A boom in mobile enterprise applications is taking place and CPA firms stand to benefit.
The global mobile workforce is expected to rise to 1.87 billion by 2022, according to the Global Mobile Workforce Forecast Update 2016-2022 from Strategy Analytics, and with the right tools in hand, remote workers can boost productivity and build client loyalty. Arming your staff with mobile document management is less a technology issue and increasingly an important business strategy for forward-looking firms.
Following are five key benefits accounting firms can realize through the use of mobile document management:
1. Increase client loyalty
Remote access to client files, tax returns and documents on the go allows accountants to respond rapidly to client requests. Clients work on the go, and routinely make requests via email or text at any hour.
Work the way they do, with your ability to respond to document requests outside of office hours. Leave the office on time and get a few tasks done on your commute. When meeting on-site with a client, pull up status reports, tax returns, or a PBC audit list on your tablet or phone — the client will be impressed with your digital prowess.
2. Increase worker productivity
Employers incur an estimated $1.8 trillion in lost productivity each year due to employee absence. A staffer who needs to be home to meet a repairman, has a mild illness or a child-care issue would otherwise lose a day of work. The ability to access client information and files from a mobile device allows that employee to be productive.
Full remote access to a document management system via browser or in the cloud is ideal for longer hours of remote work. But in a pinch, a mobile app integrated directly with the firm’s document management system allows accountants to monitor due dates, route or reroute work and oversee staff workloads.
A mobile device can also serve as a scanner for short documents where you are outside of the office, say with a bookkeeper at a client’s office. To gather, review and store new documents, simply take a picture of the document or receipt with the camera on a smartphone or tablet, and upload it to the document share.
Once you take a close-up photo of the paper you want to scan, the app creates a file that you can add to a folder of client documents and share with the client in the firm’s portal site.
3. Secure sensitive client documents
Tax and financial documents contain highly sensitive PII (personally identifiable information) such as name, address, Social Security numbers, and financial account numbers, which in the wrong hands could leave your firm or client organizations vulnerable to identity theft or financial fraud.
Though secure digital alternatives are available, many organizations still rely on the exchange of paper documents, faxing, or email attachments to exchange these sensitive documents. Digital management of client documents in a secure repository, accessible via a secure mobile app and shared via secure online transmission, are protected from loss or breach more effectively than paper files or email attachments.
4. Reduce non-billable hours
A document management system, by design, organizes all client projects, files and documents and makes them easy to search, retrieve and share. Whether used in the office or on a mobile app, a document management system reduces hours spent searching for files, emailing colleagues with questions, thereby freeing accountants’ time to focus on consulting and other billable activity. Decisions and action can move forward efficiently when the information is available on a mobile device.
5. Attract and retain talent
Demand for accountants is growing and attracting highly qualified candidates is difficult. Firms with modern tools and technology, including mobile apps, are more attractive to new talent, particularly new graduates who were raised using mobile devices.
According to a survey by AfterCollege, nearly 70 percent of millennial job seekers said that an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in a prospective employer.
Forward-thinking accounting firms are choosing mobile document management to handle client work while in transit, while visiting clients, while on vacation. Mobile document-management apps are easy to implement and inexpensive — a low-risk way to increase efficiency and productivity.