Last Updated April 3, 2023
Chaos at work might fuel the creativity of some. However, it may not prove to be suitable for an accountant working with bland and boring numbers, trying to meet deadlines. Among other things, the shambolic existence of documents is a big deterrent for the work pace at any accounting and bookkeeping firm.
If you are a CPA who has forayed into the digital world with online accounting and tax preparation firms, then keep in mind that being quick and smart with documents will help you in cementing your position. Customers on the web don’t have time for sluggish turnarounds and you can only match their pace if you are working with an accounting firm portal that also features some sort of document management system.
A slick, well-organized document management system has many advantages for your accounting practice. Your company and its accountants will gain three significant advantages from an improved, sector-leading document management system, including:
- better conditions at work
- Improvement in ROI
- safeguards against typical dangers
Employee turnover is a result of flawed processes
Is it really possible that an employee would leave your company in search of better opportunities due to the appalling way (obviously not the technical phrase) in which you handle client documents?
Yes, the research indicates—believe it or not.
Take a look at these findings from a recent survey of 1000 full-time American workers from various departments and industries:
Nearly half of the 1,000 employees polled feel that the way their firm manages key papers is broken.
A staggering 86% of individuals polled who are actively seeking new jobs (approximately one-third of those surveyed) stated that broken processes play a significant role in their choice.
We can anticipate that these figures and the conclusions we make from them will be considerably more acute because accountants work virtually exclusively with paperwork.
Employee happiness is correlated with a successful business, and happy workers are more likely to stay on the job. Paying your staff well can also encourage them to work for you. However, simply putting in place a sound document management strategy will improve staff retention and make your company a more desirable place to work. That is not a fabrication. The data contain it.
The right document management system keeps your accounting firm’s documents secure
A good document management system can help ensure the security of sensitive financial and accounting documents for an accounting firm. Such a system can help ensure that only authorized individuals have access to the documents and that they can be tracked, audited, and backed up in case of disasters or data loss.
Some features that can help ensure the security of an accounting firm’s documents include:
- User authentication: A document management system should require users to authenticate themselves before they can access documents. This can include passwords, biometric identification, or multi-factor authentication.
- Role-based access control: Different users may need different levels of access to documents, depending on their job responsibilities. A good document management system should allow for role-based access control, where access to specific documents or folders is determined by the user’s role in the organization.
- Encryption: A document management system should encrypt documents at rest and in transit to prevent unauthorized access or interception.
- Audit trail: A document management system should track who has accessed, modified, or deleted documents, and when those actions occurred. This can help with compliance and internal investigations.
- Disaster recovery: A good document management system should have backups in place in case of data loss due to disasters, cyber-attacks, or other events.
Overall, a well-designed document management system can help ensure the security and integrity of an accounting firm’s documents, as well as improve efficiency and collaboration among team members.
Effectiveness Of Document Management System For CPAs At A Professional Level
Simply put, a document management system allows you to have all hard and softcopy documents and papers in a single digital hub. From a CPA’s perspective, a document management system for CPAs can come in handy in these ways.
A Large Folder Repository With Easy Searching For CPAs
You can get rid of those soaring folder stacks where finding a certain paper is similar to finding a needle in a haystack. By gradually shifting all this information to the cloud storage of a document management system for CPAs, you can establish a streamlined file repository where every paper will be one click away.
Simplicity Is Key To Success
An easy-to-navigate and access portal means accountants can use it easily. Consistent access no matter where they are works in the favor of the CPAs. the document management system must be simple to use so that whenever an accountant wants to share a file with any member or client he can do so with ease.
Therefore instead of keeping tabs on every document separately, once a file is uploaded, an accountant can easily create folders to keep the files well-documented. Thus, the problem is solved.
Better Paperwork Security For Accountants
The most crucial records for your company should always be in your possession, and you should be aware of who has access to them.
Do your accountants send and receive essential documents via personal emails? This is just as unsafe and dumb as dealing with physical documents unless your company has the most advanced email encryption available.
In either scenario, investing in a market-leading document management system is the answer. A top document management system consolidates everything in one location (online, of course), manages access rights, facilitates collaboration and sharing, and safeguards the data from hackers.
