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The great digital hunt: Tracking and capturing elusive data

on 5 June 2024

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Posted by Wayne Pope
The great digital hunt

Picture the scene…

An accountant, armed with a cup of coffee, sits down to tackle the morning’s emails.

This has become part of her routine by now, but little does she know that the perfect storm is brewing.

On average, replying to emails may take up to an hour in the morning, a task that sets the tone for the rest of the day, but today there’s a few problems going on with her clients.

Several of them need urgent documents, management accounts, audit reports, and so on, but finding them within her outdated filing system is proving problematic.

The emails continue to flood in, a never-ending tide of time consuming and time-sensitive communications.

But attaching large files in her responses is taking up valuable time.

She started work at 8:30 but it’s already 10:15… and its only Monday.

The daily struggle

Does the above scenario sound familiar?

As accountants your day is characterised by this constant hunt for information.

Whether it’s searching for a specific document, waiting for clients to respond to emails, or digging through piles of data, the inefficiency is almost everywhere you look.

This inefficiency not only wastes time but also drains your energy, reducing your overall productivity and no amount of coffee can help.

On average, the typical person spends just under two hours per day checking and responding to emails.

For accountants, this time is often doubled, as they sift through client queries, request missing documents, and ensure compliance with regulations.

The seemingly simple task of gathering information becomes a significant bottleneck, affecting the flow of work and ultimately, the profitability of your firm.

To make up for lost time, many partners report 12 hour days, working once they’ve arrived home and taking time away from their families to respond to emails.

The cost of inefficiency

Inefficiency in document and information gathering is a silent killer of productivity within accountancy firms.

Each minute spent searching for a document or waiting for a client’s response translates into lost revenue.

The impact is twofold: not only is there a direct loss of billable hours, but the quality of your service also suffers, leading to dissatisfied clients.

But beyond this, the impact of inefficiency extends over and above the time and monetary cost.

It creates a stressful work environment where accountants are constantly under pressure to meet deadlines.

As you might imagine, this stress can lead to burnout, further reducing the firm’s overall efficiency and profitability – especially if senior leadership is affected.

Solutions through technology

The good news is that technology offers a way out of the inefficiency trap.

Information-gathering technology, designed to streamline operations, can revolutionise the way accountants work.

These solutions encompass a range of tools that automate the collection, organisation, and retrieval of information.

  • Document management systems: These systems allow for the centralised storage of all documents, making it easier to search and retrieve information. Advanced features like tagging, metadata, and full-text search capabilities ensure that documents can be found quickly and efficiently.
  • Client portals: Client portals provide a secure platform for clients to upload documents directly. This eliminates the back-and-forth of emails and ensures that all necessary documents are collected in a timely manner. Notifications and reminders can be automated, reducing the need for follow-up emails.
  • Data integration tools: These tools integrate with various accounting software, allowing for seamless data transfer and reducing the need for manual data entry. This not only saves time but also reduces the risk of errors, ensuring that the data is accurate and up-to-date.

The immediate benefit of integrating these tools is a significant reduction in the time spent on non-billable tasks.

This allows accountants to focus on higher-value activities, such as advising clients and developing business strategies, which more directly impact the firm’s profitability than email responses.

The streamlined processes lead to a more organised and stress-free work environment for you and your employees.

Deadlines are met more easily, and the quality of work improves, resulting in higher client satisfaction.

The great digital hunt for elusive data need not be a perpetual struggle for accountants - by recognising the problem of inefficiency and leveraging technology, you can end the information-gathering struggle.

The key lies in adopting tools like Glasscubes which streamlines information gathering and document management, transforming the way you work and paving the way for a more efficient practice.

Request a free demo of Glasscubes today, or learn more about our file sharing solution.


About this author: Wayne Pope

Technical Director at Glasscubes. With over 30 years experience in the online software industry, Wayne brings an in depth technical expertise in collaborative tools, technology, and best practices.