Date posted: 25/01/2022 5 min read

What’s the cost of chaos?

Poor document management sucks productivity from accounting firms. Here’s how a cloud-based system helps. Brought to you by SuiteFiles.

Work admin, documentation and communication consume a significant proportion of our work hours. We spend an estimated 3.5 hours daily on work email alone, according to an Adobe study, and that has increased as more people are working from home.

Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index reported that Microsoft Exchange Online delivered 40.6 billion more emails in February 2021 than it did in February 2020, and the number of people working on Microsoft Office documents was up 66%. But, really, who can spare that amount of time from their day solely for email and admin?

Many accounting firms have already moved to cloud accounting solutions, such as Xero, to simplify workflows and allow access from anywhere with an internet connection. Cloud document management systems offer a similar, elegant solution to streamline admin and paperwork.

Embracing the cloud

Inspired Accountants in Auckland has been using SuiteFiles document management software for more than seven years.

“Our in-house server was time-consuming and costly, often requiring us to fund additional IT support,” says director Craig Weston CA. “Because of this, getting off the server and into the cloud seemed like the logical next step for our team.”

A similar desire to move to the cloud motivated Victorian firm TrustOne Partners to try the SuiteFiles solution.

“That’s where we’ve been aiming to be as a practice since about 2009,” says partner Kathryn Harris CA. “Cloudbased document management software was the last piece in the puzzle.”

New ways of working

When the pandemic forced businesses to move to a work-from-anywhere model, those already working in the cloud had a clear advantage.

“The ability to access client files from anywhere makes running a remote team significantly easier,” says Weston. “The whole company has access to relevant files and client communications.”

Having all your client-related paperwork in one place in the cloud also provides one source of truth, rather than having some critical communications locked away in personal inboxes or on office-based servers.

Document management software also spots patterns and anticipates needs. For example, if there are 2019 and 2020 tax folders for a client but someone is filing a 2021 form, SuiteFiles will automatically create a 2021 tax folder and file the form in it, explains Harris.

Templates save time and help prevent staff from introducing errors, plus multiple people can work on a document at the same time, speeding up reviews and approvals. Staff can send forms to clients for signing, and track whether they have received them back – aiding compliance and audit readiness.

The power of integration

The power of cloud solutions lies in integrations. Ideally, your document management solution should integrate with your accounting and email software, as well as the tax office’s online platforms.

“We use the SuiteFiles app to securely push documents to our clients,” Harris says. “The integration with ATO SmartDocs means fewer steps and more oversight of client communications for us.”

An integration such as this can reduce a 90-minute task to a six-minute one. “SuiteFiles allows us all to have clear sight on what’s happening for our clients,” says Weston. “No matter where we’re working from, we’re able to collaborate across documents in real time, without issue.”

Xero and SuiteFiles

SuiteFiles is integrated with Xero Practice Manager (XPM) software – a big advantage for firms already using the popular accounting platform.

Here are a handful of the time-saving benefits:

  • When you create a client in XPM, you can auto-create a folder for that client in SuiteFiles, as well as a sub-folder structure.
  • Auto-populate client data from XPM into templated documents and emails.
  • Access client information, emails and SuiteFiles documents using the XPM documents tab.

Find out more

To find out how cloud document management would work for your firm, book a demo to see SuiteFiles in action.