Accounting and tax clients are always cognizant of their financial information and don’t want them in the wrong hands even if it implicates nothing. By establishing a good document management system for CPAs, you can assure your clients about the security of their financial records. There are accounting firm portals that ensure an encrypted exchange of information and password-protected access.
Collaboration And Advanced Tools
A document management system is valuable for the accounting firm in the way they work – internally and communicate with the clients.
A paper-based system allows one person to work on a particular document at a time. While a paperless-based system allows work to continue without the hassle of the work getting paused while the document is preoccupied.
Not only it saves time but also lets people share their knowledge and be more creative.
Remote Access For CPAs
Today when the concept of a brick-and-mortar office is withering away, it is really important that people can have remote access to their financial documents. Cloud-based document management systems for CPAs allow you to work with clients located in every nook and corner of the country.
To be able to access the documents anytime where has eased off the burden, and increased high-volume engagements too.
Accountants Have Increased Efficiency, Improved Reputation
When things are getting done in time without unnecessary snags, it increases overall workplace efficiency which eventually translates into customer satisfaction and a better reputation in the industry. Keep in mind that time saved equals money saved and any good accounting firm portal with a document management system can help you in realizing this equation.
You can save time and money by maintaining your accounting talent (through improved document management). According to a recent study, searching through the appropriate drawer, cabinet, or folder for the appropriate document costs an employee an average of 9 hours each week. But an accountant making, say, $30 per hour would be paid more than $1,000 per month to go through drawers!
Finding a paper document takes the typical employee 18 minutes. Depending on how many documents a person searches for each day, that might amount to 69 wasted days a year if there are no lunch breaks.
Consider all the money a paper-intensive company spends on toner, ink, envelopes, staplers, staples, postal costs, and copy machine upkeep.
The digital transition won’t be free. However, don’t consider it an additional expense either. Instead, think about all the sporadic expenses, mentioned above, that you’re replacing and ineffective procedures you’re fixing.
You suddenly realize that investing in document management for your accounting firm is a crucial decision that you can’t afford to miss out on.
All the more reason to ensure that your staff members are on the same page when it comes to document management, putting crucial data in an accessible online spot where anyone who needs it can easily access it and finish their task.
One of the best practices with numerous advantages that accounting firms can benefit from.
Cloud storage solutions for small businesses
Google Drive is widely used for both personal and professional use, however, its main function is file storage and sharing. It is a cloud-based file storage system that helps get rid of a pesky 25 MB limitation in email attachments. It is an excellent solution for small businesses, with its wide range of features. Some of them are:
- Document management solution
- Document collaboration
- Synchronous editing allows users to remotely work on the same files without version issues
- Controlled user access to files
- Allows storage of any type of file that you can view without having it installed
- Customizable file structures
- Built-in Microsoft word (Google docs)
- Readily integrated into a number of programs
- Bank-level encryption for the transfer and storage of files
This cloud storage system does have its flaws, which include:
- Lacks true task
- Lacks workflow management capabilities
- Limited security
- Compliance issues
The pricing of the storage system starts by offering 15 GB for free and then charges $1.99/month for 100 GB, $9.99/month for 1 TB, $199.99/month for 20 TB, and $299.99/month for 30 TB. It does not offer annual plan pricing.
Dropbox is a true cloud-sharing system that can be used for personal use as well as by businesses of all sizes. The main functionality of this system is file storage, sharing, and syncing. This system allows users to access files by invitation, even if they do not have an account themselves. Some of the key features of this platform are:
- Intuitive user interface
- Free space for anyone wanting to store files on the cloud
- Easy access to files across all teams, anywhere, anytime.
- Centralized administration
- Activity monitoring
- Security settings
- Lends support to multiple users
- 1 TB storage per user
- Ability to track and recover files
- Extremely affordable for small businesses
However, this platform does have its drawbacks too. For example:
- No full device backup option
- Does not have any advanced workflow features
- Does not include e-signatures
- No compliance features
- Businesses using it for file storage will need other robust tools to have a sound document management platform
This cloud storage system offers a free 14-day trial. After that, the pricing is $12.50/month for 1 TB for each user, with a minimum of 5 users.
