“How many of your firms have document management systems?”

I asked that question of 24 people attending a session I gave earlier this month at the MdBiz Expo, the first-year show sponsored by the Maryland Society of CPAs. And whether attendees were there to learn about technology, or just pick up CPE credits, the answer was about the same as when I’ve asked the same question at other conferences—very few hands went up.

This time, the discussion veered into the observation made by a sole practitioner in California who said that, when it comes to tax documents, “All I need is PDFs.”

Heads in the crowd nodded as I related that story and they also shook in agreement when I suggested that systems are too complex and too expensive.

No, the day of the great paperless office is still a distance away, not because it’s not possible, but because market perceptions and market dynamics operate to slow the pace of adoption.

Another problem is the lack of clear market leaders. The document management business is still the Wild West where there are many companies, some of which almost certainly won’t be around when the market matures.

The market hasn’t reached a classic consolidation yet, but it will.

But many buyers won’t take that step until the winners have emerged.

It’s a bit early to start making bits. But Intuit seems the most  likely candidate with its Document  Management  System.

This has nothing to do with whether Intuit has the best product. Intuit has those millions of QuickBooks users and, as in the case of many market-leading products, it doesn’t need the best product. It just needs one that works.

By virtue of market muscle, Intuit has the greatest chance of propelling more users into document management software.


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