October 26, 2011 - 9:15 AM
Hundreds of papers cross an accountants desk daily, and they handle much of the most confidential and private information in a company. It is no wonder then that accounting departments are usually the earliest adopters and primary drivers of a paperless solution, according to IntelliChief.
There are a variety of paperless accounting solutions, so it is expected that accountants know what a content management system is. However, the limitation of such programs is that they are specifically designed only for accounting. When it comes to tying in all the departments across a firm, managing workflow and tasks, or protecting confidential documentation-the software falls short. An enterprise content management system is able to meet the needs of accounting while also integrating the entire organization and is the only way to realize many of the full benefits that stand to be gained.
The average cost to process a single invoice manually is $24, according to IOMA. With the obvious cost savings it makes sense that the demand for paperless solutions originates from a company’s accounting department. The cost of processing invoices is reduced with electronic document management, and Brian Smith of IntelliChief said financial professionals cite the quick ROI seen from an ECM system is a primary motivator for implementing the system. The ease of use and organization a good software can provided are added benefits that accounting professionals are desperately in need of.
Eric Pulaski, CEO of a document management company, said in a post on CPATrendlines that it is inevitable that all accounting professionals will be managing data and documents online. It is seen as part of the profession’s evolution and will only continue to move in that direction.
“The message from thought leaders has been consistent and direct: Get on board with technology, or be left behind,” Pulaski writes.
The list of value to getting a document management system for an accounting department is long and continuing, according to Pulaski. He said benefits include the security and privacy, information being easily accessible online, the support of a paperless or “green” environment, the elimination of CDs and the enhancement of the client-accountant relationship.
“Today’s clients demand service that is convenient,” Pulaski writes. “Via the web, clients can easily view and access their documents without having to wait for an email or fax. Let’s face it; clients have come to expect this level of service. Would anyone really use a bank that didn’t offer online services?”
The greatest returns are seen in both the purchase-to-pay and order-to-cash accounting processes. Accounting departments’ report that this is because of physical paper costs and process inefficiencies associated with the handling of physical documents.
With a quick ROI and a multitude of advantages the only question is why every accounting firm hasn’t adopted a system yet. Our guess is that they do not know where to begin.
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