Adobe Document Cloud is a document storage application that allows you to edit pdfs but does not provide document management capabilities apart from e-signature and basic sharing features. The main functionality of this platform is handling pdf files, advanced editing tools, and e-signature capabilities that make this platform look like a worthy investment for small businesses.
There are some major limitations of this platform. It does not provide security, workflow, advanced collaborative tools, or compliance.
Microsoft OneDrive is similar to Google Drive and Dropbox, with integration into Windows operating systems. If your business depends on Windows computers, then this is the best solution for you. Its major strengths include:
- Allows collaboration and editing of documents in real-time from any device
- Allow uploading of documents
- Sync files with desktop versions of Office applications
- Can run Microsoft OneDrive on any device (Mac, iOS, Android)
- Provide an option for autosave to OneDrive
- Files can be shared with a single link to other users
- Has a unique windows only feature (Fetch) that allows you to take files from a PC when connected to the internet.
- Generous storage allowances
It does have some drawbacks too. It is a true cloud-based file storage system, thus it doesn’t have the functionality of a comprehensive document management system.
The pricing starts with a free 15 GB on sign-up and increases up to 100 GB for $1.99 per month. You get 200 GB for $3.99 per month, and 1 TB for $6.99 per month.
Cloud-based Document Management Solutions for Small Businesses
My CPA Dashboard is a cloud-based document management system that is a solution for small businesses. The working framework of this management software is extremely straightforward, ensuring maximum productivity by accountants. My CPA Dashboard allows the scheduling of tasks, tracking, invoicing, and coordinating with multiple clients and contacts with archives in one place. It is cloud-based accounting software that provides mobile access too. My CPA Dashboard allows you to use all the features without even having the premium package. Some strengths of this solution include:
- Task management
- Multiple user interfaces
- Branded client portal
- Phone and email support
- eSignature integration
- Online document storage
- Secure file sharing
The only drawback of this document storage system is that it can be a little expensive for smaller businesses.
My CPA Dashboard offers four different pricing plans which are:
- Starter which costs $49 per month with up to 25 business clients and unlimited users
- Small starting at $89 per month with up to 50 business clients
- Medium starting at $239 per month with up to 350 business clients
- Enterprise starting at $499 per month with more than 350 clients
My CPA Dashboard also offers a 30-day free trial.
Zoho Docs is a robust document management solution that provides cloud storage and the facility to upload files by emailing them to the email address that Zoho generates. Some excellent features of this document management solution are:
- Advanced security with SSL encryption
- Password-protected files
- Virus and malware protection
- Store everything in a centralized location
- Provides advanced document analysis metrics
- Extensive user management functions
There are some drawbacks to this service that are essential for small businesses to ensure a high level of business continuity, remote working capabilities, and cyber security. They include:
- Does not provide advanced workflow customization
- Doesn’t include e-signatures
Zoho Docs provides a free 5 GB per user to a team of up to 5 users. It charges $4 per user per month for storage of 100 GB, and $6.4 per month for 1 TB storage per user.
Box provides users with different levels of service with various compliance features and business regulatory functions. Box (for Business) offers a number of great features which include:
- Secure file sharing
- Enterprise level security
- Workflow automation and remote capabilities
- IT and admin controls
- Seamless integration with third-party apps
- User collaboration
- Reporting and dedicated technical support
- File locking
- Unlimited storage
- Centralized business data
- Box (for business) is an excellent solution for small businesses due to its pricing.
It has some limitations too, which include:
- Does not allow users to view and edit some files
- Doesn’t allow complete synchronization of files
- There might be some version issues
The box is an excellent solution for small businesses because of its pricing. It offers unlimited storage for a month for just $15. They offer a personal plan which is free and provides 10 Gb of storage. The business plan costs $5 per user and provides 100 GB of storage. With $15, businesses can get unlimited storage for up to 3 users.
My CPA Dashboard is a CRM suite and online portal that allows you to offer your clients single secure cloud storage for documents. The suit also has valuable features like bank integration, a payroll portal, and e-signature authentication.
It’s not only a client portal but a paperless communication between the client and the accountant for financial projects. My CPA Dashboard makes documentation efficient and easier.