How to create a binder

Article Objective: To assist users in navigating the Active Platform to create and set up a binder from start to finish. This includes; creating a binder, choosing the best source, linking to a source, configuring the data and finalising binder details. 

Context: A binder is all the information relating to a specific job for a given period. Typically, a binder will include the trial balance (the index) along with supporting records, worksheets and documents. 

Please refer to the Glossary for definitions of key terms used in this article. 


Creating a binder

Navigate to the Active Platform home page and click on Clients.

Select the relevant client by either searching or using various filters.

Click on the relevant client or client group to generate a list of entities associated with the same group. 

If there are pre-existing binders, clicking on the blue Wp logo next to the relevant client will show you a complete list of binders associated with that client. 


If you are creating a binder for the first time for a client, the Wp logo will appear greyed out. By clicking this, it will take you directly to the new binder pop-up to enter the details of the binder. 

Click the Wp logo for the relevant client to create a binder.

There are a two options when creating a binder in Active Workpapers - 'Create from scratch' and 'Rollover from previous period'. These options are discussed in the following section. If this is the first year you are creating a binder, proceed to 'Create from scratch' section, however if you are rolling from a previous period, proceed to 'Rollover from previous period' section.  

Create from scratch

Select Create from Scratch

Proceed to the 'Filling out binder details' section for next steps. 

Rollover from previous period

When rolling over from a previous period, you can either select an existing Active Workpaper binder or upload an Excel workbook stored locally on your computer. 


Option 1: Select existing binder (most commonly used)

Using this option, you can only select an existing binder. It will generate a list of all the binders created in the Active Platform associated with that client. We recommend you choose this option if you have already completed Active Workpaper binders. 

If you are rolling over from a Smart Workpaper, follow Option 2.

Option 2: Upload Excel workbook

You can use this option if you are rolling over from a Smart Workpaper or if your Active Workpaper binder is stored locally in your computer or in another document management system.

Tip: If your Active Workpaper binder or Smart Workpaper Excel file is stored in another document management system, you will need to download your binder and store it in your local computer before uploading the file to the Active Platform.

Filling out binder details

Once you have chosen one of the above options, this will generate a slide-out where you can fill out all the details which have not automatically populated, or manually override any of the fields which have been populated incorrectly.  

Firstly, select the Binder Type. 

Business Fitness provides a variety of binder types for common job types, including: 

  • Accounts and Tax - modified depending on entity type
  • Activity Statements
  • Fringe Benefits Tax - FBT & Salary Sacrifice 
  • Tax Planning
  • Tools and Calculations - Capital Gains Tax, Company Debit Loan & Loan Repayments Calculator

For this example, we will create an Accounts and Tax binder.

Once the binder type is selected, check to see that the date, binder name and binder template has populated correctly. If not, manually override this.  

Note: You will only see the Business Fitness binder templates and any firm binder templates your firm has specifically created. 

You can also assign users to their relevant roles in this slide-out. The users are pre-populated based on the client details, however it is possible to manually override any of the fields if required.

Additionally, if you would like to assign more users to the binder, you can do so by clicking Assign Additional Users. From here, you can select which users to add from the dropdown and select their relevant role.

Click Create Binder. 

From here, a pop-up will appear. Click Open Now. 

Setting up your binder

After you finish filling out the binder details and open the binder, you will be guided to the binder setup wizard. This wizard will walk you through processes such as importing your trial balance (if necessary), configuring your financial data and calculation columns and finalising the binder details.

Importing trial balance

You have two options when importing the trial balance - establish a connection with a new source or use an existing source you have already set up in Active for the client. 

A source is where the financial information is being imported from into Active Workpapers.

Any existing sources already configured in Active will be listed above the '+ Connect to a new source' button, with the logo and the name of the source file.

Additionally, you can choose not to import a trial balance if it does not apply to your current binder by selecting the 'I don't need a trial balance' option.


To connect to a new source, click on Connect to a new source

Active Workpapers currently integrates with Xero, MYOB, QBO and Class. If you are pulling your trial balance from any other system, see the knowledge article: How to import a trial balance using Excel

Linking the most appropriate source type for your situation is extremely important.

There are two fundamental methods to understand:

  1. If your firm uses Active Workpapers only, then you can choose one of two options:
    • Cloud source (Xero, MYOB, QBO, Class, etc.) - use this source when your client has a Cloud accounting file that you have access to. Proceed to 'Linking a cloud source to a binder' section for next steps
    • Excel source - use this where your client provides trial balance information from their accounting systemSee the knowledge article: How to import a trial balance using Excel 
  2. If your firm uses both Active Ledger & Reporting and Active Workpapers, it is important that you connect your clients Active Ledger & Reporting file as the source of your binder. This is to ensure that any changes made in Active Ledger & Reporting will be reflected in your binder. Proceed to 'Linking an Active Ledger & Reporting source to a binder - AU users ONLY' section for next steps

Linking a cloud source to a binder

Click on + Connect to a new source. Select your cloud file provider and you will be prompted to login to the cloud file provider to authenticate.



Select the file you wish to use with Active Workpapers. Click Allow access. 

Once authentication has been completed, return back to Active where you can select the relevant source file from the dropdown. 

After selecting the source file and the system has indicated that the connection is successful, click on Add Source to finalise adding the source file to the system.

Linking an Active Ledger & Reporting source to a binder - AU users ONLY

In the 'Add Source' file screen, select Active Ledger & Reporting.   

Select the Active Ledger file for the client you wish to link to your binder. 

After selecting the source file and the system has indicated that the connection is successful, click on Add Source to finalise adding the source file to the system.

Financial data configuration and calculation columns 

Once you have linked your trial balance source to the Workpaper binder, you will be navigated to the financial data configuration and calculation columns page where you can decide on what year(s) to import from. 

The current financial year and the prior financial year will automatically be pre-filled for you. You can manually override this if necessary. When reviewing the pre-filled information, ensure the 'Primary Column' checkbox is ticked for the current period.

Click Add Normal Column on the '+ Add Column' dropdown to add more comparative year datasets to your binder.

You can also add calculation columns, which can calculate a variance, percent variance or percent of sales to compare your current and prior year datasets. Click the Add Calculation Column on the '+ Add Column' dropdown to do so. 

Finalise binder details

The last step of the setup wizard is verifying and confirming the binder details. Some of the fields in this page are pre-populated with what has been selected at the beginning of the creation process. You can manually override this, if applicable. 

Additionally, fill out the remaining sections which require detail where applicable, including Accounting Method, Depreciation Method, Entity Type and Lead Schedules.

Note: It is critical that you make the appropriate Small Business Entity and Base Rate Entity selections as this will impact the tax calculation.

Once you have confirmed the details on this page, click Complete to finalise the binder setup process. 


Hint: If you selected 'I don't need a trial balance' in the Import Trial Balance step and later down the track you wish to connect this binder to a source, you can still do this by clicking on the 'Settings & Tools' in the binder and selecting Connect to a Source. 

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