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. This is only one of the many new accounting trends that accountant taking advantage of in their field at the moment.

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.