1. How far are we from the truly paperless office?

Becoming a paperless office combines three primary efforts: the adoption of paperless workflow procedures, changing the individual mindset, and applying technology. Technology is the easiest to overcome. A strong paperless strategy also needs top-level commitment to drive change in your workflow procedures, and to help staff make the necessary mindset shifts. It is equally important to communicate your paperless vision with your staff, including what the office will look like when you have reached your goals.

2. Why should accounting firms make the transition to paperless processes?

Many drivers contribute to your return on investment with a paperless strategy. If executed correctly, a paperless strategy can dramatically decrease operating costs, improve workflow efficiencies and customer service, and extend your presence beyond your local community. Some of these drivers can easily be measured (i.e., paper costs and storage space) while other benefits are more qualitative (i.e., staff benefit from the ability to work remotely and instant access to client files; clients enjoy the speed, security and convenience of Web communications).

3. What do they need to do to get there?

A paperless plan should:

Articulate the vision of your firm after going paperless.

* Develop a set of goals for the paperless office (reduce paper costs, increase efficiency, do more with less, drive more value-added services, etc.).

* Prioritize business goals and work with your software vendor to both deliver technical solutions and manage implementation and training.

* Review progress, make adjustments and continue to your next phase of your paperless strategy.

For years, Thomson Reuters has been an industry leader in moving tax and accounting professionals to the paperless office and helping their firms benefit from the unparalleled workflow efficiencies and client service conveniences that result. Pioneering software integration and internet-based applications, our CS Professional Suite and Enterprise Suite family of products and services provide paperless workflow and document management solutions for firm and staff management, client engagements, tax preparation and review, audit, accounting, and payroll services, document storage, and client portals. And to help firms get started quickly, training and consulting implementation services are offered at all levels for firms of all sizes.

(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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