Several years ago, I got a letter that my business was going to have a random sales tax audit. When I shared the news with several of my friends that were also business owners, they laughed and predicted that the auditors would find all kinds of things that would cost me additional taxes and fines. To say the least, I was worried even more after talking to them.
The day the audit was to begin was one on those days when you just knew nothing was going to go right. It had snowed the night before, and then the wind had come up, so traffic was miserable. The wind chill and traffic delays had put everyone in a bad mood, including the person who showed up at my office two hours late to start the audit.
She sat down and started by telling me that for a company my size this would be a two or three-day process and that she would start by looking at copies of our invoices for the past 3 years. I told her that I had gotten rid of all my paper invoices after I scanned them into my Laserfiche document management system and that we would have to look them up on-line. Now, that put her in an even worse mood. She said in her twenty years of being an auditor for the State of Minnesota, she had never heard of such a thing–everyone knows you need to keep paper copies of all your important information. I assured her that I would assist her and that she had nothing to worry about.
I don’t think she was convinced, but we started the process. First, she asked for a list of AR and AP for a certain period. She watched, and within a few seconds, I had the info on the screen, but she was not satisfied because she didn’t have a piece of paper with the information on it. I hit the print button and quickly got the reports into her hands. Then she demanded that I show her a certain item that was purchased and the proof that it was sold to a customer. For me, this was a simple search and I had the information in seconds. She was amazed, but not happy until she had piece of paper, so I printed it for her.
Then, I think, it became a game. She would ask me for something and I would easily find it. She picked a serial number of a computer we purchased and wanted to know who it was sold to. That was no problem for me; I just did a quick full text search on the serial number and Laserfiche did it’s magic, on my screen were all the documents related to that serial number. I was able to show her not just the one document she was looking for, but every document with that serial number on it: the packing slip, the bill from the vendor, the work order to install it, the invoice billing the client, and even the service orders when we worked on that computer.
After a few hours of this, the game was over. She was convinced. She said that in 20 years of auditing, she had never experienced anything like this. We were the best company she had ever audited.
Later, my friends were anxious to hear a great story of how miserable the auditor had made my life. They were shocked, and maybe a little saddened, when I told them that it was a really great experience and it was over before I knew it. Not long after that, some of those friends became customers and now use the document imaging system I sold them. They can’t wait for an auditor to show up at their doorstep, because they are prepared for it.
If this sounds like something you are interested in, just let me know and I will be happy to give you a free demo.