Magazine article The CPA Journal

Document Management: Turning Paper into Profits

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Document Management: Turning Paper into Profits

Article excerpt

An electronic document management system can not only enable a CPA firm to improve productivity, reduce operating costs, and ensure compliance with professional standards and regulations, it can also open opportunities for enhanced customer service. Document management can be a value-added service for clients. Possibilities range from implementing an internal system to leveraging an Internet-based service that provides existing infrastructure and templates in a subscription model. Many firms are exploring the revenue potential of providing document management as a value-added service to clients who are searching for a cost-effective method of managing their records.

There has been additional interest in document management as a component of business continuity planning, preparing for an event that might render staff unable to access vital documents and records. New legislation-such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act-also mandates that organizations upgrade their document-management procedures and record-retention policies.

Document-Management Proficiency

The first step toward turning document management into a revenue-producing service is to assess the firm's own document-management efficiencies and analyze workflow in all practice areas. Consider where documents come from and how they are created, as well as the various retention requirements.

A firm will also need to plan for scanning requirements, such as the installation of document scanners and the training of scanning staff. Both company growth and expansion must be addressed as well, to ensure that the document-management system and its underlying infrastructure can store the historical records required by both the government and the firm's policies. Selecting an Internet-based service will minimize this task because the underlying infrastructure is already in place. …

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