If you’re still holding onto paper, then it’s time to reassess. Printing out the documents occasionally is absolutely fine. Holding onto paper archives and paper-based processes, by contrast, will act as a major drag on your firm’s competitiveness. Your accountancy firm is likely to be quickly overtaken by rivals who grasp the benefits of going paperless in business.
The benefits of going paperless for accounting firms
Going paperless has numerous benefits for the accountancy sector. The most obvious ones are that it saves time and money. It also improves security and delivers environmental benefits. Additional benefits of paperless include better organisation and an improved customer experience.
There are four main ways that paperless accounting can help to save time. Firstly, it eliminates the need to print, file and manually search for documents. In addition to the time these processes take themselves, they also often require employees to make trips to and from printer areas/rooms and filing areas/rooms.
Secondly, paperless systems allow for real-time access to information. This eliminates the need for employees to wait for colleagues to retrieve information. It, therefore, reduces delays and speeds up the decision-making process.
What’s more, paperless accounting can be done in the cloud. This means that employees can work from anywhere. The obvious benefit of this is that it allows you to support remote and/or hybrid work. It also makes it easier for people to move desks within an office and/or to change offices or even when they’re on the move.
Thirdly, paperless systems can automatically sort and organise documents, reducing the time spent on manual filing and retrieval. This can save significant amounts of time, particularly for large firms with large volumes of documents.
Finally, going paperless can improve collaboration between employees and clients. Electronic documents can be shared quickly and easily, allowing for real-time collaboration and feedback. This can reduce the time it takes to complete tasks, improve accuracy, and enhance client satisfaction.
By eliminating the need for paper-based processes, firms can reduce expenses related to the printing, storage and posting of physical documents. These expenses can add up quickly, particularly for larger firms with a high volume of documents.
Additionally, paperless systems can reduce the need for physical office space and storage facilities. This can result in lower rental or leasing costs for the firm.
Furthermore, paperless systems can reduce the risk of errors and associated costs such as penalties, fines, and the cost of remediation. Electronic documents are more accurate, reducing the likelihood of errors resulting from manual data entry, misfiling, or lost documents. This can help to improve the quality of the work delivered to clients and reduce the associated costs of correcting errors.
Finally, paperless systems can provide a competitive advantage for firms. Clients increasingly expect accounting firms to use technology to deliver services more efficiently and cost-effectively. By going paperless, firms can meet these expectations and attract and retain clients.
Traditional paper-based accounting systems can be vulnerable to theft, loss, or damage from natural disasters, leaving sensitive financial information exposed. By contrast, electronic documents can be stored in secure cloud-based systems. This reduces the risk of loss, theft, or damage.
Furthermore, electronic documents can be safeguarded through several security features in paperless systems, including password protection, data encryption and multi-factor authentication, ensuring that only authorised personnel can access confidential financial information. Additionally, electronic documents can be tracked and monitored for any unauthorised access, providing an additional layer of security to prevent data breaches.
Paperless systems can also make it easier to back up and recover data. Electronic documents can be backed up automatically. Likewise, the backups can be automatically copied to various locations. In the event of a recovery situation, data can be retrieved even if you cannot get access to your usual working location (or don’t have one).
Finally, paperless systems can improve compliance with data protection regulations. Firms can implement access controls, audit trails and data retention policies to ensure that they comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR.
Probably the most obvious of the environmental benefits of going paperless is that it significantly reduces paper consumption. This helps to reduce deforestation and its associated negative environmental impacts. By contrast, paperless systems can significantly reduce paper consumption, leading to a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach.
Electronic documents can be created, stored, and shared without the need for paper, reducing the environmental impact of paper production and disposal. By eliminating the need for paper-based processes, accounting firms can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and minimise their impact on the environment.
Furthermore, paperless systems can reduce the amount of energy consumed by the firm. Traditional paper-based accounting systems require a significant amount of energy to print, file and transport documents. In contrast, paperless systems require less energy to operate and can reduce the carbon footprint associated with these processes.
Finally, paperless systems can also reduce the amount of waste generated by accounting firms. Electronic documents do not need to be physically printed or stored, reducing the amount of paper waste generated. Additionally, by eliminating paper-based processes, firms can also reduce waste associated with paper-based office supplies such as ink cartridges, toner, and paper clips.
Organised financial documents
One of the most significant benefits of going paperless in accounting firms is that it can help to organise financial documents more effectively. Traditional paper-based accounting systems can be challenging to manage, with the need to store and manage large volumes of paper-based financial documents, including receipts, invoices, and bank statements. These documents can be lost, damaged, or misfiled, leading to inefficient processes, errors, and delays.
By contrast, electronic documents can be stored, indexed, and accessed more efficiently, reducing the risk of errors, and improving workflow processes. Electronic documents can be easily searched and sorted, making it easier to find specific documents quickly. Additionally, electronic documents can be easily shared between authorised personnel, improving collaboration, and reducing the need for physical transport of documents.
Moreover, paperless systems can provide better audit trails, ensuring that all financial documents are tracked and monitored, making it easier to detect errors or fraudulent activities. Electronic documents can be backed up automatically, providing a secure and accessible archive of financial documents. This can help accounting firms to meet regulatory compliance requirements, reducing the risk of fines and legal disputes.
Provides a great customer experience
Electronic documents can be sent and received more quickly, reducing the time required to complete tasks such as invoicing, payments and reporting. This can help accounting firms to meet their clients’ needs more effectively and provide a more efficient service.
Moreover, paperless systems can provide clients with better visibility and access to their financial documents. Electronic documents can be shared securely through online portals or other electronic means, allowing clients to view their financial statements, invoices, and receipts at any time. This can improve transparency and communication, reducing the risk of misunderstandings and disputes.
Additionally, paperless systems can provide clients with better flexibility and convenience. Clients can access their financial documents from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing them to review their financial data on the go. This can help clients to stay informed and make more informed decisions about their finances.
When you do have paper
At some point in the future, the accounting sector will be able to transition fully to paperless accounting. For now, however, most accountancy firms do have some level of physical paper they need to manage. The best way to do so is to hand it to RADS for safekeeping.
We offer accredited storage with a unique box referencing system that allows us to retrieve documents with maximum speed and efficiency. We also have a range of professional distribution services to transport your documents with the care they deserve.
Alternatively, if you’d like us to destroy your documents, e.g.at the end of a statutory retention period, we offer a secure, confidential, and environmentally-friendly shredding service. We also offer document scanning and storage for other materials.
Become paperless today
Now you know the benefits of going paperless for accountancy firms, why not do it yourself? Contact our team today, whether you require document shredding, storage or scanning, or if you have any additional queries.