7 Document Management Methods Help Your Accounting Team Plan Ahead
Document management is an inevitable aspect of every business. However i, when starting from square one, the task of implementing a document management system is daunting - even more so if the company is transitioning from an entirely paper-based system.
A business-friendly document management system allows you to store and retrieve documents, collaborate effectively as a team, securely organize digital and physical materials, and ensure records are archived or disposed of in a timely manner. This system must be able to scale with the company and adapt to its ever-changing needs.
However, if a system is implemented without a custom design and integration strategy, the company is likely to waste time and resources. One of the main goals of any document management system is (return on investment). For this to happen, a company will need a system that has a solid methodology to back it up.
7 ways to successfully manage documents
1. Determine the type of document:
The first step is to identify the different types of documents that the company needs to manage. This can include legal agreements (such as service level agreements), HR documents, financial offers, and more.
2. Access management:
Define who should have access to each document type and their roles and responsibilities. This step helps ensure that only authorized individuals can access sensitive information.
3. Storage and retrieval:
Decide how to store documents and retrieve them when needed. This can include a combination of physical storage and electronic systems. When documents are stored properly, retrieving documents using a keyword search is relatively easy. A search by name, address, vendor, or other simple keyword or phrase provides a list of documents containing that word or phrase.
4. Enable automated retention schedules
With a document management system, it's easy to get information like storage and invoice history and use that data to start an automated workflow. From there, the business rules you set determine how long you need to keep different types of documents such as invoices and financial statements. The system automatically scans documents that your organization does not have to keep. A document management system provides workflow tools to enable retention and destruction at predefined times to keep your business in compliance and protect it from litigation.
With a document management system, your accounting department is better prepared because documents can be retrieved instantly with the search criteria you specify. This allows your team to quickly respond to auditor requests and maintain greater control over your business information. Every capture, version, and annotation of the document is logged for full traceability, and every step of the workflow is logged for process transparency.
6. Document management policies
Develop and implement clear document management policies, including guidelines for creating, storing, accessing, and disposing of documents. For example, instead of shuffling through filing cabinets, desk drawers, email boxes, and other places where documents may be stored, a document management system will give you quick and secure access. to documents in one central location. Proofreading preparation time is essentially eliminated when your documents are captured, converted into searchable PDFs, and stored in a digital document repository.
7. Document disposal:
It's time to get rid of clutter and those files that only take up space and potentially cause liability risks. Your team should start by identifying and possibly disposing of all unnecessary documents discovered during the inventory and will eventually transfer this task to their own collections.
The way you store your accounting documents has a huge impact on your ability to plan ahead. When documents are difficult to retrieve - or lost - this can create serious problems during your next audit and limit your ability to produce detailed cost analyzes and plan budgets. Effective management of accounting documents to meet legal and regulatory requirements should be a primary priority for every accounting department.