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,
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Moore Grider & Co.
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.
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
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, CPA, CDP
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
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.
Faye, Pollack & Associates
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.