Effective Document Management Platforms

It can be scary to switch from paper to digital platforms. It can be stressful switching from one digital platform to another. Will you be able to retrieve the right documents? How do you make sure nothing gets lost? What if your computer crashes? How difficult will it be to keep up with the system?

The right accounting document management software is the answer to all these concerns and could greatly enhance the efficiency of your office.

Information Retrieval

To accurately and efficiently retrieve information, the first step is to make the document digital. This can be using a scanner at your office or having a client take a picture of it with their cell phone and upload it to their end of the client management platform.

The second step is to assign metadata tags and categories. Well-designed software makes this an easy process. These tags are the search criteria that will identify that document. Entering a document in a client’s file will assign it to that client’s name. Then, you tell the computer how to file that information. Which year’s taxes are you working on? What kind of document is it? What invoice number are you working with? Once you’ve labeled it properly, it will be easy to call up that document if you need it another day.


A key benefit of document management systems is the ability to collaborate with other office members. Rather than hunting down who has the paper file in their inbox, you can update a file in real-time from any terminal with permission to access the data.

Say your client is coming in for an appointment next Thursday. You gave them a list of documents to bring to the appointment, but they misplaced the list. Anyone answering the phone call can look up case notes and see exactly what you requested the client upload through the client portal or bring to the office.

It is less important for one or two-person businesses, but the system should clearly indicate if someone made changes and by whom. If you have a question about a transaction, you know who to ask. You will know who uploaded documents and how they’re categorized. It tells you who has accessed that document, which is helpful in the event of an audit.


Another benefit of a document management system is the preset workflows that move documents through a predetermined pathway. Here are some examples:


As documents are identified, usually with a drop-down menu, the system automatically files them into the correct folders for easy retrieval.

Action Needed

If the document is supposed to trigger an action, the system sends out an alert. Say you create an invoice. You enter that invoice into the system, which automatically forwards the document to the accounts payable inbox to follow up on the payment. Once handled, the system will file the invoice so it’s accessible when handling that year’s taxes before moving on to be archived.

Other examples include setting alerts if you or clients don’t complete files in a specific time. Say you hired some seasonable help, but they’re out sick. The client waiting in that person’s queue doesn’t fall through the cracks.


Cloud document management solutions are the most secure option for keeping your client’s private information safe from the following:

Computer failure

Document management systems with cloud storage keep client information safe if your computer crashes. There’s nothing quite so panic-inducing than turning on your computer to see the blue screen of death. While tech services may be able to retrieve information, it’s not a guarantee if you’re using a purely local system. With cloud-based systems, they instantly record information changes. Hardware failures, while inconvenient, can’t stop you from conducting your business if you have another terminal.


As a professional tax business software, all information should be encrypted to industry standards. Transmitting documents through the client management system is much more secure than delivering them via email.


Having all the information on the cloud prevents thieves from stealing paper files from your office with social security numbers, bank account information, etc. It also means you can safely take your computer to appointments away from the office. If a thief steals your laptop from your car, your clients’ information isn’t on the computer itself. It’s in the cloud behind layers of digital protection.


A system where clients can upload documents from their homes means they can do it before or after work without worrying about business hours, babysitters, or parking. It’s sitting in your queue when you get to work the next morning.

Final Thoughts

Switching to the right document management system can improve efficiency in your office while adding layers of security to protect your clients and, by extension, your business. The only caveat is that you need an established office protocol, so everyone is using the system correctly. The system works well if your office consistently uses the system.