According to a report published in December 2014 by HingeMarketing.com, more than 70% of accountants believe that attracting and developing new business is the greatest challenge that they currently face. In a world of increasing competition and globalization, the accounting industry has reached a point where more firms are fighting for a limited number of clients. The question is, what can your accounting firm do to establish a competitive edge and be successful even in an age where new clients are difficult to come by?
There are many potential solutions to the problem, some of which will naturally be more effective than others. However, one of the more proven solutions for business development and client retention in the accounting industry is electronic document management.
How DMS Can Help Your Accounting Firm
Electronic document management software (DMS) has helped businesses from all manner of industries to boost their efficiency, guarantee compliance with governmental and industry regulations, and ultimately move into the 21st century. From going paperless to providing easy options for cross-staff collaboration, a smart DMS system can help your accounting firm in more ways than we could reasonably fit into the modest length of this particular article. However, here are 3 ways in which DMS could specifically aid your firm in the areas of new business development and current client retention.
More Free Time
Digging through filing cabinets, hunting down physical files, dealing with lost paperwork, and other issues are all facts of life when your company uses a paper filing system. These manual labor issues can combine to be quite the time suck, thereby reducing the overall productivity and efficiency of your workforce.
For accounting firms competing to win or retain clients, the time it takes to maintain a paper filing system or locate necessary documents can directly cut into the time that your employees would otherwise spend on customer relationship management. How can you hope to provide relevant, up-to-date financial advice to a client if it takes 20 minutes to find any of the files related to that client’s finances? How can you hope to provide high-quality customer service when your workforce is spending more time interacting with filing cabinets than with clients?
The answer to both of those questions, of course, is that you can’t. Paper filing systems aren’t just inconvenient for accounting firms; they’re a downright liability. In a competitive market where your firm needs every advantage it can get, the time lost managing a paper filing system can be the difference between retaining a client and losing them. Switching to a DMS frees up time to tend to customers, thereby providing better service to your pre-existing customer/client base.
Better Document Security
So many companies and organizations have been the victims of hacks and data breaches in the past two years that you can bet security is a top priority for any business seeking a new accounting firm. Paper filing systems, of course, offer next-to-no security. Sure, filing rooms and filing cabinets are often locked, but it’s impossible to track which employees are accessing different files, and specific documents can be stolen, misfiled, misplaced, or lost without anyone realizing it for weeks or months at a time. And open-source DMSs are often not much better, lacking the user-based access permissions, the audit tracking, and the file encryption that keeps your documents safe from threats both inside and outside your organization.
The best document management software will make security a top priority, in turn allowing you to ensure clients that their information will always be kept safe and secure. For instance, eFileCabinet has received praise from accountants and CPAs for information protection features—such as 256-bit AES encryption, automatic backup, audit trails, role-based security management, SEC and FINRA compliance, a secure client portal, and more.
Reduced Information Overload
If your business is like other accounting firms, then you have a lot of different clients, tons of different folders, and uncountable numbers of individual forms and other documents filling those folders. Managing all of this information in a paper filing system is daunting, simply due to the manual labor side of things. Some cheap or open-source DMS programs hardly make things easier, though, acting more as cloud storage receptacles than as true document management solutions. In both of these scenarios, it’s easy to feel a sense of information overload. There’s just too much paperwork to organize, and not a good way to manage it all in a simple and efficient fashion.
A strong document management system will help your accounting firm overcome information overload. eFileCabinet comes with a number of workflow, organization, and sharing features that allow you to control (or even automate) every facet of your filing system—from how new files are created and stored, to when old files are archived are deleted. An intuitive search function reduces the strain of information overload, too, by combing the full text of every document in your system to find precisely what you need, precisely when you need it.
Are you interested in learning more about eFileCabinet, or in trying the software out for your accounting firm? Visit our website at www.efilecabinet.com and click the “Free Demo” tab at the left-hand side of the screen to access a complimentary 15-minute demo of the program.