And then there were 6!
Just two preciously short years ago there was no software to help accountants organize the [ever-growing] stacks of client tax compliance source documents. And the thought of auto-magically harvesting data from those documents and directly pushing into tax preparation software was a glimmer in a few thought-leaders' minds. And then came BOCDIP (see November, 2005 post) which was soon acquired by CCH. (see March, 2006 post). At about the same time industry visionary Dave Wyle's SurePrep released 1040SCAN which very quickly moved the game up a notch ... or two! Suddenly it wasn't enough to simply "scan & organize" as "scan & populate" had arrived. There was definitely a new sheriff town.
Last tax season (2006 returns) CCH's ProSystem Fx Scan and Thomson's GoFileRoom both had "scan & organize" modules while 1040SCAN and Lacerte's Source Doc Auto-Entry both included "scan & populate" features. For the upcoming tax season (2007 returns) Lacerte has pulled it's "scan & populate" product and the others will be joined by new products from CCH Small Firm Services (TaxWise and ATX), CCH ProSystem Fx (a limited release "scan and populate", a Thomson "scan & populate" limited release module for it's FileCabinet CS product. And, just to round out the bidding there is a brand new entrant into the fray --- a Boston-based company named Copanion has announced a "scan & organize" service that will be essentially free for the upcoming tax season and will expand to "scan & populate" for the following season.
Copanion's web-based service is called GruntWorx and includes image processing, machine learning, biometrics, pattern recognition, OCR/ICR, business intelligence, data security and human interface design to complete what I can only describe as a "scan and INTELLIGENTLY organize" service. In terms of simple and easy these guys really get it --- you scan a pile a documents, upload the file via a highly secure portal, and a few hours later receive back an accurately organized, book-marked PDF file. Free.
Sign up here by December 31st for "your first 100 clients free" offer.
Hmmmmmm .... business model is obviously designed to get you try the system. And based on my initial reviews if you try it you'll like it. It's web-based so there's no investment in software or hardware.Because it's a file transformation service there's no training curve. And because it's tax-platform agnostic there's no compliance program barrier. In other words ... it's a no-brainer.
Oh, did I mention it's FREE for the first 100 returns?
PS: Like the old saying goes "you can't tell the players without a program" .... so here goes: