Category: Organisation

The old image of document management – office workers literally pushing papers around a desk – is well out of date. Document processing in the digital world has an entirely different face. With most large organisations, public or private, on course to develop entirely digital systems, very few organisations at any level can afford to be content to use paper records as their main resource. Financial figures and confidential files are all more secure and more efficient when stored digitally.Â

Companies which place a premium on security, efficiency and confidentiality, such as those operating in the health, technology and banking sectors, almost all rely on digital document management. For instance, the NHS aims to be completely digital, across the whole country, by 2018. However, businesses in other sectors which deal with intensive invoice processing, payment or documentation automatation, cash management and supply chains are increasingly turning to digital solutions.Â

The reason for this shift is quite clear: digital document processing simply offers a more accessible and more secure system, both for workers and for clients. Data can be easily searched for, corrected and analysed. And customers are less patient than ever with problems caused by inefficient paper-based systems. This means that investment in digital document management equates to investment in customer service, as well as savings on office space and worker time.Â

Many companies initially find the shift to digital document processing difficult. Depending on the scale of the business and its security needs, a new way of doing things can be intimidating. However, once a digital solution is in place, most people find it to be much more flexible to changing regulations, demands and company developments. Most services are “future-proof”, meaning that the shift of data will generally only have to happen once. Compared to laboriously rewriting or refilling documents to fit a new system each time a tweak is needed, simply informing the document management tool to make a small tweak takes hardly any time at all.

Different companies have very different document management needs. Some organisations only need simple invoice processing solutions in place to ensure their suppliers get paid on time, while others need a comprehensive and flexible approach to content management to keep up with changes in their industry or a quickly expanding business. Many people find that once they’re using a reliable digital service, they can see far more clearly what can be improved in the way they operate, and become surer than ever that digital truly is the way forward.

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Offices used to be disordered and complicated places with machines and filing cabinets in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Bulky photocopiers would stand next to great switchboard systems, and computers with voluminous monitors would occupy whole desks. Going back further still, some parts of offices would have resembled craft shops, as employees made carbon copies of worksheets. document management in those days represented a formidable task, requiring memory and handwriting skills at the top of their game. Now, of course, these skills are not outright disregarded but they can be overlooked among people whose analytical thought as well as their pragmatism is deemed to be more of an asset. Indeed, document processing really requires staff to have their wits about them, especially if the documents are going somewhere confidential. Confidentiality is certainly important these days, and perhaps more than ever since ‘hackgate’ (The Leveson inquiry). Even fellow employees must be protected in this department, for the safe invoice processing of their wages and fees is an important marker of any given institution’s reputation.

A company that can secure a good reputation in terms of its relationship with its employees will be sure to have a weight lifted from its shoulders, as well as a better sight of its future aims. Accelerated invoice to pay systems, used by temporary workers and freelancers will be very helpful in terms of granting a clear vision looking forwards. Thus the modern office that utilises document management systems efficiently will literally and metaphorically have more room to grow – paper transformed into electronic content will give clear sightlines and an uncluttered environment while fast payment systems will keep the company in the good books and ensure that external services are proposed ever more eagerly. Altogether, decluttering and getting on top of admin and accounts means empowering the mobile workforce.

What the majority of companies should be aiming for in this day and age is a transparent system and a realistic, though vigorous approach to allocating budgetary funds. Different departments of individual companies have extremely varying needs and it is important that the management acquaints itself with every department’s requirements, individually. If that sounds like hassle, consider document processing whereby elected individuals could be spokespersons for their department and interact directly with document content in a location visible to the directors. When document management occurs in this way, the management proper will have more knowledge and be able to do a better job. Invoice processing is slightly different of course but can be handled in an equally fair and transparent way.

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Although paperless offices are the ideal nowadays, the reality is far from happening. A paper-free operation should save time and money, bringing efficiencies as documents are accessible and, essentially, indestructible. Unfortunately, if the rest of the world hasn’t caught up to your ideals, you will be forced to use both systems: an awkward melting pot of old and new. Document processing bridges this gap until everyone is on the same page (electronic or otherwise). It’s a way of turning paper documents into e-versions that can then be used like any other computer file. These can then be stored in a document management system, organising them so that they can be accessed by all of the necessary staff. Similarly, invoice processing streamlines your accounts department, ensuring that you have a computer record of all paper invoices, and that no one gets left behind because they are using old technologies.

The benefits of all this are huge. Where other companies and individuals use e-invoicing, you can send instant and secure requests for payments, and receive your money in the same way – without the need for tiresome and time-consuming paper invoices, which have a habit of getting lost. When customers and suppliers send you invoices by snail mail, they can be converted to electronic form by the software, allowing you to treat them in the same way as e-invoices.
This process is extremely useful when it comes to invoicing and payments, since your company stands and falls on its cash-flow and reputation. No one ignores it when invoices are lost or delayed, and this level of automation eliminates those kinds of problems. Along with other, related software it can also address the problems of incorrect invoices, including duplicates or more fraudulent submissions.

However, the use of these technologies goes beyond invoice processing. Document processing is also useful for the day-to-day running of your business, since the efficiencies it brings lead to a smoother operation. Document management means that you should never be slowed down by a letter or memo sitting on someone’s desk under a pile of paper. Similarly, papers can be used simultaneously by any number of people without photocopying. That can transform meetings and business planning and allow your staff to do their jobs more easily and simply. That has knock-on benefits for productivity. Whilst the truly paperless office is some way off, then, this collection of technologies has the ability to bridge the gap, making life a lot easier in the meantime.

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There are numerous systems that are used for running a successful office and they will be different according to the size and nature of the business. One of the most important organisational facilities which all offices require, however, is a system that permits speedy and easy document management. This can include document processing and invoice processing and numerous other systems can be added to boost the efficiency with which the office staff work and to minimise the frequency of expensive human slip-ups that are unavoidable in any business. However many systems an office manager elects to implement within the firm the most essential facility which is needed is document management – this is what much of running an office boils down to.

Nowadays, the filing and managing of documents usually all takes place on a computer. This method of working has multiple rewards. Not only can different members of staff access shared documents and spreadsheets, but it is now also usual for staff to remotely access their work computer and continue to work on important documents despite being away from their desk, perhaps while travelling, or perhaps looking after a sick child or infant at home. When members of staff are able to store and edit documents jointly it increases the efficiency with which they are able to work and to collaborate. This in turn has a very positive effect on team morale within the office.

One of the greatest advantages of using a computer system to manage your documents is that files can be searched for individually, for example, by date, by title, by author, or by keyword. This again speeds up the working process and allows employees to make better use of their time for the benefit of the business. It also means that the wrong (perhaps outdated) file is less likely to be used at critical points in the business cycle because a properly organised system for managing documents can easily be used to replace documents and files as and when they are superseded.

There are many advantages to a document management system, from more efficient document processing to more accurate invoice processing. It can even help to reduce the carbon footprint of your business. In the current climate, when office space is at a premium and office overheads are high, using a computer-based system to manage and process documents makes a lot of sense. It is no wonder that they are increasingly popular across a wide range of businesses.

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