Technology has dramatically transformed nearly every profession, and CPAs are no exception. Remember a mere two decades ago, when accounting and tax firms were largely paper-based?
Like any business, accounting firms need to be agile and adaptable to compete in today’s competitive space. When consumers and business owners have access to unlimited apps and technology that offer nearly instant gratification, the pressure is on for CPAs to keep up.
Advancements in tax and accounting tools and technology have undoubtedly helped to improve office efficiency. But by no means have they eliminated the need for printing, copying, scanning, and storing physical documents in most firms. In fact, with workflows becoming increasingly complex, the need for a high-performing multifunction printer (MFP) is greater than ever.
MFPs need to contribute to streamlining your firm’s workflow, not slow it down. Your focus as an accounting firm is on productivity and efficiency, yet most offices don’t think twice about how their outdated document devices are holding them back.
Here are the most important considerations to make when choosing an MFP that will integrate with your firm’s workflows and streamline your day-to-day productivity.
Intuitive User Interface
The functionality of MFPs has increased dramatically over the last several years, making them a critical component of many different office workflows. To make them easier to manage, most new MFPs on the market have some kind of touch-screen user interface. The challenge is finding an interface that works for your business.
Your MFP user interface should be designed to integrate seamlessly with your workflows and maximize productivity. To do that, it should have the following features:
- Universal design that suits people of all abilities
- Complete customization abilities to suit your business’s needs and preferences
- Connectivity to other business apps such as OneDrive, Box, and Google Drive
With the right user interface, you can remove options that are unnecessary to your business, highlight important features, and reduce the number of button clicks necessary to perform common functions—all of which make your your team faster and more productive with their printing, scanning, and copying needs.
Output Speed and Capabilities
It’s important to select an MFP that can handle the volume of documents your firm produces on a daily basis. Otherwise, you’ll find your team sitting idle while waiting for log jams at the printer to clear.
The metric you need to look at to determine an MFP’s output speed is ppm, or pages per minute. For common office MFPs, this can range from 25 ppm for small desktop models, to 95 ppm for more advanced devices. Consider the volume of printing your firm does on a daily basis (you can actually track this exact data with print management software or a document assessment), then look at MFPs that can handle that volume efficiently.
In addition to output speed, you’ll want to weigh other MFP capabilities. The metric to look at for scanning is opm, or originals per minute—very important if you frequently scan client or internal documents. Also, take a look at the maximum paper capacity. It’s no fun constantly having to reload paper and restart printing.
Compliance and Security
Accounting firms understand better than many other businesses the importance of protecting client information. Security is important not just for the sake of compliance with regulations, but for your customers’ peace of mind. Not to mention, a security breach will definitely slow productivity to a halt as you deal with the consequences.
MFPs are too often left out when CPAs are considering compliance and security. Because they’re such a common office tool, people don’t often consider them to be a security risk.
But today’s printers are advanced, and many are fully-fledged networked computers. Protecting your clients’ information is crucial, whether it is a digital file or a paper file.
When choosing an MFP for your firm, be sure it has the following functionality:
- Restricting access with passwords or PINs
- Using encrypted connections to transmit your printing data to the machine’s hard drive
- Securely printing to a mailbox and releasing documents at the device itself
Accounting firms are constantly adapting to emerging business technology to streamline their workflows. MFPs are a critical component of productive daily operations at any firm, becoming increasingly important as workflows become more complex. The right MFP will help position your accounting firm as a leader in a competitive space.