There’s an App for that: Mobile Document Management
As mobile technologies and the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks advance, knowledge workers increasingly work from home or at locations away from the office. In fact, the global mobile workforce is expected to rise to 1.87 billion people by 2022.
Many accountants work on the go – at client sites, at home, or on the road while traveling. Mobile access to work files around the clock offers several benefits for accounting firms.
Remote access to client files, tax returns and documents on the go allows accountants to respond rapidly to client requests. Clients work on the go, too, and on occasion make requests via email or text at odd hours. Get a few tasks done on the plane or train. Amaze clients at onsite meetings when you pull up status reports, tax returns, or a PBC audit list on your tablet or phone – they will be impressed with your digital prowess.
Increased Firm Productivity
An employee who needs to be out of the office for an appointment or other personal task loses productivity for part of that day. The ability to access client information and files from a mobile device allows that employee to be more productive. In a pinch, a mobile app integrated directly with the firm’s document management system allows accountants to monitor due dates, route or reroute work, and oversee staff workloads.
A mobile device can also serve as a scanner for short documents where you are outside of the office, say with a bookkeeper at a client’s office. To gather, review and store new documents, simply take a picture of the document or receipt with the camera on a smartphone or tablet, and upload it to the document share.
Secure Sensitive Client Documents
Tax and financial documents contain highly sensitive PII (personally identifiable information) such as name, address, Social Security numbers, and financial account numbers, which in the wrong hands could leave your firm or client vulnerable to identity theft or financial fraud. Too many organizations still rely on the exchange of paper documents, faxing, or email attachments to exchange these sensitive documents. Digital management of client documents in a secure repository, accessible via a secure mobile app, and shared via secure online transmission, are protected from loss or breach more effectively than paper files or email attachments.
Increase Billable Hours
A document management system, by design, organizes all client projects, files and documents, and makes them easy to search, retrieve and share. With a mobile app, a document management system reduces hours spent searching for files, emailing colleagues for information, thereby freeing accountant time to focus on consulting and other billable activity.
Attract New Talent
Demand for accountants is growing, and winning the best talent is a challenge. Firms with mobile apps and other advanced technologies are more attractive to new talent, particularly ‘digital native’ recent graduates.
Time to Go Mobile
Forward-thinking accounting firms are choosing mobile document management to handle client work while in transit, while visiting clients, while on vacation. Mobile document management apps are easy to implement and inexpensive – a low risk way to increase efficiency and productivity.
About the Author
Don Emery, CPA, CA, is director of client solutions for Doc.It Inc. Doc.It provides document management, workflow and portal software designed specifically for accounting firms. Emery leads the North America business development team and provides implementation consulting services, assisting firms with strategy, document management, workflow efficiency, retention and compliance, as well as the Doc.It Go mobile app.