Considering the massive amounts of data businesses generate minute by minute – not to mention the urgency to go “green” for the sake of an increasingly fragile planet – the idea of “less paper” technologies become very attractive.

CPE Link instructor Roman Kepczyk says the digital realm provides practical ways to decrease an administrative department’s paper pile while upping its efficiency and security.

For example, most firms have adopted digital paystub delivery, but may be more hesitant to switch from integrating expense reimbursement with payroll. However, by doing so a firm can not only cut down on the paper it uses, but also cut down on bank transaction fees – a double win. And time can be saved that was formerly used schlepping back and forth to the bank by using remote check scan for deposits.

Kepczyk also suggests having personnel enter all expenses each day into Practice Management when they enter their time, rather than using separate Excel-based expense reports.

In teaching firms digital best practices, Kepczyk points to an “explosion of data and information” that can be handled by a corresponding expansion of connection options. Therefore, he stresses, system access and resiliency are an absolute must, as is reliable security.

Consider having firm owners log into a secure portal to read financial reports, rather than distributing them as PDFs or in paper format. One benefit to this practice, Kepczyk says, is that the digital controls triggered will leave an audit trial that shows exactly who viewed what, when.

And as a general rule, he says, everyone who works out of the office at least once per day and does not have home remote access to firm applications should have a a laptop as their only machine. He points to a study that shows 35 percent of firms utilize laptops for owners/managers as their only machine.

Kepczyk, who is director of consulting for Xcentric, works with accounting firms to hone their internal production processes. It’s a tough economy, he points out, and the time is right to focus on “improving your firm’s production processes and educating your personnel on best practices for this turnaround.”