The Pickle and the ScanSnap

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
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Have you ever been in a pickle? You know, a troublesome situation like the pickle Arlo Guthrie sings about in The Motorcycle Song. Well, like Arlo sings, “I don’t wanna pickle. I just wanna ride on my motorsickle.” That’s how I felt today as I was preparing to head out of town for a relaxing, no-internet-available weekend in the mountains when a procrastinating, but loveable and good client decides to give me his return to do at the last possible second. This wouldn’t be a problem except he had an unusual amount of stock sales – 481 to be exact. Every one of those stock sales has to be reported individually on Schedule D. The Internal Revenue Service does not care that the sales don’t amass to any significant gain or loss on the return or that the Broker has already provided them the detailed information on the 1099B. Nope, they want each sale listed individually. This will take a long time to type into my tax program and my assistant is on vacation. I don’t have a lot of time before my relaxing weekend, either. As a result, I’m sulking a little bit because I am in a pickle between trying to meet this client’s expectations and not holding up my friends. I started thinking of the fastest way to get this done.

Oh Snap! I got it!

Using my ScanSnap 1100, I was able to scan all of those stock sales straight into Excel. Each column of the broker statement scanned into individual columns in Excel: number of shares, description, date acquired, date sold, purchase price, sale proceeds, and more. After some minor tweaking for miscellaneous unneeded information on the broker’s statements, I could then import this spreadsheet straight into my tax system. What an incredible time saver!

Did you know that ScanSnap could do this? I have also used ScanSnap to scan a letter into Word and change it to fit my purposes instead of having my administrative assistant type the letter from scratch.  The ability to scan into Word and Excel is an amazing feature. Just scan the document, hit “Finish Scanning,” and then, choose “Scan to Excel” or “Scan to Word.” You can also scan to Evernote, SharePoint, Google Docs, and PowerPoint amongst others.

So now, like Arlo, I’m off to drive up the mountainside. Only in order to avoid any more pickles, I’m not about to play the guitar while doing so.

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.

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