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Audit Preparation: How Records Management Software Will Help

Audit_Preparation_How_Records_Management_Software_Will_Help_.jpgIn most companies today, keeping clients happy, managing employees and producing quality work are more than enough to keep everyone busy. Thinking about your records being audited may be the last thing on your mind. After all, you have plenty of things to worry about that need attention right now!

But poor records management could lead to a disastrous audit for you and your organization. Think about the time wasted digging through paper files stored in filing cabinets that may not even be on site. And that’s before the audit even begins. If your paper files are incomplete or messy, your time with the auditor could stretch on for days.

However, if you eliminate the clumsy paper-based processes in your organization with digital records, you will be more prepared. With the right records management solution, your audit will be streamlined because you have everything you need at your fingertips.

Be More Efficient with Records Management Software

Manual systems, such as handwritten lists or invoices printed out on paper, may have been effective in the past, but they no longer meet the requirements of today’s modern business environment. With manual filing, it's easy to misplace or lose important information. Audit trails – who processed/approved information and when – are not easy to capture or see on paper.

However, the right records management software can provide faster access to your data, and it’s typically easy to learn and update. A software system will also help you organize your records, allowing you to capture, index, track and manage the data that the records contain. With this type of transparency and control over your data, you’re much less likely to commit the type of error that results in a problematic audit finding.

If you do face an audit, with the IRS, EPA, OSHA, FDA or any other government entity, your records management solution will still be helpful. Instead of scrambling, you’ll know where everything is and you’ll be able to easily give the auditor the necessary information.

Efficient business practices help drive a profitable business. By following document management system best practices, such as using software instead of paper, your audit could be done in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks. Imagine the feeling of walking into your meeting with the auditor confidently, and leaving just a short time later! Records management software allows you to get back to running your business more quickly.

Keep Your Audit as Penalty-Free as Possible

If your audit doesn’t go well, you could be required to pay for corrective actions and face extra scrutiny for years to come. A governing agency could dig into every record you have!

An employer knowingly violating Occupational Safety & Health Administration(OSHA) safety violations can be penalized between $5,000 and $70,000 per violation. Do you have records readily available to prove your case if OSHA investigates your organization? If not, an audit could close your company’s doors for good.

But that isn’t the only expensive penalty an audit could bring if you’re unprepared. You’re required to keep I-9 forms for each person you employ, and the federal government can fine you $1,100 per employee for not providing these forms when requested. It’s easy to misplace information with a manual system, but with proper digital filing, HR will be notified in the case of incomplete information.

The list of needed records goes on and on. Rather than keeping stacks of important government documents in filing cabinets, it’s best to store them digitally.

The Full Capabilities of Digital Document Management

Digital document management is the smart way to manage your organization’s information. It offers more than just a way to replace paper with digital files; it’s a comprehensive system that converts all of your company’s documents (including email, invoices, contracts and more) into easily accessible resources.

Digital document management allows you to do more than just store these documents, and its other capabilities make it your best tool against a costly audit. For example, records management software has the ability to automate record-retention schedules. If the law requires you to retain a record for seven years, the system will automatically notify you when the seven years is up and the record can be removed from your system. You also have the ability to set up file systems so it is easy to see if all documents needed for regulatory compliance are filed. This is a simple way to reduce your risk for a fine, and one less thing for you to worry about.

With the right audit preparation and by following document management system best practices, you can stay in control of your audit. Increase the auditor’s confidence in your business, and your likelihood for success, by implementing a records management solution at your organization.

Learn how to put this type of digital software in place at your organization to increase the control over critical records and reduce your risk of a costly audit.

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