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By the Numbers: Can 5 Minutes a Day Make or Break Profitability?

What inefficient processes are undermining your firm profits? As experts in document management and accounting firm workflow, we see a number of common “time leaks” related to managing, sharing and storing information and client files.


In 1748 Ben Franklin – a statesman, inventor and bookkeeper – wrote that “time is money.” In 1888 a Manhattan watchmaker invented a machine he called the calculagraph. This instrument grew out of the idea that elapsed time per se has value and can be bought and sold as a commodity.

Fast-forward to 2020. Modern accounting firms continue to struggle with tracking time, saving time and billing our time and services. Over 57By the Numbers Chart
Does this sound too good to be true? Use this framework and plug in your firm’s figures for average salaries, firm size and billable rates. We estimate the cost of document management based on Doc.It at $26 per user; know that available options range from $26 to $36 per user per month.

Next consider the available opportunities to grow capacity and productivity in your firm. In addition to the financial return related to employee costs on an investment in document management, there are several other important benefits you may realize:

  • Savings by reducing document printing, faxing and mailing.
  • Advanced reporting to track project details, helping to avoid missed deadlines.
  • Productivity increases, as work flows smoothly without interruptions for file searching.
  • Client satisfaction increases, as staff can pull up documents and offer answers in one call.
  • Security improvement, as your staff exchanges documents with clients over a secure client portal, eliminating the inherent insecurity of paper mail or email attachments.
  • Improved compliance with audit trails, event logs and archive stores – your firm’s retention policy tagged on stored files creates a fully compliant archive.

Advance firm growth and realize ROI

When files and documents relating to engagements are digital and easy to find, accounting firms increase efficiencies and improve client service. If a client calls with a question or needs the last few years’ of annual tax filings, staff can respond in real time, not days. Instead of browsing through hundreds of folders filled with unsearchable documents and inconsistent names, your information is fully organized and searchable, just a couple clicks away.

When workflow software is used, team members can easily see who is working on a client file and take needed measures to move a file along to meet deadlines.

Work with your staff to identify the time leaks in your processes, and consider implementing a digital document management system. Calculating the financial return on an investment in document management may convince you to move forward with DMS and workflow software.

About the Author

Kevin Sharma is director of sales and marketing for Doc.It, a provider of document management, workflow and web portal products that help accounting firms optimize document management and workflow efficiency.  He can be reached at