The Paperless Accountant & Paperless Bookkeeper

The Paperless Accountant & Paperless Bookkeeper

Welcome to Part 2 of Going Paperless Checklist. In part 1, we explored scanners, data storage, shredders, paperless faxing and indexed search tools. Here are the remaining recommendations:

6. Paperless bill management. New services such as Manilla (free) can automatically collect and organize all of your bills. Thereafter, log in to see your bills summarized in one location, and if desired, you can set the system to remind you as bills come due. You can also use Manilla to collect and organize frequent flyer and rewards program statements. Similar services include PayTrust ($9.95 per month), Billeo (free), and MyCheckFree (free).

7. Paperless expense reporting. Online expense reporting solutions such as Expensify (free) and Concur expense reporting ($8 per month) enable your employees to fill out expense reports online, including from their smartphones. Thereafter, electronic expense reports containing attached scanned or photographed images of supporting receipts can be submitted electronically. Expensify can even recognize and convert your scanned receipts and enter the data details for you. This approach eliminates paper and rekeying, improves accuracy, saves time, and enables faster work flow and reimbursement approvals.

8. Paperless travel management. Travel management services such as TripIt (free) enable you to plan and capture the specific details of business trips, which are then organized into chronological itineraries and synced to your smartphone for easy access. After the trip, you can save electronic copies of your itineraries, including notes, photos, and documented events, for archival and IRS reporting purposes.

9. eSignatures. Secure digital signature products such as HelloSign (free) enable you to sign electronic documents with legally binding signatures so you can execute paperless contracts without having to print and physically send paper documents back and forth. Similar products include DocuSign (starting at $15 per month) and YouSendIt (free).

10. Electronic notebooks. Encourage employees to use electronic notebooks such as Microsoft OneNote (free with Windows Live account) or Evernote (free) to capture their notes electronically instead of on paper. These tools enable users to capture text, notes, hyperlinks, and images from computers, tablets, or smartphones; thereafter, the information can be accessed from all of a user’s computers or devices. With proper permissions, colleagues can be granted access to selected notes, links, and images as well.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Journal of Accountancy.