November 2003—Many businesses including more than 30 Southern California tax accounting firms have made a remarkable change in their ways of doing business by digitizing all client records and eliminating their filing cabinets in the process. Yes, it’s completely legal, saves them money and greatly improves their ability to serve clients.
AMI Paperless, a Los Angeles-based systems integrator, has been implementing this revolution for the past year. AMI uses LaserFiche Document Imaging software to convert tax records and client files to electronic files which are archived in the accounting firms’ servers and are instantly accessible to their accountants via secure internet connections in their offices, at home or on-site at the client’s place of business.
Once a paperless office is in place, these firms can then maintain digital files according to the industry’s best practices. And the system is guaranteed to grow and prosper along with the firm: non-proprietary images are accessible with any software, and additional tools for remote internet connectivity and automated capture are available as firms grow larger and need to process thousands of documents per day.
Firms also appreciate the ability to save storage costs, particularly in Southern California’s pricey real estate environment.
” We will be eliminating 360 square feet of office space previously occupied by file cabinets when our lease renews next month. That will save us over $800 per month in rent expense” said Tom Jemison, Enrolled Agent and Certified Financial Planner for Newhall-based Taxatron, Inc. “And when a long-term office assistant left the firm to work with her husband, we made the decision to do without a replacement since LaserFiche has automated so many very time-consuming office tasks. That took another $40,000 expenditure from our 2004 budget”.
Jemison also noted the sense of security he felt last month as the Simi Valley fires drew a perilous 200 yards from Taxatron’s offices. “Tax and financial planning offices take a lot of comfort from having paper backups for all critical information – until a fire approaches the building. We had to seriously discuss what to remove from the building, and it was a real relief to know that our 24 filing cabinets worth of critical client papers were already backed up to digital tape and CDs, and stored safely off site on the other side of our valley”.
Pasadena-based Hinton, Kreditor, Gronroos, LLP, is home to the tax records of 1,000 clients, each of whom have a unique digital folder in LaserFiche with their entire tax history. In the event of an audit, pulling tax returns from the last seven years is as easy as a couple of points and a couple of clicks. In addition to a staff well-seasoned in tax preparation, HKG clients have the luxury of instant answers if the IRS ever has a question.
“We were running out of cabinets in the file room, and things weren’t very organized there, anyway,” said Office Manager Lori Sheridan. “Still, we didn’t have a lot of time to implement a new system. Fortunately, AMI’s implementation and training period had the system up and running within a week. By our first tax season with LaserFiche, the entire office was comfortable with the product.”
The accounting industry joins thousands of banks, credit unions, and other financial planning institutions to embrace LaserFiche. The company’s just-announced Records Management edition will offer IT managers powerful reporting and archiving tools designed for enterprise e-mail, electronic and physical record-tracking.
“LaserFiche resellers like AMI Paperless have the great ability to introduce our records management technology to client-focused professions,” said Chris Wacker, LaserFiche senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Busy accountants appreciate the fact that LaserFiche comes equipped to stand up to IRS and SEC regulations, as well as independent consultants’ security protocols. They can give their clients more individual attention without worrying about how they’re going to store records or how they’re going to find them.”
For more information visit LaserFiche (www.laserfiche.com).