7 Best Document Management Practices for Businesses

Document management refers to organizing, storing, securing, and sharing all files (physical and electronic). However, in recent times, it has involved using special systems (software) that help manage electronic files. And, when it comes to working with digital documentation, security is a top priority.

Here are seven tips you can implement to keep your organization’s documents secure and organized. 

1. Centralize your documents

To ensure the security and organization of your documents, it is highly advisable to use a centralized system to manage them. A cloud-based document management system (DMS) offers centralization that enables authorized users to access, save, retrieve, edit, and share any document.

Apart from providing a centralized storage location, document management systems make it easy to implement security best practices by providing access control for documents, password management, workflow mapping, and other critical capabilities. 

They can operate independently or as components in a larger enterprise document management solution. In addition, DMS can offer significant advantages in the following areas:

1) Security

As your organization grows, so will your tools and devices. Managing access permissions and password credentials for different users across different platforms can be tricky. Thankfully,  DMS allows managers to set different levels of authorized access to protect sensitive information

DMS can also help manage passwords, making it easy to retrieve them when requested or change them when users leave the organization. By investing in DMS, you can reduce the risk of data breaches for your IT and security teams.

2) Collaboration

Be it internally or externally, providing excellent client service requires collaboration. But tracking documentation can be complicated when there is a constant stream of new data. DMS makes it possible to track a document through its lifecycle and manage the process through template creation, review, and editing.

In addition, DMS prevents documents from being lost and helps protect against incomplete and inaccurate documentation. It also has the added advantage of streamlining documentation so new members can easily join and be introduced to the workflow.

3)  Compliance

In addition to tracking client work, DMS helps you track financial and personnel information you may need for compliance purposes. Aside from standardizing compliance documentation, keeping track of document-sharing practices can also help you demonstrate corporate compliance.

2. Create folders in a logical hierarchy

Creating folders in a systematic hierarchy helps keep the documents organized and aids in easy and quick retrieval of the documents. Make sure you start from the master/root folder > client folders > folders for each client’s business section (accounting, tax, business expenses, etc.). If necessary, create subfolders for each section of the client's business. For example, in their "Taxes" folder, you can create a subfolder per year.

3. Be specific with your documents

When you name a file, make it descriptive and specific. If possible, use the same name, date, and structure. The purpose of giving files specific names is to enable you to scan file names quickly, so you don't have to open one file at a time to see if that's what you need.

If you're sharing a file, add extra details to make sure anyone accessing the file knows what they're opening. For example: “JohnDoe_invoice001_10-21_overdue.” Therefore, when someone views this file, they will know the customer name, invoice number, when it was created, and when it is due.

4. Manage document versions

When a document has to be circulated between multiple users, it can be challenging to track who made the edits and when. Sharing multiple versions of a sensitive document can cause confusion and increase the risk of the document being tampered with.

Therefore, instead of circulating documents via email or private messages, use version control with DMS and easily view who accessed the document and made changes. It also allows you to revert to a previous version if a user accidentally deleted important information or made unwanted changes.

5. Audit your documents regularly

Your documents contain sensitive information relating to your customers, employees, and business. That is why you need to audit your records regularly to see if there are some breaches or unauthorized changes. Performing regular audits of your procedures and protocols will be so much easier with the help of ScaleOcean DMS, as it comes with an audit trail feature

6. Monitor document access permissions

Your documents may be viewed, shared, and modified by multiple employees throughout the day. So it is important to have strict policies and procedures governing user access to sensitive information. Make sure you monitor who has access to each document and that you have up-to-date mechanisms to authenticate each user.

7.  Standardize client documentation 

As your organization scales, you will deal with new clients and employees. That means more issues are likely to occur. However, by keeping a clear template on how to document each issue, you will be able to easily track process changes as your organization grows. This allows new technicians to jump right in and help ensure a smooth troubleshooting process for your clients.

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