1040SCAN and our outsourcing services include our award winning workpaper system, SPbinder. SPbinder maximizes profitability & leverage by reducing reviewer time in the following ways:

Standardized Workpaper Index

A fundamental element of well-organized workpapers is a standardized workpaper index.  When workpapers are indexed in a consistent manner, reviewers know where to find them.  Document management systems make it difficult to organize workpapers this way because they only allow organization at the file level, not at the workpaper level. For example, a PDF file containing 50 pages and an Excel file with 3 worksheets could be printed and organized as 53 workpapers in a paper binder. In a document management system these workpapers are displayed as two files.

SPbinder is the only workpaper system that allows you to regain the organizational flexibility of paper with all of the benefits of a paperless environment. With SPbinder, the workpaper index follows the flow of the tax return or your firm’s own custom index and all standard documents (W-2s, 1099s, K-1s, etc.) are automatically bookmarked and organized. SPbinder can manage all of your PDF, Excel, Word and Email workpapers and SPbinder is included with all SurePrep software and service options.

Click on the image to the right to see an example of SPbinder's standardized workpaper index.


In a paper-based process, sign-offs enable preparers and reviewers to take ownership of their work and track their preparation or review progress. Most document management systems provide a sign-off function but it can only be used to sign off at the file level, not the workpaper level. For example, if a PDF file contains 50 pages, there is no way for a preparer or reviewer to sign off on just one of those pages.  An Adobe Acrobat plugin might allow for sign-offs at the workpaper level, but if there is more than one PDF file in the document management system reviewers must open each PDF file to view the sign-offs. Furthermore, Acrobat plugins won’t work on Excel, Word and Email workpapers. With Acrobat plugins and document management systems, keeping track of what has been reviewed and what has changed since the last review is cumbersome, time consuming and, in some cases, impossible.

The sign-off tracking process is simple with SPbinder because it allows you to easily view workpaper completion based on 4 levels of sign-offs across all file types (PDF, Excel, Word and Email).

Click on the image to the left to see an example of SPbinder's sign-off functions.

Standard Tickmarks & Annotations

In paper-based workpapers, reviewers quickly understood the work performed because preparers documented it using tickmarks indicating amounts were footed, cross-footed, summed, entered into the tax return, etc. When numbers were added, they were summarized with calculator tapes. In the paper world it didn't matter whether workpapers were created in Excel, Word, PDF or any other format, because once printed they could be annotated with colored pencils.

But in the paperless world, preparers lack the digital equivalent of the colored pencil. They have no tool to place tickmarks and annotations on any workpaper, regardless of file type. They may have an Acrobat plug-in that facilitates tickmarks in PDFs, but those tickmarks are not available for workpapers prepared in Excel, Word or Email. As a result, reviewers find themselves reviewing workpapers that are incompletely annotated making it a challenge to understand the work performed.

SPbinder simplifies workpaper review because preparers use standard tickmarks and annotations that work across all file types.

Click on the image to the right to see an example of SPbinder's file type agnostic tickmarks and annotations.


One of the most important workpaper preparation techniques is using cross-references to show where numbers are coming from or going to. This enables reviewers to swiftly flip back and forth through workpapers, following the trail of numbers between the tax return and source documents. Think, for example, if you have an Excel-based K-1 reconciliation workpaper that summarizes amounts from numerous K-1 source documents and shows how they flow to the tax return. Traditionally a preparer would cross-reference amounts from the Excel-based reconciliation workpaper to both the K-1 source documents and the return enabling the reviewer to quickly trace tax return amounts to their related K-1 source document.

In today’s paperless world, however, this type of cross-referencing is not possible because document management systems and Acrobat plug-ins do not provide the ability to cross-reference workpapers between separate PDF files or different file types (for example, from PDF to Excel).  As a result, reviewers spend more time tracing tax return amounts to source documents.

SPbinder enables preparers to cross-reference ANY two workpapers, regardless of file type. Reviewers can "drill down" from one side of of the reference to the other making review faster than ever before.

Click on the image to the left to see an example of SPbinder's cross-references.

