Paperless office

As technology has improved we have reached the stage where committing all information to digital form is now safer and more secure than traditional paper filing.

Our internal systems back themselves up regularly throughout the day and at night all our computer records are securely backed up externally. This means that the office and all our computers could be completely destroyed yet all we would lose is a maximum of one day's work.

This is evidently more secure than relying on paper records, the loss of which could be terminal.

The move brings with it greater efficiency and a downward trend to the time required from us to tackle clients' work, bringing our charges down in real terms.

Of course we have a considerable archive of clients' paper records and our own working papers. These will be stored safely off-site for the relevant statutory period then destroyed (in some cases we will contact clients to ask if they would like them back).

As part of this process, under normal circumstances, all accounts, returns and other forms will be provided to clients as PDF attachments or other suitable digital format. Very little now leaves this office in an envelope although of course we can provide paper versions of anything if there is a real need.

Organisations that used to require accounts etc. - for example, mortgage lenders - generally now require proofs of submissions that were digital in the first place, i.e. to HMRC, Companies House or the Charities Commission. Therefore there is no value (but some expense) in providing paper accounts and returns.

Where the work we do arises from large quantities of clients' paper records, these will be returned to the client clearly labelled with the statutory storage period. We will have digitised the core information so in the event of any enquiry, re-combining the records will give us all the answers.

As time passes and the transition is completed, all information will be 100% digitised and electronically locked.