Amid today’s emerging digital technologies, paperwork and admin are still central to most organisations. But there are ways to streamline these essential duties, and adopting an automated document management system is one of the most effective methods of driving efficiency in these key business functions.
An automated document management system can be a real blessing for businesses spending too much time and resource on administrative tasks. For the accounts payable process, in particular, such a system brings great opportunities for streamlining, with automated steps that allow for a much smoother and faster approval process.
If you’ve considered investing in an automated document management system in the past but have been reluctant to go ahead with one, our guide could provide the clarity and assurance you need. Here, we’re taking a look at the key benefits that these systems can bring to your operations, and the areas they can help to support.
What is an Automated Document Management System?
Without getting overly technical, an automated document management system is a business software solution used to organise, secure, store, capture, digitise and tag business files.
With some document management systems offering numerous add-ons, features and capabilities, you might have heard the concept called enterprise content management, enterprise information management and intelligent management.
Whichever term you know them as, the core principle remains the same: they automatically handle the paper documents your business receives, so you can put more time into other duties.
What Are the Benefits of an Automated Document Management System?
Although benefits and capabilities will differ from system to system, there are consistencies in what they can do for your business. Below, you’ll find some of the more significant advantages of using an automated document management system.
Accounts Payable Automation
Accounts payable is among the most paper-intensive functions of any business, and even today, many companies depend on a far-reaching paper trail to ensure sign off and reconciliation. But in a climate in which more staff are working remotely, maintaining and overseeing the accounts payable paper trail is becoming a hindrance few businesses can afford.
One of the key benefits of an automated document management system is that it can completely transform the accounts payable process, making it possible to manage transactions, invoices and purchase orders from anywhere, on any device.
An automated system, like Intact iQ’s Trax Accounts Payable Automation Module, not only brings digital documents to your fingertips but also works behind the scenes to match specific documents together. For example, the Trax system pairs purchase orders with the correct invoices automatically, for seamless reconciliation and account management.
From approving purchase invoices to making quick amends before posting; an automated document management system can streamline each stage of the accounts payable process. So however you like to do business, you’ll gain greater control and transparency of your financials with an automated document management system.
Less Storage Space
Along with taking up space across your office, the cost of overflowing filing cabinets, boxes and shelving can soon add up. With office space in the UK at around £39 per square foot (and a lot more in London), businesses are having to fork out a fair amount just to accommodate their paperwork.
With a document management system, however, your business can reduce the amount of storage space it requires, freeing up this valuable real estate for more desks or other equipment. Any important documents you need to keep hold of as hard copies can, if necessary, be stored in offsite warehouses or vaults, which are a lot less cost-intensive.
Even the smallest business needs to safeguard its sensitive data. Unprotected customer data, credit card numbers and health records, for instance, can be taken advantage of, whether by employees or cybercriminals. And the fallout from cyberattacks can easily lead to serious consequences, from damaged reputations to going out of business entirely.
By restricting access to such documents, document management systems provide another line of defence between your data and those looking to exploit it. Additionally, by leaving an audit trail, it’s easy to see who has viewed a document, the date it was accessed and how it might have been modified.
Easier Document Retrieval
Employees spend more time than you might think tracking down both physical and digital documents. When such time-consuming tasks eat into the day, it takes up parts of our schedule that could be spent on more important duties.
Instead of searching high and low, a document management system streamlines the search process. Depending on the software you opt for, a document management system can retrieve a file from just a single word or phrase in a document – wherever you are. Also, should the system cater to them, you can even add metadata and tags to each document, further refining the retrieval process.
With all the time they can save you, an automatic document management system allows employees to be more efficient. Since the system provides you with a centralised location that’s easy to access, your team can find what they need, share it with others and view key document information without the frustrations that may come with carrying out these tasks manually.
With these grievances no longer an issue, staff morale and performance receive a boost too. By creating a positive environment where your team can focus on more important tasks, productivity is likely to increase as a result.
Enhanced Backup and Recovery
Fires, floods and other natural disasters can make storing physical documents a risk. If anything like this was to happen, then your most valuable data and files could be lost in a matter of seconds.
By storing your documents in a document management system, there’s no such risk. And by opting for one that’s cloud-based and off-site, you can easily back things up and protect your information should you somehow lose the originals.
Collaboration can easily lead to crossed wires if teams aren’t used to working together. With a document management system, the process becomes a lot simpler, allowing teams from across the business to share and work on documents together.
If documents need to be accessed from different locations, they can. Should managers need to update process-related documents for remote staff, then that’s possible too. Likewise, sharing documents over the internet. And if external users need to access your files, then a document management system can authorise this as well.
Looking for more ways to refine and optimise operations and processes? You’ll find extra help and advice in the following need-to-know guides:
- 10 Benefits of a Credit Control Management System
- An Overview of the Order to Cash Cycle and Ways You Can Improve Yours
Like the sound of better business processes? Intact’s future-ready intelligence tools are the perfect fit for your day-to-day operations. To learn more about our products and services, visit the homepage or contact our team today.