How to create a binder

This article outlines the whole binder creation process in the Active Platform from start to finish. Use the quick navigation links in the table of contents section below to navigate to a specific tutorial.

Table of Contents:

A 'Binder' is all the information relating to a specific job for a given period. Typically, a binder can include the Trial Balance (the Index) along with supporting records, worksheets and documents.  

A new binder can be created either directly from the client or from within the Active Workpapers module of the Active Platform. The Excel file can then be opened once the binder is created (see the knowledge article: Do I use the online or Excel binder?).

Creating a binder from the client

Navigate to the client screen and select the relevant client by either searching or using various filters.

After selecting the relevant client, you will be able to see all information relating to that client, as well as other entities in the same client group, depending on what Active modules you are licensed for. Clicking on the Wp logo or Workpapers tab will show you a complete list of binders associated with that client. If you are creating the first binder for a client, you are able to click on the + next to the greyed out Wp logo. This will take you directly to the New Binder slide out to enter the details of the binder (see below).

Creating a binder from within Active Workpapers

Navigate directly to Active Workpapers.

From here you can access a list of all binders, with the ability to filter by various fields. 

Click on the + New Binder button. This will take you to a creation pop-up where you will have the options to create a new binder from scratch or to rollover from a previous period. When creating a binder from a rollover, you can do so by selecting an exisiting binder in Active or by uploading a workbook from your local computer. You can upload an Active Workpaper workbook or a Smart Workpaper workbook with the upload functionality (see below).

Creating a Binder

You have multiple options for how you want to create a binder in Active: Creating from scratch or Rollover from a previous period. 

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

  • Accounts and Tax - modifies dependent on entity type
  • Activity Statements 
  • Fringe Benefits Tax - FBT, Salary Sacrifice (available end of March 2023)
  • Tax Planning (available end of January 2023)
  • Tools and Calculators - Capital Gains Tax, Company Debit Loan

See the sub-sections below for a complete walkthrough of the creation process appropriate for your work.

Create from Scratch  click here to see more

When creating a new binder from scratch, there will be a new binder slide out you can select the relevant binder type and start and end dates. If you have navigated here directly from Active Workpapers (rather than from the client), you will also need to select the relevant client.


Details of the binder will populate automatically based on the client's details and the binder type selected in the dropdown. However, it is possible to manually override any of the fields if required.

You can also assign users to their relevant roles in this slide out, the users are pre-populated based on the client details. 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 the relevant role (see below).

For some binder types, there may be multiple binder templates to choose from. Select the template relevant for your job type.

Note: Those with Admin access can also create fully customisable binder templates to be used at the firm level.

Click Create Binder to save and complete the binder details.

You will then be asked if you want to open the binder. Selecting Later will return you to your previous screen to continue working.

Rolling Over from a Previous Period   click here to see more

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

Option 1 → Selecting an existing binder

Using this option, you can only select an existing Active Workpaper. If you are rolling over from a Smart Workpaper, you will need to use option 2 below.

Tip: When you select an existing Active Workpaper to rollover, ensure that the workpaper you are rolling over from is opened in excel before attempting to do a rollover.

Option 2 → Upload Excel Workbook

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

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

Setting Up Your Binder

After you finish filling out the binder details and open the binder, you will be guided to the new 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, finalising the binder details.

Importing Trial Balance

You have the option to either establish a connection with a new source or use an existing connection you have set up in Active. Any existing sources already configured in Active will be listed in the Import Trial Balance page with the logo of the source and the name of the source file. 

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

If you want to exit this page and return to the setup wizard at a later time, simply select 'Complete Later'. Active Platform will remember your last visited page, so when you reopen the same workpaper, it will take you back to where you left off. 

To connect to a new source, click on Connect to a new source in the setup wizard. If you have not imported a trial balance before or it is your first time creating a workpaper with Active, see the knowledge article: How to choose the best source for a binder.

Active Platform 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 link an excel source to workpapers (third party solution)

For a complete walk-through of linking your source to a binder for trial balance import, see and expand the sections below based on what is relevant to your practice. 

  • Linking a cloud source to a binder  click here to see more

When you click on Connect to a new source when importing your trial balance, the following screen will open (see screenshot below). In this screen, select your cloud file provider and you will be prompted to login to the cloud file provider to authenticate. 

Once authentication has been completed, you will be redirected 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 source to a binder click here to see more

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.

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.

Financial Data Configuration and Calculation Columns 

Once you have linked your trial balance source to the workpaper, 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.

Click + Add Column will add more comparative year datasets to your workpaper.

Hint: You can add a calculation column, which can either calculate a variance, percent variance or percent of sales column to compare your current and prior year datasets as shown below.

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 in the beginning of the creation process. You can manually override this, if applicable. 

Tip: When you rollover from a previous period, you will see the tag Imported from Prior Year in the final confirmation step.


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

Next article: Do I use the online or Excel binder?

Did you find it helpful? Yes No

Send feedback
Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.