Document management is knowing what you have, where you have it, and how long you have to keep it. Document management is also a non-billable function that consumes quite a bit of time in tax and accounting firms. Let me ask, who is handling this task in your office?
There was a time, I could walk into your office and there would be paper strewn about desk to desk, file to file, cabinet to cabinet. Client Bob would come in looking for a copy of his last year’s tax return, and it would take your administrative person, yourself, or another accountant 10 minutes to dig through the piles of paper to find what Bob was searching for. I apologize if this is still your firm today, but don’t worry, you came to the right place.
Pros of Paperless Document Management
- Reduced operating cost
- Environmentally friendly
- Increased productivity
- Better security
Now this may be uncomfortable for you to hear, but set up the process and get things rolling before the 2021 tax season kicks off. The cloud is not a scary place, and there are a variety of solutions out there waiting to service your firm. GoFileRoom, Intuit DMS, FileCabinet CS, Axcess Document, ShareFile, SmartVault, and the list goes on.
Over 50% of the firms I speak with each week share with me they have no plan or intention to ever move to a paperless workflow. However, few are even open to consider the major benefits this can provide them outside of simply sending and receiving documents with clients. What about eSignatures? What about scan and fill options in the tax program? What about the sorting of tax documents bookmarked and done electronically? I will tell you, if you are not already using a paperless workflow in your office and with your clients, your firm is not as efficient as they could be. You are leaving hours of non-billable time, scanning, sorting, and sifting through client source documents alone.
What could the person in charge of this paper process be doing instead of a non-revenue generating activity? Answering emails? Taking client calls? Making business development efforts? Whether this is you or someone else at the firm, set your firm up for an efficient 2021 tax season by investing some time after 10/15 to get a paperless process in place.
Out of the tax and accounting professionals I work with, 50% refuse to make a change, while 25% actually consider it. The 25% who consider the switch to a paperless process, end up not making a change because “their clients will not want to use a portal system to upload documents.” I can tell you right now, this is a myth. If your clients value you, your firm, and the work you do for them, they will do as you say. Think about it, you can’t go to a doctors office anymore without going through a portal. What about mobile banking? Think of the time and money saved by your clients in this process as well, they never have to leave the couch!
Change is never comfortable within a firm. However, I challenge you, sit down with a handful of companies that offer these solutions. Take the time to lay out your process and identify roadblocks in your current workflow. That twenty minutes you spend each year on each client scanning, sorting, or sifting, what could you do with that time savings? Transform your practice into an efficient, secure, and future-focused firm.