Transitioning to Digital Documentation for Modern Bookkeeping

Not too long ago, bookkeepers were confined by the physical constraints of their profession. Massive file cabinets and heavy boxes of receipts kept bookkeepers tethered to cluttered offices. Today, the only thing holding them back is adherence to traditional practices.

Despite the tremendous flexibility and efficiency digital documentation offers, many organizations are still reluctant to embrace it due to fear of the unfamiliar. Consequently, bookkeepers remain unnecessarily chained to outdated filing systems and physical paperwork.

The Shift to Digital Documentation

The barriers to digital documentation are gradually disappearing. Each year, more documentation that once required physical paperwork becomes available in digital formats. For example, the IRS now provides every tax form and its instructions for download on their website, offering over 2,000 forms accessible 24/7 from anywhere. This kind of flexibility is invaluable.

Digital documentation offers benefits beyond flexibility. Eliminating paper saves money, space, time, energy, and resources. Consider storage space—a 100 gigabyte hard drive can hold about 2 million pages of text, which would otherwise fill over a thousand filing boxes and occupy more than 1,000 cubic feet of office space. In contrast, the hard drive is just a few inches in size.

For organizations with the time and resources, converting physical paperwork to digital format can free up space and make it easier to store, catalog, and retrieve information. Scanning and then shredding old documents not only saves space but also provides an extra layer of protection against loss since digital files can be easily duplicated.

Starting with New Documentation

If a full-scale conversion isn’t feasible, start by making all new documents digital. This means creating and maintaining documents in a digital format from the outset. Email receipts are an excellent example—many retailers now offer the option to receive receipts via email, which reduces paper clutter, safeguards against loss, and ensures a complete digital record of expenses. When email receipts aren’t available, apps like Expensify and Shoeboxed allow you to photograph paper receipts with a smartphone or tablet. These images are then coded and stored in an expense database for easy retrieval later.

The Advantages of Digital Receipts

Digital receipts reduce clutter and minimize the risk of damage, loss, and decay. Unlike paper receipts, which can fade, tear, or stain, digital receipts remain clear and intact as long as the file is preserved.

Streamlining Payroll and Remote Work

Adopting digital methods can also streamline your payroll process. Using direct deposit instead of checks saves time and reduces costs while ensuring employees are paid quickly. Banking and bookkeeping software facilitates neat, thorough digital records of all transactions.

The technological advances enabling digital documentation have also fueled the rise of remote work. Bookkeepers can now manage your finances from anywhere with no loss in efficiency, making it possible for more organizations to employ virtual bookkeepers instead of full-time, in-house staff.

Embrace the Change

If your organization hasn’t fully embraced digital documentation yet, now is the time. The cost savings and efficiencies are compelling reasons to make the transition. Additionally, the potential to work with virtual bookkeepers can streamline operations even further, making your organization leaner and more efficient.

With digital documentation, you can achieve more with less time, money, energy, and resources.

At Lazar & Company, we offer expert virtual assistant services, including bookkeeping, content marketing, and administrative support. Learn more about our virtual solutions and how they can benefit your organization by scheduling a discovery call here.

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