Accounting Document Management Case Study

Accountants are expected to prepare and examine financial records with precision, poise, and speed. Accounting document management systems make it easier for this in-demand occupation to provide the services and attention its beneficiaries need. In the accounting world, W-2s, I-9s, capital asset activities, vehicle logs, tax records, insurance information, payroll documents, worker’s compensation documents, FOrm 7089s, and I-95s are commonly handled in paper form.

For accounting firms and practices not going paperless, there is considerable opportunity cost at play, and the longer accounting firms and practices wait to go paperless, the more likely these losses will fall under the “sunken costs” category—becoming non-recoverable losses, and firms feeling remiss in the absence of better accounting document management practices.

Ballard and Company chose eFileCabinet’s  accounting document management solution to avoid potential problems regarding lost or misplaced documentation. When a client brings in a document like a 1099, employees scan the document and save it in the DMS system.

This system then prevents any confusion of potentially lost documentation in the future: If a client insists that they provided certain documents, the firm can easily look it up in their DMS solution. If they’re not in the electronic file, it means the documents were not provided by the client. DMS protects Ballard and Company from blame and vulnerability in any information disputes that may arise with a client.

Ballard and Company went paperless with their DMS solution in 2006. Prior to that, their office space was not being optimally utilized, being lined with filing cabinets. Patrick Ballard, Owner and CEO of Ballard and Company, the largest sole proprietor CPA firm in Arkansas, estimates the price of going paperless:

We had over 25 filing cabinets . . . now we have only 8 or 9, and most of them are empty except during tax season. If we had not gone paperless we would have 40 to 50 filing cabinets today.”

Additionally, the old paper filing and tracking methods required hours of time better spent assisting customers and earning revenue for the company. Ballard describes DMS as a practical necessity in the accounting industry:

“I can’t imagine anybody functioning in this day and age not being paperless. . . . Our profitability and efficiency have skyrocketed. Implementation was easy. For anything we needed . . . we had to go through the original, make copies, and manually enter information. . . . Now we’re able to literally do everything paperless. It just flows. We don’t have to go pull a file.”

Ballard did not find a drop in security measures as his company transitioned to DMS—on the contrary:

“That’s one of the nice things. [The security] averts problems, and we’re able to easily send encrypted files to clients, so that they are aware of what’s in our system and what information we actually have . . . everything is at our fingertips with a few clicks of a mouse.”