Accounting for Paper-Driven Inefficiencies

A new wave of accounting firms are challenging the status quo by migrating from manual, labour intensive paper-based processes to the light nimbleness of paperless solutions. The young-blooded are excelling at using technology such as Nitro to remove time consuming paper-based processes, while the archaic are floundering at basic tasks such as acquiring signatures, collaborating on projects, and controlling document confidentiality.

Image credit: Paperitis

Image credit: Paperitis

Our onsite survey at last month’s Accounting Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA) 2014 highlighted pain points that the accounting sector is experiencing as firms continue delaying the transition to a paperless office, and in turn the opportunities that lies within:

  • Work morale beaten down by inefficient paper-based workflows

65% said the waste of employee’s time and office resources taken to store, send and follow up on paper-based processes sits on top of their frustration pile.

47% cited the lack of accountability when documents go missing, or are tampered with as another key frustration when working with paper, followed closely by 45% who are frustrated by the length of time it takes to obtain approvals, feedback and signatures.

  • Power up office desktops to give productivity a chance

74% are most excited about the speed and efficiency that paperless workplaces provides, and singled it out as the largest motivator for switching to a paperless office.

Only 28% cited mobility as the most appealing reason to convert to a paperless office, suggesting the importance of investing in efficient desktop-driven document productivity software, such as the easy to use Nitro Pro, aimed at optimizing time spent working in the office.

  • It’s high time signature processes enter the 21st century

76% said the most useful aspect of being paper-free is the ability to receive, request and send e-signatures (electronic signatures), making our quick guide, Beyond the Dotted Line: How to Succeed with E-Signatures, quite timely.

31% cited document editing options such as removing, replacing, adding text, images and data on multiple file formats interchangeably as another useful feature of a paperless office, while only 23% valued sharing capabilities such as sharing contracts and project directly to single or multiple parties with the ability to track actions in real time.

  • Breaking old paper-based habits are tough

Resistance to change was cited as a common reason holding back companies from going paperless, with up to a third of those surveyed, highlighting the need for educational resources such as Nitro University, how-to webinars and an attentive customer service team to help employees transition painlessly from wasting resources routinely, to optimizing their workday regularly.

Other notable reasons cited were: online security concerns (29%) and lack of support, training and education (27%).

In a recent survey we ran at the legal industry’s ALPMA Summit, resource wastage was also singled out as a concern by this similarly paper-driven sector. This growing awareness among key industries on the benefits of having a paperless office illustrates an opportunity to lead: by investing in the right tools to activate the workforce; so employees are happier, margins are healthier, and turnarounds are quicker.

Our tip? Start small by introducing Nitro Pro with a free team trial, and make strides towards a paper-free office.