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Digital Transformation

Why fix it? Paperless accounting benefits your clients

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

You know that going paperless is the right move for your firm, but the partners are worried about how this change will affect clients. You may hear that their clients are older, don’t want to file taxes electronically, and can’t cope with new technology.  

 Partners may ask, “If it isn’t broke, why fix it?” 

Just because this is the way you’ve always done things doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Anyone can become comfortable using technology with the right support and paperless accounting helps firms save space, money, and the planet, while increasing client collaboration and improving security.  

Whether they realize it or not, the partners are already familiar with the convenience offered by working in the Cloud as the last few years have seen portals become a part of daily life. Think about paying bills online, scheduling appointments with your doctor or hairstylist, and signing up for your favorite yoga class. Paperless technology has made it simple to for people to connect with service providers and share sensitive information securely. But the perks of going paperless don’t stop there!  

Here are just a few reasons to take your firm paperless: 

  • Save space
    This one is obvious. No paper means no paper storage. Fewer filing cabinets mean more working space which you can then fill with new employees. 
  • Document organization
    No more hunting for scraps of paper and file folders. Scan it, upload it, and relax. The internet is forever. 
  • Access documents from anywhere
    Whether you’re on vacation or in COVID-19 lockdown, paperless accounting means you can work anywhere, at any time, with your clients and teammates and see no drop in productivity.  
  • Automatic backups
    One less repetitive task for staff, one less thing to worry about. 
  • Data security
    Storing client data in the Cloud is much more secure than an on-premises server in a closet at your firm. A reputation for top-notch security is essential to our business, so cloud providers like Thomson Reuters have best-in-class data security and identity management protocols and procedures, freeing up your staff to focus on increasing automation and efficiency.  
  • Environmental friendliness
    Save paper! Save trees.  
  • Increase client collaboration
    Your clients can contact you, request information, and work with you from anywhere at any time that’s convenient to them. 
  • Improved client experience
    Clients will enjoy the modern experience they’ve come to expect and can work with you at their convenience and pace. Also, your staff can respond to clients faster and with greater confidence.  

Pitching paperless to clients 

An improved experience for clients and better client collaboration should make partners happy. Now, it’s time to pitch paperless to your clients! But do your due diligence because how you position the change can make or break the experience for your clients.  

 When managing change, and especially change related to working in the cloud and with portals, it’s important that firms communicate in the value system of the person affected whether that’s staff or clients. 

Medical practices are a great example of an industry that has successfully embraced paperless technology for ease of access, data security, transparent communication, and convenience. When implementing patient health portals, doctors would make time at the end of an appointment to educate patients about the upcoming change by starting with the problem for the patient.  

 For example: “We know it’s difficult for you to schedule appointments with us during your work so we’ve created a secure place on our website where you can see all of your health information, schedule appointments, see test results, and refill your prescriptions.”  

 When a change is laid out in the proper context of client care, it feels much less arbitrary, confusing, or inconvenient. Who doesn’t want their pain points solved? Just like medical patients, your clients can have a positive reaction to the technology transition. 

Remember, don’t start by simply declaring that your firm is going paperless – start by highlighting which problems your solution will solve for your client and use these 8 tips for a smooth transition to paperless interactions with your clients. 

8 tips for implementing paperless solutions in your tax and accounting firm: 

  1. Whenever possible, make sure the technology is thoroughly tested before rolling it out to your clients. Don’t rush it. 
  2. Communicate the change thoroughly, repeatedly, and well in advance 
  3. Clearly state: “This is our default now. If you don’t want to use it or aren’t able to download your organizer, then call us and we’ll send you a paper one.” 
  4. Send step-by-step instructions for accessing your solution 
  5. Publish organizers electronically and do not send clients an actual paper organizer unless they call and ask for it 
  6. If you’re publishing an organizer through a portal, ensure clients will be able to fill out the organizer electronically. 
  7. Start with individuals and once that’s going smoothly, communicate to your business clients. 
  8. Prepare for individuals to have more difficulty with this new approach than your business clients. Businesses are already used to scanning documents and working on them electronically and understand the value.  

Learn more at the Large firm resources page.

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