so we focused on ensuring the accuracy of classification across
a broad range of forms. We also wanted to make sure the system was intuitive
and easy for users to understand.”
Forms Supported for Automatic Population: GruntWorx can classify
and extract data from virtually all forms (1099, 1098, W-2, K-1, 2439, SSA,
etc.) and combined brokerage statements.