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Paperless Control Sheet

We have been becoming gradually more paperless over the last 5 years or so, and are comfortably using paperless systems for accounts and audit files and all incoming post / filing of e mails, and client tax records coming in, etc. But there are still several pieces of paper floating around our office, the subject of this post being the tax return (and indeed, accounts prep) control sheets.

Logging client details, and then being initialled by various staff at each stage of the tax return process, the sheet serves a useful purpose, ensuring consistency of approach and completion of every job - admin staff chasing up those incomplete control sheets which have not been finalised.

The control sheet is printed from excel, and it would be easy enough to file the sheet electronically and let each user type in their name, rather than writing it in. But this seems to defeat the object as anyone can enter any name and any date. We do not want to implement a full on process management system, which would seem like a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

How have others managed to remove the paper control sheet, and how well has it worked?

Thanks all,

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We have.

It was easy for us as there is only two of us and we are both boringly honest. Apart from that, if the wrong initials were accidentally used it would be be blindingly obvious to the other, but this has never happened anyway.

The benefit of paperless is that it is available at the click of a button ... and you don't have to go searching for bits of paper whether it be for upating or checking. There will always be risks, whichever method you choose.

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Formal database/CRM system

This is where a system like Iris's Practice Management comes into its own and made our transition to less-paper much easier than would otherwise be the case.

Each piece of work we undertake for a client is planned & monitored by an Iris job profile, so, for example we have up to 30 stages that can be planned & signed off on any accounts prep job, with many of these being automatically set to go live once a previous stage has been completed.

These cover everything from sending the year end reminder, chasing the info, collecting/checking/acknowledging it, through doing it, getting it reviewed, signed off & submitted.

Because it links to Word we can assign a standard template to any of the stages for completion on screen, so, for example, there is a planning as well as a review checklist attached to  appropriate stages plus AML checks, resolutions, letters of rep etc etc, with each template capable of picking up static or variable data from the client database.

So we've printed nothing out for any job processing in nearly 5 years now and all of the profiles, stages & attached documents are available firmwide, enebling anyone to see the current state of play on any piece of work as well as quoting & billing processes.

Worth its weight and, for me, more valuable than the bits that actually do the accounts & tax returns.

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CCH is the answer

We consult with a lot of clients who use CCH, and we have aided numerous build custom lists of "questions" to ensure each job is completed correctly.

The custom list is best kept as simple as possible, then expand as time goes by.

We then tend to back this up with an alerting system which reminds you of any deadlines you have missed.

The value of keeping it on the database is that it is then visible firm wide, and we are not waiting for someone to close the Excel sheet.

If you need to know more [email protected]

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Move to simple logging database ...

and give each user a login/password

This will then get away from '..anyone can enter any name and any date ..' because once a user is signed-in the system can log their signoff & date/time according to their login & the system date

Of course if they hand out their login details then that is another issue. However, a simple db comprising following tables - client, year, events description lookup, event sign-off (user/dateTime) should do the trick

By taking this approach you have an infinately expandable set of sign-offs associated with any event you choose to include

In fact it is probably small enough that it could be done in something simple like MS-Access anyway

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As an alternative

HQ for accountants by Selestial.com is another option

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Thanks everyone

Some interesting alternatives which i will look into.

Thanks for your responses.

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Glide Practice Intelligence

Hi

If you are looking to computerise the control sheets for tax and accounts preparation then can I recommend Glide Practice Intelligence. From the info provided I believe this would take over from your current paperless system, without duplicating a lot of other functionality that you probably already have in terms of practice management, billing etc. 

I work in practice and had this developed for exactly the same reasons.

A proper database is certainly required to manage workflow, a lot of people use spreadsheets but of course you get so much more out of a system designed specifically for this purpose such as automated workflows, e-mail alerts, dashboard interfaces, security and access rights etc.

I'll message you with some details.

Best regards

 

Ben Norwell

www.whatsglide.com

[email protected]

 

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