I hate paper.
Unless it is green with pictures of presidents on it.
Don’t judge me – you feel the same way too.
But seriously – I hate paper and how it takes control of my desk, my dresser and my kitchen table. We, and by we, I mean you and me, consume so much paper on a daily basis that we could make 1,000 paper airplanes every day. Yes every day.
So when I discovered cloud document management, and how it ultimately eliminated paper from my life, I was ecstatic!!!
See in my world, the world of accounting, paper is the main proof that what occurs in a business actually occurred. It is the source document to every transaction that occurs in your business. And trying to eliminate it was, and still is, a hard thing to do. Everything rides on having those source documents. They show which accounts each transaction actually occurred from. They keep you out of trouble with Uncle Sam. And they validate when payments are made or received.
So what is cloud document management?
In simple terms, it is a file cabinet on a computer server that is kept somewhere other than your office or your computer. That’s right an electronic file cabinet. You can create a filing system that is identical to your file cabinet in your office and scan all of your receipts, as well as statements and contracts, to that system. Then ultimately you can remove the file cabinet that is taking up space in your office and replace it with, oh I don’t know, a nice lounge chaise for after lunch naps.
Once the documents are all scanned and stored you can then shred them or trash them if they do not have confidential or sensitive data on them. And let me tell you there is something liberating about shredding and trashing paper. You are freeing the clutter out of your office which in turn frees your mind. And even more freeing, at least to me, is that you can access the data anytime and from anywhere.
Now you have to be certain that your information is protected, because there are people out there with too much time on their hands and they spend it hacking into other people systems. Which means you can’t just chose any system. You have to be sure to chose a system that:
- satisfies regulations associated with HIPAA, GLBA, FINRA or SEC
- safe and secure with at least 256 bit encryption, SSL/TLS so that the data is safe while in transit and while at rest
- backs up your data regularly
Once you get past those check points you should look at the price and if it fits into your budget along with the features and benefits of the application. Again, don’t just choose a system because someone else likes it or because its free. Look at other features such as:
- how much storage space do you get and is it expandable
- the number of users and can you place controls on their access
- does it integrate with any of your other business systems to help you save time and streamline your workflow
To help you get started here is a list of some of the systems that you can check out.
- Dropbox – Works on any device and seamlessly blends into your computer filing system.
- Google Drive – Works effortlessly with Gmail and other Google products. If you are a Google diehard fan this app may be for you.
- One Drive – Works seamlessly with Windows devices and the Microsoft suite of apps.
- Smartvault – Specifically for accountants, this system allows us to store all of our client documents and give access to who we want at any level we want. We love Smartvault.
In summary, if you still have a shoebox of receipts or file folder on your desk of papers, you need to jump on the cloud document management bandwagon today so you can free your mind and see your desk again.