Paperless accounting processes can work wonders for SMBs

Paperless accounting processes can work wonders for SMBs

Managing finances is nobody's idea of a fun time. For small and medium-sized business (SMBs) leaders, who have plenty of other matters to attend to, accounting processes can be a time-consuming challenge.

If a recent study from Sage is any indication, however, document management software makes life significantly easier for SMB decision-makers.

"Those who use accounting software seem to be more confident and have a better understanding of what they are capable of managing and what they need to learn more about to make their business a success," said Connie Certusi, executive vice president and general manager at Sage Small Business Solutions.

On the surface, the survey doesn't show substantial differences between SMBs that are using accounting software and those that aren't - both sets of owners are about equally confident in their ability to manage accounts payable (74 percent for both groups), accounts receivable (70 percent to 71 percent, respectively) and invoicing (69 percent to 74 percent) functions.

But when asked about their current concerns, the two sides reported major differences. Around half of respondents whose companies don't use document management software are struggling with accounts payables, payroll, inventory management and invoicing processes; accounting software users, on the other hand, are only having difficulty with payroll and inventory management.

And that isn't even factoring in compliance with tax regulations, something that software users were found to be nearly twice as comfortable with.

Electronic cash flow makes enormous difference
Certusi believes that non-software users "are potentially holding themselves back from even more success by not truly understanding cash flow and how to manage the financial health of their business."

WS Packaging Group, a pressure-sensitive labeling manufacturing company, used to experience similar problems with its accounting processes, according to corporate controller Cathy Schumer. That was until the firm transitioned to a paperless document management system.

"It was easy to implement," Schumer said. "We actually got it up and running very quickly."

In a recent blog post for PYMNTS.com, Bill.com founder and CEO Rene Lacerte outlined some of the benefits of paperless systems, notably:

  • Better visibility over cash flow, which will lead to fewer overpayments and incidents of fraud.
  • Fewer spending on operating costs. Removing manual payables, receivables and mailing processes enables companies to cut down on these expenditures.
  • Eliminating time-consuming activities such as bill payments and paperwork. In addition, paperless systems allow employees to conduct certain processes remotely.

For WS Packaging, paperless document management has worked wonders. Schumer said the company has been able to reduce excessive spending while improving transaction and compliance processes immensely, among many other benefits.