Beyond Email: New Digital Tools

Screwdriver and wrenchThe top 3 remote screen control tools to help clients.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

One of the most critical steps in transitioning a firm to a “paperless” environment is capturing information in a digital format at its “root” source as that information enters the firm.

MORE: Why Scanning Procedures Matter | Digital Tax Workflow Requires a System, Not Projects | SURVEY: 60% of Firms Employ Remote Access Tools | Collaboration Should Tie In Messaging
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

At the base level, this means having clients provide you information in a digital format, which can be done via email, digital fax or through a portal rather than with a physical document. While email is currently the most prevalent tool utilized by clients, it is anticipated the security concerns will help clients transition toward portals.
READ MORE →

Why Scanning Procedures Matter

CPAs’ top picks: Fujitsu fi and  Canon DR.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

For the next few years, it is anticipated that accounting firm clients will continue to deliver a significant amount of their organizers and supporting tax documents to the firm in a physical format. To utilize this information in a paperless environment, it must be effectively scanned and managed at the lowest possible cost.

MORE: Digital Tax Workflow Requires a System, Not Projects | Who Deletes Documents and When? | Capture Firm Knowledge on an Intranet | SURVEY: How Many Firms Back Up Data to the Internet? | The New Risks in Cloud Efficiencies | SURVEY: How Many Firms Use Unified Messaging? | Is It Time to Update Your Offsite Backups?
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Early paperless adopters scanned the tax return and the supporting documents at the back end of the process when a return was complete. This is still usually the first step when firms transition from a completely manual environment.
READ MORE →

Digital Tax Workflow Requires a System, Not Projects

Pixelated blue text "workflow" on binary code backgroundWhy the difference matters.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

The most important aspect of transitioning the firm’s tax process to a digital environment is managing electronic files that are no longer physically viewable in assorted stacks around the office. This requires a digital tax workflow system that lets everyone know the status of every return and easily connects that person to digital copies of the return and the source documents.

MORE: Who Deletes Documents and When? | Using Databases for Document Management | SURVEY: Firms Split on Mobile Device Management | Need Internet? Grab Your Phone | SURVEY: IM Still Not Common at CPA Firms | The Best Defense Against Malware
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Under traditional manual tax systems, firms utilized due date tracking databases that identified when a return was due, but not what information was missing, or the preparation, review or extension status, which was often recorded manually on a physical routing sheet.
READ MORE →

Who Deletes Documents and When?

Businessman jumping with papers stuck to himLike everything else in your practice, document retention needs a system.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Managing digital files is in many ways similar to managing paper files in that the firm must have standards for who can create a document, add to or edit a document, file it, and eventually purge the file.

MORE: SURVEY: 60% of Firms Employ Remote Access Tools | Capture Firm Knowledge on an Intranet | SURVEY: How Many Firms Back Up Data to the Internet? | The New Risks in Cloud Efficiencies
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Unfortunately, as digital files are on the network and “out of sight,” many firms are not really aware of what files are stored, the most current versions and whether or not they should be deleted.
READ MORE →

Using Databases for Document Management

Businessman touching virtual buttons in server roomMany have integrated portals for transferring files to clients.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

The network drive in most firms is not very well organized and requires the most cleanup. This happens because it is usually managed with Microsoft Windows Explorer, which allows almost anyone to create or access a file anywhere on the drive.

MORE: SURVEY: 60% of Firms Employ Remote Access Tools | Capture Firm Knowledge on an Intranet | SURVEY: How Many Firms Back Up Data to the Internet? | The New Risks in Cloud Efficiencies | SURVEY: How Many Firms Use Unified Messaging? | Be Careful with Microsoft Office Upgrades | SURVEY: Have You Dumped Manual Invoices Yet?
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Unfortunately, there is seldom a firm standard that is adhered to, allowing users to create files with any naming convention they want and store it anywhere they choose. The result can be files that are hard to find and slow to search across the network.
READ MORE →

Capture Firm Knowledge on an Intranet

Four empty metal bucketsDashboards may speed up the search process.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Firm knowledge and information is usually stored in one of four “buckets.”

MORE: SURVEY: Firms Split on Mobile Device Management | Collaboration Should Tie In Messaging | SURVEY: Nearly Half of Firms Use Videoconferencing | Plan Right for Remote Access | SURVEY: Only 32% of Firms Providing Non-Phone Devices | Jumping to Windows 10
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

The most obvious is within the accounting applications themselves where tax, audit and accounting programs store client files in a format that can only be accessed with that program. Files are usually indexed and accessed in designated directories so there is not much the firm can do about moving these files.
READ MORE →

Collaboration Should Tie In Messaging

Woman having video chat with manKeep an eye on Teams and Yammer.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Firms should strive to capture all data in a digital format at its “root” source. This goes for services such as the firm’s fax and voice mail systems as well.

MORE: SURVEY: How Many Firms Back Up Data to the Internet? | Need Internet? Grab Your Phone | SURVEY: IM Still Not Common at CPA Firms | The Best Defense Against Malware | SURVEY: 59% Deliver Invoices on Paper | Is It Time to Update Your Offsite Backups? | SURVEY: Digitizing Employee Evaluations | The Five Rules of Smart Tech
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Traditional inbound faxes are usually printed from a fax machine and then hand delivered to the recipient’s desk. In some cases, this fax image is actually rescanned and emailed to the recipient.
READ MORE →

Need Internet? Grab Your Phone

Illustration of network with city backgroundYou have a couple of options.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

One of the revolutions in remote connectivity is happening within your cell phone as digital cellular providers have beefed up and expanded their networks to provide reliable internet access to remote devices.

MORE: Remote Access Requires Planning | SURVEY: Only 32% of Firms Providing Non-Phone Devices | SURVEY: When Firms Track CPE Digitally | The Five Rules of Smart Tech
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Today, the vast majority of the United States and Canada has access to the internet through the 4G digital cellular network at speeds of 1Mpbs or more, which is adequate for remote access to most applications, particularly those hosted by cloud providers.
READ MORE →

The New Risks in Cloud Efficiencies

Illustration of bandwidth useYou need a whole new set of backup and recovery strategies.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

The internet has undoubtedly had a profound impact on firm communications.

MORE: Remote Access Requires Planning | SURVEY: Only 32% of Firms Providing Non-Phone Devices | Jumping to Windows 10 | SURVEY: How Many Firms Run on Dashboards? | Today’s Best Laptops for Accountants | Scanners: How The Smart Firms Do It
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

It has become the primary driver toward the next generation of accounting applications that run entirely on the web through "cloud" computing.

We have two main recommendations to avoid disruptions, or worse, a major disaster.

READ MORE →