The Flexibility of Paper in a Paperless Environment

Integrating traditional paper-based processes with paperless technology

Over the last decade, the accounting profession has undergone a slow and steady evolution to the paperless office—a transition that began in the area of audit. As audit professionals started to reap the rewards of more efficient, paperless workpapers, tax practitioners took note and soon followed suit—putting the tax department at the center of the paperless movement. In the last few years, the advancement of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology and improved scanning processes have allowed firms to transition to a far more efficient and time-saving digital tax process.

The transition to paperless usually starts with front-end scanning, but can be inflexible when it comes to properly working with digital files, and standardizing the process because:

  • Document management systems prevent workpapers from being organized beyond the file level, and do not provide common tools to annotate, sign-off and cross-reference workpapers of different file types.
  • Bookmarked PDF files don't allow cross-referencing and annotating individual pages within larger workpaper files, and combining multiple file types.

Advanced digital binder technology opens up a world of opportunity with the ability to: Automate and Standardize Binder Setup; Clone Binders; Index Multiple File Formats at the Element Level - Excel, Word, PDF, and Email; Cross Reference as easily on screen as on paper; Use a common set of digital review tools, replacing paper and pencils.

CASE STUDY: Transitioning to a paperless office by aligning the right technology with the firm's workflow process.

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