Bells Accountants

Did we really say paper? Does anyone use that anymore? You would actually be surprised! We come across a still staggering number of companies which use paper for many of their processes, increasing their risk of something going wrong. This is why we are focusing on securing your systems this month, aiming to get more companies of all sizes to switch away from paper and increase their security.

Why is paper bad?

There will always be a need for paper. The completely paperless office may not a feasible goal for some, but it is possible to reduce reliance on it in many ways. The majority of security breaches and information leaks are through your own staff who unwittingly leave papers on desks, forget to pick up print-outs when they get distracted with a call or meeting, drop them in a bin by the printer if they decide they don’t need them after all, or even have the odd instance of forgetfulness, leaving papers in the back of taxi cabs or on the Tube when in a rush.

Why is a ‘paper’ trail necessary?

There are certain documents that you have to keep a record of – for example, HMRC requires you to hold accounts records for up to six years. If you fail to do so then you could be fined up to £3,000 or disqualified as a company director. Others are necessary to show how things evolve over time – for example, budgets, business plans, company policies, etc. But these documents do not necessarily have to be in a paper format.

What is the alternative?

Digital records are easy to create and maintain, harder to breach, and could be more cost effective. The benefits are clear once you consider them:

  • Security. Whether you are diligent about creating, using, and changing passwords regularly, or invest in software that can do that for you, a digital record is more secure than you may think. You can also limit access to documents to those who need access them, thus reducing your chances of a security breach or data leak even further.
  • Backing up. Keeping a back-up copy of your important documents is easy when you have digital records. You can also protect them by keeping back-ups in different places, such as a third-party server or on the cloud.
  • Accessibility. Get access to your documents with just a couple of clicks and be sure that it is the most up-to-date version with good version control and electronic date stamps.
  • Improved performance. Have all the necessary information at your fingertips and give your clients the level of service they expect. You could even give them access to certain documents or systems online cutting down on the time taken to complete certain processes which is guaranteed to keep them happy. Even better, passing on the savings associated with optimised performance and reduced timescales will ensure they stay with you for a long time.

There are software packages for almost everything nowadays, so there is no reason for you to still be relying on paper for your business processes. Talk to us at Bells Inc. Hamilton Stewart if you are unsure of what you need or for help switching to digital records by calling us on 020 8763 1711 or dropping us a line at .