The Ultimate Guide to Going Paperless in Accounting

Paperless accounting

January 13, 2021

If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the importance of contact. People now want to reduce their contact with objects and thus, going paperless is just a part of it. Along the same lines, it is also important to note that a completely paperless office might not be practically possible. Some printouts are a necessity. However, reduction in paper consumption can bring down your office stationery expense considerably.

Digital documents – the pros of going digital for an accounting firm

  • - Less storage issues – you do not need physical space and thus, need not worry about a stack of paperwork
  • - Managing things on a PC is far faster than shuffling them about in hard copies
  • - The process of searching for a specific file or data is considerably faster
  • - Processing the data present, thus because of the above points – speeds up performance

Digitally doable

  • - You need not hold on to the paperwork you presently possess as you can scan the same and be done with it (digital files have better longevity)
  • - Transfer the files into another storage device or file them in a folder if you prefer
  • - For invoices from clients you can have a data capturing tool so that clients can use this to have these documents uploaded – this makes things easier for you as well since you can refer to them whenever you want

The digital advantage

Going paperless not only allows your firm to take advantage of the present technology but also, you will be able to see the difference in your business accounting as given:

  • - Space issues

An issue most offices face is lack of storage space due to files and the associated paperwork. This is a significant overhead cost because instead of being able to seat your staff you need to make way for paper.

  • - The needle in the haystack – upping those productivity levels

When you have digital documents the search process becomes much faster as you can use keywords to search for the exact page. Physically skimming through documents on the other hand, is much more time consuming. Therefore, when you have a lot of documents to deal with it makes sense to have them all computer ready.

  • - Eradicating duplication of content

It is possible that you have filed one or more copies of the same document under different heads. This is mere duplication and cause a double entry to take place. Furthermore, environmentally too it is not such a good idea to consume paper in such quantities. An office cluttered with paper is not something that will impress clients or make work easier for your present staff.

  • - Printing expenditure

Apart from stationery, other expenses that you need to bear are printing costs. Ink or refillable cartridges, the printers or photocopier machines and the like all fall under this category and can contribute quite a lot to your overall expenditure. For a small business this can cost even more expensive.

Ways to reduce paper dependency

  • - Get rid of excessive printing – start emailing

There might be common and repetitive areas where you simply have to use paper. For such spots it is wiser to opt for a digital format. For example, instead of printing employee wage slips every month or week you can simply have them emailed. The same can be done for the payment receipts that you have to give your venders as well as customer invoices. Email is faster and in these pandemic times, people prefer staying away from post services. In case your client does not receive an email, you can look it up and forward the same – also, you’ll have the proof of the day that it was sent.

  • - Start using the cloud

Cloud accounting means that you no longer need to worry about hard copies or even about storage issues. As only a proper internet connection is required, it is easier for clients (and faster) to share information with their accountants.

Doshi Accountants provides paperless accounting services to its clients. All paperwork can be handled over email and if security is an issue the files can be password protected. Furthermore, if you prefer cloud software or remote working practices, they are surely the accountants for you. The HMRC is going increasing paperless with the introduction of Real Time Information (RTI) in 2013 which revolutionised how payroll was to be processed. This has been followed by payrolling of P11D benefits, online filing of self-assessment tax returns and more recently MTD or Making Tax digital. Considering this, it is obvious that going paperless has become the new accounting trend and is one in which Doshi Accountants is very well accustomed.