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3 document challenges of accountants

Accountancy organisations and firms are always concerned with tomorrow. Will we still have a right to exist then? Will we still be competitive enough to prevail by then? Has a data breach or privacy scandal perhaps already killed us?

With questions like these, policymakers in the accountancy sector are now working to find solutions that will contribute to the challenges of the future. What are these challenges for accountants and what solutions and tools do they face to be future-proof?

Reducing labour-intensive tasks

When managing financial and tax issues for their clients, accountants typically use a number of repetitive, manual tasks. From entering data to filing documents and everything in between. When an accountant can automate many of these tasks through technology, they find more time and resources to focus on strategic services. By reducing the administrative burden, accounting firms can increase their margins on their managed services or subscription services.

Business processes and services for customers: automate now

The secret to thriving in the new world of accounting lies in automation. Accountants can automate services for clients in the form of self-service portals and information-sharing solutions, reducing their own time spent searching for information. All this leads to a better experience for clients and better margins on existing services by freeing up staff and leaving them time to focus on value-added tasks.

Opportunities to automate can also be found in standard business processes, such as contract management. By enabling workflows with information management technology, contracts can be managed more efficiently, from drafting to signing. Automation can also help streamline back-office processes such as onboarding, accounts payable and other typical manual office tasks.

Minimising compliance and audit risks

Accounting firms and their clients operate in a world where the consequences of poor audit procedures and regulatory non-compliance can be drastic. At the very least, a poorly conducted audit and a lack of easy access to the necessary information depletes valuable resources and productivity. Perhaps worse, non-compliance with regulations can cost companies dearly - not only in the form of fines and penalties, but it can also damage a company's reputation.

Solutions such as M-Files help with compliance-related activities such as audits and CAPAs. A good information environment ensures the quality and security that customers and regulators expect. Documents should be retrieved quickly and the different stages of documents should be tracked thanks to a comprehensive version history.

Ultimately, all accounting firms should maintain full control over the creation, ongoing development and access to the documents they manage. Information management should therefore be the cornerstone of an accounting firm's technology infrastructure. Companies in the accountancy sector have traditionally relied on file-only storage solutions, such as Box, SharePoint and even network folders. With these, while accoutants store documents centrally, they simultaneously accept limitations around audits. Smart accountants can set themselves apart with modern information management.

Client expectations are increasing. While accounting firms are focusing on reducing operational costs by streamlining and automating processes, they also know that the way their employees work continues to change. As is the way employees interact with customers.

This means IT solutions must provide:

Working together. Colleagues and customers should not only have easy access to documents, they should also be able to collaborate easily. For example, in the form of co-authoring.

Safety. Security is essential, not only for the client, but perhaps more importantly, for their customers.

Mobile. As employee expectations change, document management systems must have the ability to easily work outside the office without compromising security.

Usability. The solution must be reliable and user-friendly, as this makes staff more productive and reduces overhead.

M-Files is the information management platform that allows accountancy firms to reduce labour-intensive tasks, easily automate towards their clients and reduce risks.

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