What is the biggest challenge your firm or your clients face in going paperless?

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I believe the biggest challenge is the psychological change in going from a piece of paper that you can physically touch to one that is stored on the computer. The second biggest challenge is selecting the right software-one that will store documents, whose format won't become obsolete in the near future, one that mimics a firm's paper storage system. Kendall K. Wheeler,

CPA, CITP

Moore Grider & Co.

Partner Insights

Fresno, Calif.

The biggest issue with our firm is to make sure that all projects have a complete document trail in the computer. Making sure that no documentation has been left out is a major headache. Many times in a tax return or other engagement, there has been a vital part of the information, furnished by the client, that was not scanned and properly added to the information base for the return. It is a constant monitoring problem. Once the information is documented as complete, we take steps to make sure that we have an adequate backup system.

Donald R. Jex, ABA, ATP

Don Jex & Associates

Salt Lake City, Utah

The biggest challenge by far is changing the business reliance "culture" on having a hard copy. The concept our customers have is that a hard copy is like the security blanket. Even though they understand what document management is about, the paradigm shift will be long. The positive side, though, is more and more people are inquiring about document management and learning the benefits.

Todd Replogle

Business Computer

Technologies

Normal, Ill.

The biggest challenge facing our customers in going paperless is the total expense. Good imaging software solutions require a fairly significant investment in additional hardware, software, and professional services. At least five of our customers have evaluated document imaging solutions that integrate seamlessly with their back-office applications (payables and receivables especially). In each instance, they were very impressed with document imaging capabilities. However, only one is seriously considering making the investment.

Steve Lublin, CPA

CFO Consulting

Orlando, Fla.

Scanning. There is no simple-to-use, fast, adequate ability to scan documents while in the field. Carrying with you and using even a small scanner in most places is just too hard and too slow.

Stephen Morin

Stephen Morin, CPA, CDP

Software Generation

Bedford, Texas

The biggest challenge is getting the leadership of the firm to understand and appreciate the true ROI potential, so that it will make the appropriate commitment of financial, personnel, and leadership resources necessary to successfully transform the firm's culture. A "we'll-see-how-it-goes" mentality by the firm leaders is a recipe for disaster.

John H. Higgins, CPA, CITP

CPA Crossings

Rochester, Mich.

The biggest challenge for us in helping our clients go paperless is in defining what paperless means and managing expectations. The next challenge is navigating through all the techno-babble that vendors put out there to really establish what the different products do and don't do. We helped one client implement a paperless solution, but what they really wanted was a workflow solution. It turns out the paperless solution didn't have a workflow component. Anyone looking to successfully implement a product in this area really needs to spend significant time up front to document the true needs and expectations.

David Faye

Faye, Pollack & Associates

Los Angeles

The most challenging issue we have faced with our customers when working towards a paperless office is mindset and the inability to accept the new paradigm. The technology is here, is proven, and can easily be demonstrated. The advantages are tangible and real. Most customers can recognize the benefits readily. But often, even the in-house champions of this technology cannot take the leap of faith required to become truly paperless. As consultants we can develop, implement, and train a customer on a complete paperless system, but if the customer is unable (not just unwilling) to make the absolute transition, the project will fail.

Dennis Nordstrom

Triangle Partners

Glendora, Calif.

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