By Caitlin Burns, DocsCorp Content Manager.
Digital workflows can help accountants be more efficient, and, by removing the need for printing and scanning, ensure that less paper ends up as landfill.
As well as lessening your impact on the environment, you’re bound to save a significant amount of money. Digital workflows help eliminate printing expenses such as the cost of paper, ink, toners, printers, and servicing.
If that isn't incentive enough to work towards a paperless office, digital documents are far easier to find than their paper equivalents. Running a file search takes just seconds, whereas sifting through a full filing cabinet can take hours.
Keep reading to learn about the digital workflows and accounting software that can help bring you closer to a paperless office.
Use batch OCR software to make scanned files searchable
Going paperless isn’t something that happens overnight. The most time-consuming step is scanning existing paperwork so it can be stored digitally.
Once you have scanned paper files into your document or practice management system, you will need to use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to make them text-searchable. Scanned files are image-based, which means they don't have a text layer. This means it’s impossible to search for on-page content, making it more challenging to find the document in the future, or make edits to the text. Making scanned files text-searchable means you can find related client files quickly and easily and ensure compliance with auditing systems.
An OCR tool like contentCrawler that can process huge numbers of files in batches is the most efficient option. It runs in the background 24/7, sifting through files and converting to a searchable PDF format where necessary without any disruption to the user. An OCR tool with a compression module can also reduce file size, so you save on storage space and associated costs.
Switch to electronic signatures
Electronic signatures save paper and speed up the review and approval process. You don't have to print out, sign, and scan a contract as part of the workflow, which means you don't have to be in the office or have access to a printer or scanner. Simply apply an electronic signature from their device and email it back. Upload a picture of your signature to pdfDocs, for example, and apply it as a stamp on one or multiple pages.
Review documents digitally
Keeping the editing processes completely digital means you save on paper and on time. Rather than printing out a document to proofread and mark up with a red pen, use Track Changes in Word or in-text editing and commenting to review a PDF. If a colleague forgets to turn on Track Changes, a document comparison tool can produce a report that highlights even the smallest change between versions. compareDocs can output the report to a working Word document so you can review and apply changes to the text in real-time.
Going paperless may seem like a daunting prospect at first, but the right software can make it easier. Enjoy a better environment both at work and out in the world.