Managing Documents at Your Business: 6 Best Practices

As a business owner, it’s important that you understand how to organize your business across departments. A document management system ensures that employees can access important documents quickly and efficiently. Read further to learn more about document management, why it’s important for your business and how to find the right one for your needs. 

 

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What is document management?

Document management is the process by which a company transfers paper documents into a digital format before placing them into organized categories in an electronic filing system. Authorized individuals can access these documents like employee information, financial statements, inventory and budget statements or pictures and media to perform their job duties.

 

Why is it important to properly manage company documents?

According to the website Bit.ai, it’s important for the following reasons to properly manage company documents in a digital format:

  • Quick access: Whereas paper filing systems may take a while to go through, electronic filing systems allow users to search by document type, filename or category. This is helpful for promoting productivity because users can access files within a shorter timeframe.
  • Better record keeping: In a paper format, filing systems may become disorganized and certain documents might get lost. Digital filing systems ensure that you have easy access to years’ worth of documents.
  • Enhanced security: Where paper filing systems have locks or are stored in authorized locations, digital filing systems allow businesses to set up usernames and passwords to limit and control access to certain files. You can even create alerts for potential hacking or unauthorized activity to protect your company’s information.
  • Less geographic restrictions: If you offer remote employment or have more than one office location, a digital document management system is a great way to ensure employees have access to the same information.

 

How to determine what kind of document management system is right for your office

Here’s how to determine what kind of document management system is right for your office:

 

1. Identify your goals

Document management systems can have varying formats and features available to fit specific needs. Therefore, you should start by determining why you need a document management system. 

 

2. Review your company’s size

If you have a small company size, you may not need to invest in a complex filing system. This is because you don’t have as many departments, employees and locations that cause you to need more storage space.

 

3. Think about who will be using the system

If IT professionals or HR professionals plan to use this information system, you may be able to get one with more complexity. But, if you plan to use this filing system across departments with employees at varying levels of skill, you may want to invest in a simple filing system so everyone can access it easily.

 

4. Think about where they will use the system

If you want a filing system that you can use at a different office location or in different formats like mobile devices, you need to ensure that you invest in a filing system that can be accessed on an app or even different types of computers (e.g. Macs vs. PCs).

 

5. Identify your budget

Document management systems have a variety to offer depending on the price you pay. Regardless, you can still get a basic filing system that helps you organize your company documents. By identifying your budget, you can determine what type of management system you can afford. For example, if you know you want to purchase a filing system that allows you to integrate with older systems, you may need to expand your budget to match your needs.

 

6. Review your industry

There are specific types of document management systems you can invest in that cater to your industry. For instance, if you own a shopping boutique, retail document management systems offer users a format that allows you to organize wholesaler information, inventory, order forms and any information specific to your industry.

 

Tips for setting up and maintaining a document management system

Review these tips to help set up and maintain a document management system for your office, as mentioned by Record Nations:

 

Change system passwords often

This ensures that any previous employees won’t be able to access classified company information. It also ensures that current employees without authorization or potential hackers don’t get access to important documents.

 

Back up your system in multiple places

Invest in storage software or hardware to ensure that you can regain lost files if a glitch or employee error occurs.

 

Perform a digital audit to measure security and best practices

Get an IT professional to review your document management system to identify potential security loopholes in the software or management tactics. They can help you amp up your security and establish better cybersecurity procedures.

 

Clean out unnecessary documents for storage and organization

Just like paper filing systems, there may be certain documents that no longer hold importance within your company. This helps keep storage space available and allows for quicker access to files. For example, you can delete employee information one year after the end of their employment. In contrast, tax information should always be kept on record for recall longer than a year.

 

Managing documents FAQs

 

What is a document management process?

The document management process includes a digital workflow that takes documents, analyses their contents and sorts them into digital categories or folders for quick and efficient organization.

 

How do you create a document management system?

You can create an effective document management system by introducing good organizational habits and procedures within your company. Combine these practices with document management software to help elevate the process of digital document filing among departments.

 

What are the three types of filing classification systems?

According to Northern Michigan University, here are three types of filing systems:

  1. Subject filing classifications (alphabetical): Sort files in alphabetical order.
  2. Numerical filing classifications: Sort files by file numbers or document dates.
  3. Alphanumerical filing classifications: Sort files in alphabetical order and by numbers or dates.
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