Paperless poll options | AccountingWEB

Paperless poll options

We're looking to run a poll this week to assess how far the paperless office has penetrated into the AccountingWEB community.

What are the key points you think the poll should address? And can you help us with suggestions about the potential options.

Here's what our draft poll looks like at the moment - but are interested in suggested additions/amendments.

Poll: To what extent has your office gone paperless?

  • We’re committed to it and enjoying the operational benefits and extra office space.
  • We’re getting there, but technology has not delivered as promised.
  • We started down the paperless path, but got bogged down by scanning/data management issues.
  • We experimented with it, but staff didn’t buy into it.
  • Not at all - you'll never eradicate the paper from accountancy.

Looking forward to hearing more suggestions.

ShirleyM's picture


ShirleyM | | Permalink

An option headed 'We are not sure of the legalities'.

We are paperless, but I don't feel 100% certain of the hard facts on what is, and what not is, acceptable in electronic format, and what procedures need to be taken to ensure the paper version can be shredded with impunity.

We received some verbal information from the suppliers of our Document Management System, and of course have seen various opinions on here ... but if anyone could point me to some reliable and trustworthy guides I would really appreciate it.

derek44's picture

Paperless Legalities

derek44 | | Permalink

The ultimate test is whether the electronic documents and records stored will be accepted in a court of law.

There are recent (2008) British Standard guidelines regarding document management and evidential weight in a court of law. The key is whether your records would be accepted as valid and correct, and not be easily challenged.

A document management system should provide a robust audit trail putting the documents into their context of other 'same time' documents from a forensic accounting point to help establish their credibility. The system should help prevent records from being tampered with. Your own procedures for using the document management system (DMS) should ideally be documented and you should be consistent in your use of the DMS as well. That way you can help ensure you do not fall foul of the law.

Many areas now accept use of electronic documents. For example a specialist financial unit in the Met Police use DocuSoft for scanning and storing of documents for evidence purposes. Whilst the Met still have to maintain warehouses of physical documents and evidence, the use of electronic versions of documents is increasingly accepted. Indeed, when it comes to copies of email correspondence, they have never been paper in the first place! 

Many of our customers now shred paper after whatever they feel is a respectable period. Some documents like HMRC returns reminders, tax coding notices and so on can be readily shredded once scanned and stored. Ultimately very little needs to be kept physically.

scanw0rx's picture

legal admissibility

scanw0rx | | Permalink



I agree with Dereks comments. I would suggest you visit the BSI web site and have a look at the BIP0008 code of practice for legal admissibility and evidential weight of electronic documents.

Jon - Senior Consultant (Document Management for Accountants)

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