We just finished setting up a dedicated fairly high performance workstation for an accounting client that wanted to implement the CCH Scan product.
Initially we were a bit sceptical due to the specifications of the product that it would help them gain some efficiency. It turned out that the specifications sheet we were initially working with was way out of date.
An overview of all of the steps is to be found at the end of this post including the How-To for the firm’s CCH Scan users.
During the process of getting things up and running we were in touch with the CCH Canada support folks on a number of different occasions to troubleshoot some issues or gain some insight into the way the product worked that the documentation did not cover.
The support people we worked with were top notch and knew the product through and through.
CCH Scan’s Productivity Improvements
Now, how can CCH Scan help an accounting firm processing this year’s personal T1 returns?
Based on our experiences with the product once it was up and running, a firm will be able to scan and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) as many returns as the Kodak i1220 scanner (product page) can process pages.That is the first thing.
The second thing was once the CCH Scan plug-in was installed and activated in CCH Taxprep T1 2009, it would automatically bring up the client’s scanned content when the firm user opened the client’s actual T1 file.
They could then automatically import the scanned content and maintain the original scanned documents _in the T1 file_. No manual entry required for much of the return documentation.
How much of a time savings is that? When it comes to processing a large number of returns in a given tax season, the time savings alone would be very substantial.
Productivity for the firm users processing the actual returns would be significantly improved, while the firm would be able to save on the reduction of data entry clerk positions.
CCH Scan Install And Configuration
CCH had recommended the Kodak scanner. Now that we have worked with it, we can see why. It is a single pass full duplex scanner capable of over 30 duplex (two sided) pages per minute. It is _fast_!
The CCH Scan product needs to be installed on a dedicated workstation. There are quite a few services that get installed into that Windows XP Professional OS:
Once the scanning is complete, the OCR processing can max the CPU so a Core 2 Duo would be the minimum requirement. Keep in mind that the faster the CPU, the faster the OCR process is accomplished. So, spend the extra couple of hundred on the faster CPU as it will pay for itself in the long run.
CCH Scan Administrator
Once CCH Scan is installed, a folder structure, either on the local machine (set up by default by CCH Scan) or on a network server, needs to be in place so that everyone’s CCH Scan plug-in enabled Taxprep T1 2009 software can access the scanned data.
This is the CCH Scan Administrator setup we put in place with the scan output and OCR processing being done on a network server:
Note that the Import folder will be the destination for all TIFF files scanned by the Kodak i1220 scanner.
CCH Scan Dedicated Domain User Account
We set up the Kodak with a profile to simplex (single sided) scan at 300dpi into a single TIFF file with absolutely no prompts. We also set up a profile for the same settings but with the duplex setting. The Kodak has the ability to have up to 9 different scan profile types.
For ease of use, we created a restricted domain user account that the firm will use to sign into the CCH Scan workstation. Once into that profile, CCH Scan and the Kodak are configured to work together so that the user need only drop the stack of documents into the scanner and press a button.
Prior to dropping the documents in though, they need to create a Cover Page and if necessary some Target Sheets. This is done in the CCH Workstation component that can be installed on as many seats licensed.
CCH Scan Workstation
If the scanner icon is not in the system tray, the first time the user clicks on the CCH Scan Workstation icon to start the program all that will happen is the starting of the service and the tray icon appearing.
Double click on the system tray scanner icon and we get:
Click on the Print menu item and then Cover Pages/Target Sheets option:
We then get:
The cover page is used to set the client’s information in place. It is placed at the beginning of the client’s to be scanned tax documents.
Since we want the user’s name and social insurance number in the PDF file created by the OCR process, we do the following:
- Input the name and SIN and click Add.
- Repeat for each client document set.
- Print out the cover pages.
This is the resulting cover page:
During the CCH Scan OCR process, that cover page tells CCH Scan that all scanned content behind it belongs to the indicated client name and SIN.
Target Pages are generic in that they can be reused once a batch of client documents are scanned. They are used to segment the content within the client’s documentation.
Place a Target Sheet in front of a group of documents of the same type so that Taxprep T1 2009 will know where to put them.
- Medical Expenses Content
There are a lot of different categories for the Target Sheets. They essentially make it easy for the T1 import process as the scanned and OCRd documentation then appears under the appropriate tax form in Taxprep T1 2009.
The person working with the client’s T1 file can then input the needed numbers and references quickly into their tax file.
Ultimately the process is quite simple for the user.
CCH Scan Process Overview
- Adobe Acrobat Standard or Premium
- CCH Scan
- CCH Taxprep T1 2009
- Kodak i1220 or equivalent high performance document scanner
- Dedicated Core 2 Duo workstation with Windows XP Professional
- Intel X25-M SSDs in RAID 0 for ultra high volume OCR needs.
- Intel i7 9xx Series CPU with 4GB RAM for high volume OCR needs.
- Dedicated Workstation
- Install Acrobat and update.
- Install PDFFlyer.
- Install CCH Scan.
- Configure CCH Scan Administrator.
- Firm Workstations
- Install CCH Scan Plug-in into Taxprep T1 2009.
- Activate the plug-in using the CCH code within Taxprep T1 2009.
- Install CCH Workstation from the share location.
- Add shortcut to All Users’ Startup folder to auto start it when the user logs on.
Firm User CCH Scan Process
- On the user’s workstation:
- Start CCH Scan Workstation.
- Open the Cover Pages/Target Sheets dialogue window.
- Create all of the needed client Cover Pages and print.
- Cover Pages can be reused for the following year’s return.
- Keep an accordion file folder for the printed Target Sheets to be reused with the next batch of scans.
- This was a step that would be done whether manually inputting the data or not.
- Log on using the generic CCH Scan user ID.
- Place documents to be scanned face down in the scanner.
- Make sure the number displayed on the scanner is 1.
- Press the scanner’s scan button.
- OCR processing can take a few minutes depending on the number of clients and their documents scanned.
- Scanner creates one multi-paged TIFF file, but the OCR process will create the PDF using the name and SIN indicated in the Cover Sheet.
- The created PDF file will reside in the Export folder indicated in CCH Administrator. Do not touch this file as it is needed by Taxprep T1 2009.
- Accounting Firm policy needed here.
- Open Taxprep T1 2009
- Open the client’s T1 file.
- CCH Scan will prompt to import the scanned content into the client’s return.
- Assisted = step through process or each page imported.
- Automatic = pull all content in automatically.
- Once the content is important, make sure to verify each scanned document and its Taxprep T1 2009 equivalent page.
- Taxprep T1 2009 with the CCH Scan plug-in will automatically move the client PDF file into the Archive folder.
Data Security Implications
As with any client data that displays or contains a person’s or company’s private identifying information, considerations need to be made on the how and where that data gets stored.
As we move our accounting clients over to Windows 7, we are implementing Software Assurance for all new OEM Windows Desktop OSs that we install to gain access to Windows 7 Enterprise.
We can then run through and BitLocker all laptops with Windows 7 on them. Our clients can then be reasonably assured that any client data contained on those machines is secured.
From there, BitLocker To Go would be used to encrypt any external devices used to move client data about the firm or while at their client’s site.
On the server side of things:
- All servers should be in locked rooms or a locked cabinet.
- An appropriate password structure should be in place for users.
- Data encryption should be used if possible.
- Strict guidelines on company computer use are a good place to start when looking to secure that data.
Now that we have worked with the product, the CCH Support Team, and our client, we see a significant benefit to our accounting firm clients that utilize the CCH line of personal tax prep products.
Disclaimer: There is no need for one. Other than our contact with CCH for support purposes, this review and instruction set comes as a direct result of working with the product.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book