Documents are an inherent part of any business. And by documents, this means anything from physical to electronic documents. Depending on your business size, you may have more documents than others. In this case, you’d need a more efficient document management system for better day-to-day business operations.
Document management includes everything from storage and retrieval to even filing. There are various document management concerns like how long you should keep your files and when it’s time to let go of some of them. There are also issues on how often you’re going to do file audits and how you’re going to store these documents. When you consider your current system, do you find it efficient enough? Or are there any areas on document management you know you could improve on?
To answer these questions, keep reading through this article. A quick guide on how you could implement a good, working, and efficient document management system for your business is presented below.
- Enable Good Cloud Access
If you could make good use of technology for your business, it’s best to do so. The cloud is what would’ve been the physical file storage room many years back. If you don’t need to keep a physical record of your files, then don’t. You may choose to have a cloud storage system, instead.
Whatever your chosen file storage is for your documents, consider having cloud access or ability. It makes for a more secure storage system as it’s protected by a password. Moreover, you and your team could also access the documents even if you’re not physically in your office.
- Organize Your Paperwork
This pertains to the physical files you have to keep. Even when you try to automate as many as you can, there might still be some documents you’d also have to keep physically. When this applies to your business, proper organization is key. Don’t just put all the documents in one room or file cabinet and hope you could find whatever you’re looking for whenever.
If you think your current document organization system isn’t working well for your business at present, here are some tips on how you can create a better file system:
- Make filing a habit. This means whenever you have documents now ready for filing, immediately put them in the right category so you won’t have to worry about refiling any time in the future.
- Invest in a good-quality file cabinet. This should be able to protect your files and last you for many years to come.
- Go paperless as much as you can. This means converting physical papers and scanning them into digital documents if there’s no more need for you to keep a physical copy of them. In case you’d need to attach signatures to your documents, this wouldn’t be a problem at all. You could easily do so electronically with the use of tools like jSign and similar software.
- Set Permission Settings
Not all files are meant to be opened by everyone in your office. The bigger your business will be, the more departments you’re going to have. This also means you’re going to have to install the right permission settings for restricted files.
Try to sort out the confidential documents you intend to be accessed by you or the upper management only. Then when setting up your document file management system, be sure to enable the right permission control settings for these documents.
- Follow A Uniform File-Naming System
Having a uniform file-naming system could help put all your files in order so they don’t appear messy. Moreover, it’s easier to create a good system when your file naming is the same throughout.
This would depend on your company’s practice. Generally, however, the file name should contain the type of document, followed by the content, which would enable proper arrangement by date or according to the alphabetical order of the subjects of the documents.
- Create A System To Keep The Documents Secure
Whether it be physical or electronic documents, there appears to be one requirement that stands to be uniform: a proper system to keep them secure. No matter what the size of your business is, there’s one first line of security that’s crucial—the business premises itself. Hence, you’ve got to ensure you have a proper security system in place on your business premises. This means investing in security cameras and window bars, for instance.
Apart from these, there are other ways you could keep all your documents secure. Here are some of them:
- Reduce the onset of employee theft right from the beginning by ensuring you first conduct a background and reference check on every potential hire during the recruitment process.
- Check that all file cabinets are securely locked at the end of every working day.
- Back up electronic documents regularly just in case the main source falls victim to digital theft.
- Nest Folders Within Folders
Nesting folders within folders means having a folder inside another folder and so on. This works especially well for digital documents. The more folders you’ve nested, the less cluttered your digital file storage is going to be.
This would also buy you more time and make you more efficient with time management. Because you’re able to sort and label properly through many folders, you only have to open the subfolder you know would lead you to the document you’re looking for.
- Delete Files That Are No Longer Needed
If you no longer need a certain file, why keep it? The fewer files you have, the less you’d also have to store and organize. You could instead save that precious storage space for files you need to keep.
For instance, if a certain event is over, you could delete all files related to that event three months later or so. If a client is deceased, on the other hand, you could delete all files relating to that client five years or so afterward.
The important thing is you don’t permanently delete any file right away. Give ample allowance or leeway, like a few more months or years, just to be sure they’re absolutely not going to be needed anymore.
There are so many ways on how to implement changes for your document management system to make it more effective. Take it one step at a time to apply any or all of the tips above. When you’re able to achieve a good document management system, you’d be more organized and efficient. You could also minimize losing important paperwork or prevent having important files fall easily into the wrong hands. Creating a good document management system is critical for any business, and the tips above could give you that boosted start in having one.