The move to a paperless system is one liable to mistakes, especially for a busy accountancy firm with mounds of files on record. However, in an increasingly online dominated arena, the paperless move is one necessary to keep up with the times.
Digital accounting will greatly improve overall efficiency, helping you to quickly access documents or calculate tax equations at the click of a button. Co-operation with clients and other accountants – who are also likely to be paperless – will become easier as well.
We’ve put together some of the common mistakes made when moving from paper to digital documents, including some tips on how to avoid them altogether.
The key to a smooth transition is a good-quality scanner. With a vast number of paper files to convert, a slow scanning process can be a big turn off. Find a device with an automatic document feeder that can scan both sides of the page. Some top-of-the-range machines can scan up to 40 pages per minute where you simply stack up the relevant files and press start.
Bad Saving Practice
When you save documents into the system, the scanner will assign them to the same folder with a random file name – for example, this could be something like ‘2017_06_03.pdf’. Knowing where to find specific files in the future, with potentially thousands of them to scour through, will be excruciatingly difficult. Save documents into newly created folders with customised file names for easier retrieval.
Don’t send out paper forms for clients to complete and send back through the post. Instead, digital form templates provide the perfect alternative, where drop-down menus or checkboxes can be included for added clarity and cohesion. Furthermore, the response time will now be minutes rather than days.
Not Backing Up
One potential downside of a paperless office comes in the event of a system crash. If computer files aren’t backed-up, crucial information could be lost forever. The best way to achieve this is through a cloud-based storage service. Files can be saved to your online account with automatic backup and synchronisation features included.
Ensure your staff not only approach the challenge head on, but stay committed to the transition as time goes by. It can be easy to lose focus and fill up empty shelf spaces when new paper documents come in. Get employees in the habit of converting documents as soon as possible, maintaining this approach from here on in.
The paperless move should be a steady transition, done so with care and efficiency to eradicate mistakes. Ensure staff are fully clued-up to the digital move, acclimatising them with accountancy mobile apps, internet banking and the new online tax accounts being phased in by the HMRC.
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