Paperless documents and digital offices should reduce the amount of paperwork stored by accounting firms, yet somehow companies still manage to horde mountains of paperwork. Instead of focusing on the paperless aspects of accounting, firms should move toward a document management strategy that changes the way companies handle information.
Document management becomes content management because some information from clients starts as digitized correspondence such as emails, bills, faxes and tax returns. Other content may involve company logos, photographs and social media posts from clients. Paperless documentation means more than freeing storage space when you understand how much information already arrives at your desk in digital form.
Accounting software specializes in finding bits of data that turns raw numbers into usable facts for accountants. Programs find metadata, or tags that identify electronic files, stored within database. One key to managing paperless documents lies in the retrieval system, so firms must find software that caters to its information needs.
Managing documents extends beyond your accounting firm. Another key to integrating accounting software is how well your clients adapt to your system. To this end, an accountant becomes a salesperson for cloud computing applications that let the company communicate seamlessly with a client's computers in real time. If an accountant needs to view a company's financial database, it should be simple to log in and see exactly what the customer sees. Accounting firms access paperless documents instantaneously rather than waiting for a visit from the company's CFO.
Client documents become particularly important during an audit, which means content management must be top-notch. A paperless document system between the client and firm reduces mistakes, catches red flags and makes an audit run more smoothly.
When firms choose a content management system, paperless documents should not interrupt workflow. When a business closes for the day, computers automatically save and send financial data to the accounting firm, including payroll, sales, inventory and payments. Transmission of this data must be secure and worry-free.
Many popular software suites incorporate a system for managing documents as part of the service, and some include cloud computing systems. Ease of use remains the top priority among firms and customers. Single programs handle all aspects of accounting such as ledger management, billing, report preparation and analysis.
Information not only leads to better audit capabilities, but also allows clients to plan for future needs more effectively. When your firm goes to a digital accounting model or a cloud computing program, clients get on board because they realize how much time and money they save.
The first step toward paperless documents involves choosing the proper software, and all information and management needs should be considered. Making the right choice can have a positive effect on your firm's productivity.
Photo courtesy of nattavut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net