Reader Story: Paperless Accountant Using OneNote And A ScanSnap

Reader Story: Paperless Accountant Using OneNote And A ScanSnap

Income TaxThis post is part of the paperless stories feature at DocumentSnap. Some stories are from readers that have successfully gone paperless, some are still going through it. Would you like to share your story too?

Today’s featured DocumentSnap reader is Eileen Reppenhagen, CGA from Delta BC, Canada. She can be found at

What problems were you trying to solve by going paperless?

How to create binders with information, for example, creation of a working paper file. As an accountant, you start a file, and then find transactions that require different categorization either as capital or income, and additional information appears that requires processing. Sometimes the working paper file gets completely revamped four or five times.

What were the biggest stumbling blocks?

Figuring out a way to find everything again.

Tell us about your paperless workflow

I use Microsoft OneNote to create working paper files and in fact, showed the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers how to use OneNote in a recent series of online workshops which were recorded and are for sale on my website shopping cart.

I also use Evernote for recording my Tasks and To Do’s and Notes. What’s cool about Evernote is that I can move an email straight into Evernote to create a note and sort it into folders right from the Outlook email.

Is this for a business? Tell us about it

Yes, I’m an accountant who prepares personal tax returns. I used to prepare business returns too, but have decided to narrow my focus to only personal work. This can sometimes still involve a self-employed person, and for every person or family, I prepare a working paper file to keep pertinent information about the work and a record of the work. It’s referred to as ‘work product’.

Is There Anything Else We Should Know?

I use Outlook for email and Calendar, GoToMeeting to meet online, Evernote for Tasks and OneNote for creation of working papers and project files. For example, I’m writing a story, which is will be published as an e-Book about organizing your personal papers. I have 24 checklists for sale on my website in the Store to help you organize paperlessly, by entering your data into the Microsoft Word fillable forms, and storing those forms to edit when your financial situation changes, plus creating a Quicken data file with your financial records, you can be very organized, all paperlessly.

All of this paperless organization, combined with the use of a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 means that I’m using so much less paper than before. I used to stock up at tax time with multiple boxes of paper, but this year, I’m thinking that I might not even use one box.

Thanks Eileen that’s an awesome combination of tools to get your work done efficiently.

If you have questions for Eileen, leave a comment and I will try to get them answered, or head on over to her site.

(Photo by Alan Cleaver)

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 6 comments

Eric Lorenz - June 19, 2016 Reply

So I’m curious as to the split between Evernote and OneNote…was there some specific reason for that (integration with Office, previous use, etc)? I would think EN would work well with all of that…

Searching for Accurate Maps - Going paperless: tips from a OneNote and Evernote user - April 20, 2014 Reply

[…] For you OneNote fans, DocumentSnap has written a blog-post about how an accountant uses OneNote and a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner to go paperless. […]

jshueywa - June 1, 2012 Reply

Thank you! This worked! I'm now scanning to OneNote.

Apologies for the delayed reply. I had to install the drivers for OneNote (there is a Print to XPS driver required) and a Repair of Microsoft Office and a reboot (or two) involved to get the "Print to OneNote" drivers to appear as an option. All done now and working. BIG SMILE!

    Brooks Duncan - June 1, 2012 Reply

    Awesome thanks for letting me know! <p style=”color: #A0A0A8;”>

jshueywa - May 30, 2012 Reply

What command line string do you use to start OneNote AND send the scanned image?

I used the following string … and get an Error when the scanned image tries to be dropped into OneNote. The error is: "Files from other programs cannot be opened in OneNote. Select a OneNote file."

The command line string I am using is below:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\ONENOTE.EXE"

I have checked with the Microsoft page that provides options for /switches. I tried several of them and had no success in dropping a scanned image into OneNote. Thoughts?

Here is the link for the OneNote switch options:

    Brooks Duncan - May 30, 2012 Reply

    Not sure about Eileen, but this is how I have done it in the past:….

    The trick is to scan to the printer that OneNote adds, rather than the application itself.

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