The week of December 28th brings stress in all ways, shapes, and forms. Most are dealing with the stress of the holidays — hosting family, sweating over the stove, deciding on new year’s resolutions are just a few examples of year-end chaos. However, there is a particular kind of stress certain professionals have during this time that can make you want to pull your hair out…end of year audits.
The end of the year comes with the balancing of spreadsheets, audit reviews, and other financial preparations in the hope that 2016 will start off without a hitch. In a perfect world, you’d have a foolproof, 3-way check, every-document-is-accounted-for process. However if your business is like most companies, this isn’t the case.
When auditors come into an organization they often require access to a plethora of company information to ensure practices are compliant with regulations. This can mean granting auditors access to employee data, company’s financial statements, payroll, expenses, accounts payable and receivables, and more. If a company is unable to retrieve certain documents, account for certain information, or if the process is not secure enough to comply with regulations the business could face penalties for noncompliance.
Instead of stressing over the next audit, companies are now implementing a smart, compliant document management system. Here are 5 ways document management can improve the audit process for your organization:
- Improve accessibility to necessary documentation. Many companies still store documents in file cabinets, emails, cluttered computer desktops, not to mention other places “creative” employees may store data. Additionally there is rarely any sort of naming convention to ensure easy retrieval. A document management system provides quick, secure access to documents from one central location. Document management systems can be customized to eliminate or drastically minimize the preparation process. Documents are then captured, transformed into searchable PDFs and stored in digital format.
- Increase security to ensure regulatory compliance. Old school file cabinets, document storage facilities, bankers boxes all lack TRUE security. Document management systems are able to encrypt files, restrict access, etc. This will ensure documents are truly secured at all times.
- Improve employee productivity during audit time. During audit season, many employees are recruited to help search for elusive documents. Once a document management system is installed, employees can spend time during an audit concentrating on high payoff activities instead.
- Make the workflow trail visible to auditors. Any great document management solution will allow the workflow process to be visible. This means any changes to a document is tracked. The employee who made changes and the time the changes were made is recorded, as well as other information that is important to the company’s workflow process.
- Easily update procedures to comply with changes in regulations. Many industries that have regulations are subject to change at any time. Having the ability to quickly adapt to the changes without hassle is key to remaining compliant and penalty free.
Determining which document capture and management strategy will best streamline your auditing process starts with a brief analysis by document management experts. This analysis will shed light on what is important to your company and how best to address your specific needs.