It’s hard to believe, but the first quarter of 2015 is nearly over. For people wanting to stay on top of their finances, this means it’s time to get organized. From stray receipts to detailed expense reports, it can be tricky to place everything exactly where it needs to be. And the transition from paper documents to electronic records adds an extra layer of confusion to an already complicated process.
Finance departments have their hands full – especially during this time of year. But the good news is that with the right tools, they can ensure their organization is fully prepared for tax season, audits and beyond. Here are a few tips to help you stay on the right track, regardless the time of year:
1. Ditch the paper
Going paperless isn’t a new idea. Organizations and individuals alike have made significant progress in the last few years, creating, sending and storing more electronic documents than ever. And there’s a good reason for that. According to Xerox, the United States alone spends $460 billion a year to manage paper-driven information.
That’s money that companies, large or small, could put to good use somewhere else. Electronic documents are easier to sort and organize, so you can find the information you need in merely a few clicks, instead of wasting time digging through a filing cabinet or stacks of loose paper. Best of all, with software that creates an audit trail, you’ll be able to see exactly who has seen the documents. Paperless tracking of your financial records can mean more accurate reporting and better visibility into your company’s compliance with audit policies, as well as more transparency into what your company is actually spending.
Make an effort to reduce paper dependency in your organization by implementing mobile apps or software which allows you to store your documents electronically. Cloud services help you keep important files – like tax returns – longer, without taking up valuable space. And expense-reporting solutions like Concur keeps your organization paperless in the office and on the road.
2. Protect sensitive information
Making sure that sensitive information is secure is an important piece of every organization’s reputation. With identity theft and data hacks on the rise, it just makes sense to exercise caution when dealing with private data. With a recent study showing that even metadata can reveal personally identifying information; it may be time to rethink your security protocols.
Don’t keep paper copies of personal information any longer than you have to. We highly recommend shredding sensitive documents before you discard them, so that information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Even some junk mail should be shredded before you toss it in the garbage can, advises Geoff Williams of U.S. News. This also helps cut down on the amount of papers you have to sift through when you’re searching for specific information. Shredding as you go will save time, but moving to a secure, automated system can help keep your reputation – and your receipt drawer – squeaky clean.
3. Add organization to your to-do list
Tax season and audits can be stressful, but with the right preparation, they don’t have to be. By keeping your documents well-organized throughout the year, you’ll cut down on the hassle that is typically associated. Why not schedule time on a bi-weekly basis to check in and keep things up-to-date? Making organization part of your workflow will help avoid the month-end rush.
There are plenty of resources available for you. From mobile apps to expense management tools, finance departments have a wealth of options that will help ensure quarterly or year-end reports are as thorough and painless as possible.
Ready to see smarter expense reporting in action? Please contact us today.