By Kristen McQuivey
Ballard and Company, LTD, CPAs, is the largest sole proprietor CPA firm in Arkansas. They have 3 locations in Northern Arkansas and 2 remote full-time employees, one in Central Arkansas and the other in South Carolina. In total they have 20 full-time employees and multiple departments, each of which specializes in specific areas such as Tax Services, Quickbooks, Accounting Services, and Auditing. The firm stays very busy with approximately 2,200 clients.
Patrick Ballard, owner and CEO of Ballard and Company, is a 40+ year veteran of the accounting industry. His wealth of experience is combined with a unique understanding of the benefits and necessity of using cutting-edge technology in the accounting field. The result? A highly successful company that is able to compete for clients all over the country. When it comes to any department within their company, their commitment to excellence and service has helped attract clients and referrals from all parts of the country. “Here we are, a small firm from Arkansas, and we’re able to compete against major firms.” Patrick says. “In the tax arena, there are only a few firms that are able to offer the level of services in complex tax areas and issues that we can.” He adds that the head of the tax department has a Masters in Taxation from Denver University and is one the very best tax minds in the industry.
Ballard and Company went paperless with eFileCabinet in 2006, but before that they were packed in with paper. “We had over 25 filing cabinets,” says Patrick. “Anything we needed, we had to copy for the client. When we were reviewing returns, we had to go through the original, make copies, and manually enter the information in, now we’re able to literally do everything paperless. It just flows. We don’t have to go pull a file. We scan the documents, and everything goes back to the client. Now we’ve only got 8 or 9 filing cabinets, and most of them are empty except during tax season. eFileCabinet really makes our job so much easier. I can’t imagine anybody functioning in this day and age not being paperless. If we had not gone paperless we would have 40 to 50 filing cabinets today.”
Patrick isn’t afraid of technology changes in the accounting industry; in fact, he was one of the first in his field to switch to a computerized tax program back in the day. When he started searching for a document management system, he knew he wanted one that wasn’t limited. When he found eFileCabinet, he knew it was exactly what his firm needed. “I looked at other programs and said, “Nope. Not even close. It’s too limiting.”
“eFileCabinet really makes our job just so much easier. I can’t imagine anybody functioning in this day and not being paperless.”
How They Went Paperless
Here’s how Ballard and Company has saved so much time and freed up some serious office real estate with eFileCabinet:
Every employee has access to eFileCabinet. All 3 locations have a full-time resource dedicated to scanning documents, and each document is scanned and organized in eFileCabinet’s cabinets and filing drawers by client, year, client correspondence, IRS correspondence, etc. Everything from emails to copies of messages and replies that are client-specific are stored in the client files pertaining to that department. Each department has their own system of sub files, and all necessary documentation is easy to track. All years, including archived back years, are in eFileCabinet. They keep 3 years visible and move older years into Prior Years’ files, which are still available at the click of the mouse.
“It makes our job very, very easy,” smiles Patrick. “And it also makes what we do very usable and very user friendly. It has increased our efficiency through the years dramatically.” As for how the transition to paperless went? “Implementation was easy,” he explains. “We had everything planned out ahead of time, and it was pretty seamless.”
“It makes our job very, very easy…. It has increased our efficiency through the years dramatically.”
Avoiding the Blame Game
eFileCabinet helps Ballard and Company avert potential problems regarding lost or misplaced documentation. When a client brings in a document, like a 1099, it’s immediately scanned and saved in the system. If a client insists that they gave them the information, they can easily look it up in eFileCabinet. If it’s not in the electronic file, it means the client didn’t give it to them, protecting Ballard and Company from blame and vulnerability. “That’s one of the nice things,” explains Ballard. “It 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.” Ballard is especially excited about eFileCabinet’s new mobile app, as everything is now available from his phone and iPad, making it all just that much easier.
Save More Than Just Space
In addition to saving on file cabinet space by going paperless, Ballard and Company has saved significantly on the bottom line. Ballard shares, “Our profitability and efficiency has skyrocketed since we implemented eFileCabinet. We would not be able to function at all without the system we’ve put in place using this program integrated with our other programs. We are grateful for eFileCabinet.”
“Our profitability and efficiency has skyrocketed since we implemented eFileCabinet.”
-Patrick Ballard of Ballard & Company, Ltd.