Generating documents is an essential part of conducting business. For this reason, it’s ideal to have a document management system that provides your business with the necessary tools for creating, securing, and sharing vital documents. With the document management system in place, it will be easier for you to store and retrieve crucial information.
This boosts the efficiency of your business, increases workforce productivity, and improves your services by doing away with the challenges brought about by using paper.
However, despite most people knowing the benefits of using business document management, many still ask: what are the best practices of effective document management?
If you’re wondering this yourself, here’s an overview of the best and proven business document management practices you should look to employ in the day-to-day operations of your company.
What’s Document Management?
It’s best to first get an idea of what document management is before going any further. Document management is the process of transferring paper documents into digital formats and then storing them into systematized categories in the electronic filing system.
These documents can either be financial documents, budget and inventory statements, or employee information, and can only be accessed by authorized persons.
Thanks to the document management system, you don’t need expensive and bulky drawers and cabinets to store your vital documents. Moreover, you get to enjoy benefits such as improved security, better record-keeping, quick access, and fewer geographical limitations.
Even the simple yet transformative innovation of being able to electronically sign with jSign and other digital document signing tools is a benefit made possible by document management systems.
What Are The Best Business Document Management Practices?
Now that you understand what document management entails, the next thing you should know are the best document management practices. Here’s an overview of four of these practices:
1. Set Goals And Develop Crucial Metrics
You should start by setting a goal and putting measures of identifying how best to measure your progress in place. Failing to do so is a mistake made by many companies implementing a document management system. However, you have the opportunity to learn more about how these digital tools can help improve collaboration, cut down document storage costs, and enable quick access to documents.
It would be best to have a clear goal in mind and specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. This way, you’ll be in a position to create a baseline for benchmarking the document management system against your current system. In addition, you’ll be able to gauge your progress towards reaching your business objectives.
For instance, you might come to realize that it only takes you three minutes to process an invoice with the document management system as opposed to your existing system. Knowing such quantifiable figures allows you to prove to your employees or colleagues the benefit of using the document management system going forward.
2. Consistent Naming Of Documents and Folder Structures
The issue of inconsistency in the naming of documents and folders is one that many businesses deal with in their daily operation. This is brought about by employees using their own folder structures and file names to create thousands of folders and files each day.
While your employees might not be doing this with malicious intentions, it does cause issues when such folders and files are in a shared space.
This is because it becomes harder to retrieve specific folders or files due to an individual not understanding the proper filing procedures or forgetting the original naming structure.
As a result, a lot of time gets wasted trying to locate specific files, thus reducing their efficiency and productivity.
By observing the best business document management practices, you can avoid these issues. An effective system ensures that the files and folders are made in a conventional manner right from the start.
You’ll no longer stress yourself trying to figure out which is the best way to name your files. Instead, go for a naming convention that best suits your company’s needs.
After settling on your preferred naming system for files and folders, create a template that guides your staff on structuring document names. With this consistency and uniformity across your company, finding the required information becomes a lot easier.
3. Inform Your Clients
Having a document management system improves efficiency when communicating and working with clients. And if you’re going to use this system, then your clients must know about it.
You should then have an explainer that describes to your clients what the document management system is, how it’ll benefit everyone, and the reason for adopting it.
Some of the advantages of the business document management system you must always state are how it helps save time by making document retrieval quicker and a lot safer. When creating an explainer for your clients, make sure to create it in numerous formats, highlight its mutual benefits, and not dwell too much on security.
4. Know The Record Retention Requirements Governing Your Industry
Storing documents for longer than necessary is a common issue among many businesses. This usually happens due to the lack of awareness on regulations mandating how long documents need to be stored or the pain of destroying the documents.
With paperless systems, it’s become even easier for people to hold on to documents indefinitely because it’s cheaper to buy hard drives. However, holding documents that have reached their maturity date is a liability to your business.
To avoid such situations, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules governing document retention.
These requirements are either legal, state, or federal, and they determine the kind of document your business should acknowledge when formulating a document management system. It also needs to state the duration which these documents should be stored, which is usually seven years in the financial sector.
However, make sure to first check your compliance manual to be more aware of the retention requirements for certain documents.
It’s your duty as a business owner to organize your company’s operations across different departments. A business document management system helps you attain this goal as it enables your staff efficient and quick access to crucial documents. Discussed in this post are the best document practices you need to implement to improve your document management usage and adoption.