What are the economic and business drivers causing CPAs to consider “paperless” solutions today?
In today’s economy, firms are desperate to reduce cost. Many firms are reducing staff, pay, or work hours. Although these steps may reduce overall expenses, they do nothing to improve staff productivity. To be more competitive in these challenging times, and prepared for the upturn in the economy that is sure to come, firms need to focus on improving staff productivity that is traditionally accomplished through the adoption of new technologies and processes. Paperless solutions help accomplish this goal by allowing staff to access and exchange documents more quickly, securely, and from any location.
Where does the paperless workflow begin and end?
CPA firm clients still use paper for the transporting of information. Some day that will change, but until then, a paperless office must design a point where paper becomes electronic. In a paperless office, that transition occurs at the very front end of the workflow; once the transition is made, paper is never used again. This includes the delivery of the end product.
What’s holding accountants back?
The real challenge is the natural resistance to change and the deployment of proper tools for working in a paperless environment. When firms try to go paperless without deploying the proper tools, it feeds the resistance to change and delays the firm’s deployment of a truly paperless environment. The secret to going paperless successfully is deploying the right tools.
OCR tools like 1040SCAN™ are relatively new technologies that help with the transition to a paperless workflow. By automating much of the source document organization and data entry into tax software, OCR reduces the workload for preparers and provides the reviewer a complete set of bookmarked electronic workpapers, resulting in a more efficient review process. Included with 1040SCAN™ is a source document editor called the SPE Binder. Think of SPE Binder as a PDF editor that is designed specifically for accountants and allows you to duplicate all the things you did in your old paper-based workflow in a truly paperless environment.
What’s “the next big thing” in “paperless”?
Although Outsourcing and OCR are the tools available today to help firms go paperless and increase efficiency, the end game is Data Aggregation. Try to visualize a world where at the click of a button all data related to preparing a tax return is electronically pulled from hundreds of sources (i.e. banks, employers, brokerage firms, etc.) and is automatically populated in your tax software—totally eliminating the need to perform any data entry. Think of the value you could provide your clients if you didn’t have to spend hours typing data into tax software but instead spent your time analyzing the data and using your talents and knowledge to help taxpayers minimize their tax liability and plan for the future.