If you have ever hired a CPA, you know we take pride in our work. We meet with you, go over the information you provide, ask you endless questions you don’t want to answer and work diligently on your return. We spend 9 months reviewing everything we did the first 3 months of the year in order to improve upon our approach next year. We look for ways to do things better, quicker, more efficiently and with less cost.
Recently, I acquired a ScanSnap iX500. When it arrived in the mail I had two thoughts: 1) I better not be sitting here all night trying to hook up a scanner and installing software, and 2) I just got a ScanSnap iX500! WOOT WOOT! The scanner took all of 10 minutes to set up from taking it out of the box to loading up the software. I’m pretty sure every client of mine that owns a computer can set this scanner up. After testing out it’s expansive features, including its ability to scan straight to my iPhone or iPad, I can see how this is going to benefit the client/CPA relationship significantly.
A big part of our processes these days has become scanning. CPAs are always arguing whether it’s better to front-end scan or back-end scan to source documents (for w-2s, etc). One thing we tend to agree upon is that no matter which way you do it, electronic records are the best. If you can scan all of your documents in and send them to your CPA, you may help your tax preparer process them more effectively. In addition, the ability to scan makes it easier for them to exchange information with you. Recently, I took a client’s tax information packet he had dropped off, put it into the ScanSnap and pushed the “blue button.” The documents flew through ScanSnap quickly. I mean really quickly. Emailing scanned documents to your CPA will allow you to keep your original documents at home lessening the chance of anything getting lost in the tax preparation process.
Most tax preparers do not want to see or read every receipt you have accumulated for the year; however, scanning these items directly into a safe location like Dropbox, Evernote, or SugarSync in case of an audit is a smart idea. If you have a stack of itemized deductions or business receipts, this scanner will definitely fly though that information even if they are varying sizes of paper. You will then easily be able to access this backup information if your tax preparer needs to know more or you are unfortunately picked for an audit.
Often clients get one straggling form in the mail after they have already sent in their information. Since most individual clients do not have fax machines at home, they mail it, drop it off, or scan it into their computer and attach the file to an email. With the ScanSnap Connect smartphone app, you simply put the document into the ScanSnap, touch the blue “Scan” button from within the app and send the document straight from your smartphone via email. This has become my new way to “fax” a document quickly to a client. My smartphone is always on me while my computer may or may not be.
Overall, the ScanSnap iX500 is a fantastic tool to help you manage your home and business, as well as to organize your tax documents for your end-of-year tax preparation. If you haven’t already, check it out!
Shayna Chapman (@ShaynaCPA) is a ScanSnap Squad contributor and managing member of Chapman & Burris CPAs LLC, specializing in the fields of Business and Individual Taxation and Small Business Accounting Technology and Information Systems.