Providing employees with the right tools is key to driving efficiency and productivity. A document management system is often a good solution for CFOs and accounting leaders who need their teams to accomplish more without adding to the payroll.
Twenty or 30 years ago, accounting documents largely consisted of papers stored in a file cabinet. Today, documents come in all sorts of formats, from paper, PDFs and Word docs to emails and image files. Electronic records are increasingly important as accounting documents, such as electronic invoices, are generated by an ERP system.
As a result of this explosion of document types, the information your accounting team needs could be stored in any number of locations, from a fax buried on someone’s desk to emails stored on mobile devices to reports generated by line-of-business systems. To be efficient, your employees must be able to search quickly for lots of different content types across your organization. That’s where document management software helps organizations save a lot of time and effort.
A good document management system is built around a digital “document pool” — a single, centralized storage location for all documents. When this structured approach to content management is combined with today’s cloud and mobile technology, everyone in your organization has the ability to search the document pool and retrieve the latest versions from virtually anywhere in the world.
Here are some aspects of a modern document management system that help employees reclaim their time:
- Storing documents: When every person has his or her own private document archives, it makes storing and sharing information much more time-consuming. It also tends to create mistakes when employees collaborate, such as when people aren’t sure they have the latest version of a collaborative document. When you implement a centralized archive that’s easy to use, everyone knows where to store their information and version control helps keep working documents up to date.
- Searching for documents: When employees need to find an old invoice, they could waste hours looking through digital file shares, physical file cabinets — even a warehouse. With digital document management, you have instant access to that invoice.
- Creating new documents: Compared to starting from scratch, many documents could be created more quickly by using existing documents as a starting point. Having instant access to those earlier documents is a great way to boost efficiency in this area.
- Managing document transport or workflow: Instead of shuffling papers from desk to desk or between different offices, a digital document management system allows people to quickly transfer documents and tasks, because you’re all sharing the same document pool. This also provides additional transparency into workflows and processes.
- Managing contracts and offers: A document management system allows you to create automated reminders regarding status and renewal of contracts, streamlining a variety of complex tasks.
Today’s accounting teams face a variety of challenges in accessing information, from the complexity of processes to multiple document types and competing storage options. A document management system improves efficiency by allowing employees to search quickly across content types and your entire organization. By reducing the time they must spend on tedious administrative tasks, you create more time for employees to spend on their real work.