Running a Paperless Office

By: Meghan Manas | Director, Client Services

One of BWFA’s goals in 2016 is to move toward becoming a more paperless office. here are a few of the benefits that are motivating our move to a more paperless environment:

EASY ACCESS: All documents that come into our office will be scanned and stored in digital form. This will alleviate the need to pass papers among our staff and then file documents in physical file cabinets. Our staff can easily retrieve and share your electronic documents with colleagues who require them to serve your needs.

IMPROVED CUSTOMER SERVICE: Having electronic access to files means less time tracking down and searching through paper documents. Searches can be easily done and should yield results quickly. This could result in, for example, less time “on hold” for clients who phone us.

DISASTER RECOVERY: Encrypted copies of all BWFA’s files, including all electronic documents, are routinely backed up and saved both locally and securely offsite, keeping documents safe from disasters such as fire or water damage.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT: Even a small paperless office can save hundreds of reams of paper each year. In some small measure, this will preserve resources and spare trees growing our Nation’s forests, so they can benefit future generations.

If you are a BWFA Tax client, you will have begun to see the results of some of our efforts this tax season. The tax team began sending our clients copies of their 2015 tax returns and e-file forms via DocuSign, an electronic signature technology. DocuSign has made it easy for our clients to quickly and securely provide electronic signatures needed for filing their tax returns. This practice is helping us keep costs down and submit returns in a timely manner.

For our BWFA Investment Management clients, we have begun using DocuSign in partnership with TD Ameritrade, again allowing us to quickly and securely capture electronic signatures and important customer information for account openings, money movement, beneficiary changes, and a variety of other activities. Electronically signed documents are directly submitted to TD Ameritrade for prompt processing.

We hope to take our paperless efforts even further this year by beginning to make available to our clients electronic versions of our quarterly statements. We have been researching solutions that would provide our clients with a secure, convenient, and environmentally friendly way to access their quarterly statements. We hope to have the right plan in place before the end of the year. Be on the lookout for an email with more information, once this service becomes available.