Open Items & Review Notes

In paper-based workflows, open items and review notes were generally tracked on pages affixed to the front of the workpaper binder with each note being referenced to its related workpaper(s). This allowed preparers and reviewers to find all notes in a single location and quickly flip to the related workpaper.

Managing notes in this way is not possible when using a document management system as the basis for a paperless tax process.  If notes are kept in a single place, such as a Word file within the document management system, they are not linked to their related workpaper(s). This requires reviewers to waste time and effort opening and searching through files to find the workpaper to which a note relates.

Alternatively, if notes are embedded in the workpapers themselves (for example, using comments in Acrobat or Excel), the reviewer has lost that central location where they can go to get a high level overview of all open notes. And worse yet, the reviewer must still spend time going from file to file and page to page ensuring they have found all open notes. In short, managing a paperless process in this way does not enable notes to be both managed centrally and linked to their related workpaper(s).

SPbinder provides a single place where preparers and reviewers can find all open items and review notes. Notes can be linked to individual workpapers, regardless of file type, and reviewers can jump from the note to the related workpaper in just one click.

Click on the image to the right to see an example of SPbinder's powerful notes functions.

Leadsheets & Reconciliation Workpapers

For more complicated returns, preparers have traditionally created leadsheets or reconciliation workpapers to help the reviewer tie tax return amounts to the related source documents.  Limitation calculations and K-1 reconciliations are examples of standard workpapers that enable an efficient top-down review process. But preparing leadsheets takes time as numbers must be entered into both the leadsheets and the tax return. And as previously discussed, the ability to cross-reference Excel-based leadsheets to a PDF file is either extremely time consuming or impossible.  As a result, this type of cross referencing has largely been lost in today’s paperless tax processes.  But reviewers still need the ability to efficiently tie out tax return amounts to source documents, especially on complex tax returns.  So what if there was a way to automatically create leadsheets without requiring amounts to be entered into both leadsheet workpapers and the tax return? With SPbinder there is.

SPbinder provides a leadsheet option where amounts entered into leadsheets export to the tax software, eliminating double entry (and if the amount was picked up by OCR, then even single entry is eliminated). Reviewers can drill down from the tax return line to the underlying source document to quickly understand where the tax return numbers are coming from.

Click on the image to the left to see an example of SPbinder's time-saving leadsheets option.

What Customers Are Saying About 1040SCAN

  • 1040SCAN PRO is at the core of a highly efficient workflow. It is the elite software in its class.

    Crissie Landry, CPA LaPorte CPAs & Business Advisors
  • 1040SCAN has helped us to standardize our workpapers, while moving the scanning and verification to administrative staff, freeing up professional staff to get the tax files done in less time.

    Barbara Cooper, CPA, MBA Cooper Associates, LLC
  • 1040SCANverify can be a lifesaver for extensions. If you’re in a crunch and you need to quickly calculate an extension payment for clients that have primarily standard documents, it [1040SCANverify] can quickly calculate the tax liability.

    Beth Attebery, CPA The Henry Levy Group, A CPA Firm
  • With SPbinder, preparers can create open items and other notes that are automatically linked to the related workpapers. Then they can export the notes to email. Then I can get the email as the partner-in-charge, I can open SPbinder and quickly go to those pages and answer the questions, and leave a trail showing that it was me who answered it. So that was a process that gained efficiency.

    Jeff M. Lawson, CPA, MST Stoy, Malone & Company, P.C.
  • The decision to center our tax workflow process around SurePrep will prove to be one of the most important choices in the history of our firm.

    Adam Wolfe Bobby Medlin CPA
  • 1040SCAN did an excellent job of getting all the numbers out of brokerage statements… We could very easily get through multi-page Schedule D’s and out of maybe five or six hundred numbers that have to be imported into the return, there were only two or three numbers that had to be changed (in verification). So it was highly accurate.

    Paul Sevigny, CPA, CVA, CFA Stoy, Malone & Company, P.C.
  • 1040SCAN PRO has bookmarked the whole file, perfectly entered interest, dividends and it’s done. With 1040SCAN PRO I’d say that I easily saved 50-75% of my time.

    Susan Shusko, CPA