One of the most efficient methods of “going paperless” is to scan all paper files at the time they are received.
But how do you meet that goal when you’re away from the office?
As accountants lean into the use of digital documents for the majority of their record-keeping processes, having a reliable, affordable portable scanner is becoming an increasingly important part of any accountant’s technology plan. Even if you are not looking to scan on-the-go, other considerations may play into the argument for adding a smaller scanner to your toolkit.
|The Kodak ScanMate i940 is true road warrior’s dream. Weighing in at under 3 lbs and less than 12″ wide, it scans 20 pages per minute, and includes Kodak Perfect Page imaging software as part of the package. Best of all, it comes with an affordable price tag and a 3-year warrantee!|
While a busy accounting office will likely need a high-volume production scanner to meet all of their scanning needs, a mobile solution will certainly be useful. And having a well-thought-out mobile scanning plan before you start scanning on the go can save a great deal of time, money, and risk.
- A one or two-person office simply may not need to scan more than a hundred or so pages a day, and can appreciate the smaller pricetag of a dedicated “portable” scanner.
- As tax season rolls along, working from home is often necessary, and the smaller footprint of most portables is much appreciated in home offices.
- With a weight of less than 3 lbs, you can easily bring along a portable unit to your off-site audits and have all of the client documents scanned, filed, and stored before you even get back to the office!
Here’s a a few Do’s and Don’ts to Keep in Mind When Considering Mobile Scanning:
(our thanks to Brian Tankersley‘s great article in CPA Practice Advisor entitled: Mobile Scanning Options for Accounting and Tax Professionals)
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DO Buy a Prosumer Quality Scanning Device. They come with a better warrantee and service options, will last longer, and will likely include better imaging software.
DO Buy a Scanner that will… Scan to PDF, and preferably to multi-page PDF documents. You do not want a scanner that can only scan to photo files (Note, this is typically an issue with cheaper scanners or multi-function devices).
DON’T even THINK about buying a single-sheet feed scanner. Multi-sheet feed scanners are a necessity. You do not want to keep feeding in papers one at a time when you could be completing your clients’ tax filings! Get one with duplex (scanning both sides at once) capabilities, too.
DON’T Buy a scanner that scans at less than 20 pages per minute. Anything slower is like watching paint dry, and is definitely not an efficient use of your billable rate.
DON’T go cheap. Although you can get mini-scanners for under $100, you will get what you pay for. Invest in a good unit, there are many available for under $600. It will work better (and faster), will last significantly longer, and in the end, you’ll save money and be much happier with the results.
DON’T use phone apps to take pictures of files or scan to PDF. The results are typically not reliable enough to use in a business setting. It’s also a slow, inefficient process to scan more than a page at a time.
“While these tools require no additional hardware (and are often free), they also frequently create blurry or poorly lighted images,” says Brian Tankerley, Technology Editor for CPA Practice Advisor. “Transferring the images securely to a computer also generally requires the user to plug the phone into a computer, as the methods which are traditionally used for transmitting photos (e-mail, upload to personal clouds like DropBox or SkyDrive) generally do not meet the compliance requirements applicable to many kinds of confidential information.”
DO consider investing in a document management solution. Preferably a secure cloud-based option, if you want to truly “go mobile”. Once the documents are scanned, the electronic files have to be organized and stored safely within a tool that allows you to find and retrieve them when you need them. With cloud-hosted solutions, you can securely store and retrieve those files from anywhere, on any device, providing a smooth flow of information whether you’re at your desk our out of the office. Even better, a good document management solution provides proven returns on investment within less than 18 months, so they are well worth considering for your office.
PS: We just happen to be running a Tax Season Special on our Kodak Scanners – Click on the image below to learn more! But hurry, like tax season, this offer is over on April 15th!