3 ways to optimize Microsoft 365 to improve document management for accountants

A woman sits at her desks and uses a calculator while looking at paper documents

From invoices to contracts to tax returns, accounting firms are responsible for securing and properly governing thousands of documents — yet many firms struggle to promote efficient document management among their accountants.

A 2021 study[1] showed that 85% of employees spend a significant amount of time searching for documents throughout the workday — a task that most accountants know all too well. Due to poor inconsistent document management, accountants often have a difficult time finding and collating client engagement-related documentation. Without proper document management technology, accounting firms are likely to suffer from reduced efficiency, productivity, and client satisfaction.

The best way to reduce document management confusion is to centralize everything within one software suite — specifically Microsoft 365, a tool your firm likely already has.

Build Microsoft SharePoint sites for client engagement

In a 2022 global study[2], 40% of respondents claimed that their organization had mistakenly shared a sensitive document externally to an unauthorized party. Respondents who work in the financial services sector were 30% more likely than average to say the same.

Microsoft SharePoint helps accountants reduce this risk with easy implementable rules, including a managed metadata capability that classifies content and displays key information such as who created a document, what the document is about, and whether the document is confidential, public, or for internal use only. This reduces the risk of users accidentally sending sensitive documents outside the company.

SharePoint also has tools and templates to help organizations create multiple intranet sites that can be used as a platform for corporate communication. Leveraging SharePoint sites helps secure documents through role-based permissions: Each site includes only the information needed by a particular client, making it easy for your firm’s users to target their search.

Sync all documents and messages using Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is another key Microsoft app for syncing data, documents, and messages. Microsoft Teams has a series of cloud-based connectors that allow you to connect more than 200 Microsoft apps and third-party services.

Microsoft Teams also has enterprise-search capabilities to help your teams save time and effort. For example, if you’re not sure whether you sent an audit document to a client directly via Microsoft Outlook or with teammates via Microsoft OneNote, you can search using Microsoft Teams and quickly find the file without having to browse through all the other apps.

Improve accessibility to documents via the Microsoft Outlook mobile app

With many accountants still working remotely — often from their mobile devices — remote, mobile-friendly technology has become a must-have for firms. With the Microsoft Outlook mobile app, your users can easily locate documents within their email from wherever they are, even if they’re away from their computers.

The Microsoft Outlook mobile app is designed to meet high security standards. Microsoft 365 administrators can control which devices have access to Outlook, so if an employee’s device is stolen or compromised, the administrator can easily disconnect the device’s access to the company’s email database.

Benefit from a personalized client management experience

OnePlace Collaboration & Content, an Intapp suite, provides a more convenient application layer to Microsoft 365 that optimizes your user experience. Tailored for the needs of your industry, the software automatically provides engagement-centric workspaces directly within Microsoft Teams, allowing teams and clients to collaborate more easily and efficiently. OnePlace Collaboration & Content also makes your Microsoft 365 workspace more convenient and secure by automatically creating key documents and making them accessible to the appropriate clients using role-based permissions.

Creating a unified engagement management experience allows partners and professionals to collaborate more closely and work more productively while keeping their most sensitive documents secure. Schedule a demo to learn how OnePlace Collaboration & Content can help you optimize your Microsoft 365 investment and improve document management for accountants.

[1] Elastic (2021). “The struggle is real: Searching for content at work is taking over your time.”

[2] Templafy (2022). Content is Everything.