“Paperless” seems to have a lot of different meanings. How do you define it?
It’s really an electronic, automated workflow that allows for greater productivity, collaboration and efficiency as work moves through the firm. Staff are more effective and the firm, more profitable.
Why now? What are the economic and business drivers causing CPAs to consider “paperless” solutions today?
Late last year, the CCH Accounting Trends survey identified the need to improve efficiency and increase revenue as the top factors driving change in firms. And, we identified then that these needs would require firms to accelerate adoption of paperless workflows and technology. The need only increases for innovative, cost-effective solutions that maintain profitability through increased efficiency. They just make good business sense as firms place increased emphasis on providing excellent client service.
How does your solution address today’s economic and business drivers?
As a strategic partner to our clients, we look at the overall firm, what it needs to be successful and, then, what solutions and workflow tools we can provide to help it achieve that success. As a result, our ProSystem fx software is designed to streamline your workflow, increase your productivity, help you address your staffing challenges and move closer to a paperless environment.
How much money can going “paperless” make or save for an accounting firm?
This is an important question and requires firm leadership to take an active role. The technology exists today in the CCH and ProSystem suite of products, and many firms are already experiencing levels of productivity unheard of earlier this decade.
Savings come from across the firm. There are administrative staff savings, since they no longer have to photocopy client source files, manually sort them, file the documents or search for them when they’re inevitably misplaced. Files don’t have to be moved from one level of storage to another and then eventually destroyed.
Do you have any examples?
We are seeing firms save up to 40% on each engagement after the first year of implementing ProSystem fx Engagement. These savings come from maximizing efficiency. For example, it only takes a few clicks to set up an entire engagement. Staff checks out only the workpapers they need, allowing others to work on the same engagement. And a dashboard monitors the flow of the engagement. Information also can be shared between ProSystem fx Engagement and other ProSystem fx software, further reducing data entry and increasing accuracy.
With the new functionality we’re building into the latest version of ProSystem fx Engagement, and with Knowledge Coach, which will be out shortly along with our next generation ProSystem fx Suite, there will be even greater efficiencies and automated workflow that will help firms realize even more benefits from paperless engagements.