5 Things I Learned by Going Paperless in My Accounting Firm
Every experience in life—good or bad—has lessons to teach us. Switching an accounting firm to a paperless office is no exception. It may seem like a daunting task at first, but it always pays off in the end, and it will teach you some important lessons along the way. Here are 5 things that one of our accounting clients learned from making the switch to a paperless office.
I would find myself sitting at my desk, abruptly realizing that I’d finished all of the work I needed to do, and it wasn’t even 5:00 yet! Going paperless showed me what a time waster paper really was, and it added more hours to my day. So not only could I take on more clients and increase my revenue, but I was able to spend more time with my family as well.
I also traveled a lot for clients in different states. Checking multiple bags for all of their paperwork was exhausting and expensive. Paperless systems helped me to lose that ball and chain, because I carried my entire office right on my laptop.
Now, with my paperless system, I can instantly find the paperwork the client is calling about and give him the answers he needs while I still have him on the phone. My clients have been a lot happier with this method, and many of them have told me, “I just don’t know how you do it so quickly!”
I’m also a lot faster with sharing documents with my clients now. I don’t have to send things via FedEx or wait until our next appointment to get the necessary documents and signatures. My paperless document management system includes a client portal, so I can safely, securely, and instantaneously send every client I have every document they need. Then they can sign it and send it back in a matter of minutes. This has made the difference between a return getting filed on time and a client having to file for an extension, which can really make a big difference in my clients’ level of satisfaction. Being able to do my job quickly has made all the difference in the world.
Before, anyone with keys could access any paperwork from any client, whether it was needed for their job or not. But with my document management system, I can set user permissions that restrict who has access to what without sacrificing on efficiency. That means I can view everything my clients send me, while my secretary can access the contact information she needs to do her job correctly.
There are a lot of other security measures in place that I could spend hours talking about, but suffice it to say that implementing this system has shown me just how vulnerable my business and my clients were before. Now, I can rest easy knowing that all of the data is encrypted and securely stored. Plus, I never have to stress over a compliance audit again, because I have no doubts that everything is as it should be.
Of course, I know now that there are better ways to do things. I don’t have to let paperwork control me; I control the paperwork now. I have it whenever I need it, wherever I need it, and I waste none of my precious time shuffling through files. And as any accountant knows, a little bit of freedom goes a very long way during tax season.
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