5 Reasons to Switch to a Digital Workflow
How long does it take for paperwork to move around your office? Every department in your business has its own unique process for handling documents, and they need to ensure that everything is dealt with correctly and as quickly as possible.
Print Logic, digital workflow and print management leaders in the North West and Birmingham, specialise in helping customers speed up their workflows, making them more secure, robust and productive. By digitally converting documents all of these objectives can be accomplished, and these are the main reasons why you should consider upgrading to a digital workflow.
All documents you work on are printed off and worked on by hand
In the majority of businesses across the UK, paperwork is dealt with by hand and is physically moved across various people’s desks throughout the course of its workflow. During this time the document can be seen be any passerby, and confidential information is therefore exposed.
Before a document has reached the end of its workflow, it’s usually up to the individual person working on it to know how they’ve organised it onto their in-tray. With this it’s difficult for anyone else to know exactly where any document is until it’s reached the last step in the process. With digital automation there is a constant state of clarity regarding the stage at which a document is in any workflow, so phrases like “I think it’s still with Jane” won’t be an issue.
As well as this, any printed documents will either need to be stored or destroyed once they are finished with – digitally converting them before they’ve been printed off will save on printing, storage and wastage costs.
Paperwork takes days to be fully processed
Most processes in an accounts team take a certain amount of time, as due to the sensitive nature of every document the proper attention must be given.
In a typical accounts process, documents will pass through several people’s desks, all the information on every document is seen by everyone, and details need to be carefully checked to ensure that they are given to the correct person.
What normally happens is that files are completed in batches – with one stack of papers being completed before the next. With digital workflow automation, documents are worked on individually, so that they can be started and completed in moments before being moved onto the next person immediately.
If a key member of staff who is critical to a documents progression through a workflow is absent, work can get held up, but with automation substitution rules can be put in place to automatically redirect documents to alternative users in the even that someone is absent, saving even more time.
Looking up old documents can take longer than 1 minute
Physically sifting through dusty file cabinets can be a very time-consuming task. Documents can often get misplaced or damaged, and if the cabinet is unlocked everything in there is visible by anyone who chooses to go looking.
Scanning in files to a folder structure is a more secure solution, but there are certain drawbacks. If the process isn’t automated, it relies on human intervention to choose the names of files and their location. Often people in an organization will all have their own way of naming and storing a file, and what might seem obvious to one person will seem confusing to another.
To illustrate – Jane, Accounts Manager, will save an invoice as the customer’s name and the date, whereas John, Accounts Assistant, will save the same file as the invoice number. When Jill, the MD, comes to search for a file later, she may have trouble finding it.
By automating the digital conversion and storing of documents, you can ensure that files are saved in the same manner every time.
Key words such as invoice number, date or the company name can be automatically picked and used to archive the document, which can be used to search for them later on. When Jill, John or Jane come to search for their invoice – they can type in one of several possible key phrases to find and lookup the correct document in seconds, without leaving their desk.
Details on paperwork need to be manually entered into your CRM system
What happens at the end of the accounts process when a document needs to be entered into a CRM system such as Sage or Xero? Quite often, a member of the accounts team will need to manually enter in the information found on the document in by hand.
Whilst this is accepted as the ‘norm’, there are a few drawbacks with this method. Human error can occur, and information can be mis-entered. The person could get called away from their desk, leaving delicate financial information exposed for the world to see. The person entering the information can of course be interrupted with phone calls or other tasks which require urgent attention, all of which will delay the inputting process further.
By having the documents already in a digital workflow, you can have them automatically entered into your CRM when they reach a certain stage in the process. For example, once an invoice has been approved, the user needs to click the ‘approved’ button on their system. This will mark the invoice as approved, store it securely, and enter all of the required details into the CRM in less than 5 seconds. This resolves any human error, alleviates any security concerns and allows the accounts team to be more productive, working through more documents daily.
All documents are stored in insecure places – i.e. an unlocked file cabinet
Virtually every document which passes through an accounts team contains confidential information which usually always shows sensitive financial information. Invoices, purchase orders and reports all need to be stored securely in order to be compliant with data protection regulations such as GDPR.
For many businesses, something like a file cabinet, store room or even storage provided by a third party are often the best options for storage, however with each of these there is a concern that documents can be seen by unauthorized parties.
To overcome this, digitally storing them (automatically) to a cloud or local based location. Doing this guarantees that all documents are stored forever, can be looked up quickly and easily, and through the use of permission settings, seen only by those who are authorized to do so.
To comply with GDPR, all information required for each document is also logged permanently, so data controllers can look at all the necessary information such as the source or date received in the event of an audit, for instance.