The advent of digital document management itself hasn’t prevented the information apocalypse, which is now upon us. However, provided we seek to prevent it, we have the solutions to help us regain control of imaging, document routing, and compliance issues that have plagued the 21st century.
But this begs an important question: If we’re unaware of a problem, how pressing can that problem really be?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is very pressing.
Although we have a tendency as workers to declare mere facts as problems, the lack of control small businesses and organizations have over their information is cause for grave concern. Not just at the level of business productivity, but economic stability and progress for businesses.
A total of 90% of the world’s data has been generated within the past 2 years and through DMS, mid-to small-sized organizations can traverse the challenges that have already unfolded in the information epoch revealed by this statistic—one where structure, simplicity, and data-driven insight are requisite for organizational efficiency, productivity, compliance, and ultimately profitability.
Many believe a cloud storage solution is the same as a digital document management solution, but this couldn’t be further from the case. Storage is no longer the crowning achievement of technology for businesses.
Collaboration is, and the property management industry, among others with workers who have other jobs, is discovering this more quickly than expected.
We Needn’t Look Further than The Accounting Industry to See
Accounting, much like the legal profession, is a field in which employees thrive off earning more billable hours.
Any means by which billable hours are made more obtainable is of benefit to accountants, a digital document management provides the efficiency, organization, and digitization to accomplish these means.
Although digital document management has already saturated the accounting market, many larger firms are already looking to utilize solutions with even greater legal bandwidth, including digital document management solutions.
One accounting firm experienced how digital document management enabled the retention of critical information during a natural disaster:
In February of 2006, Fosselman and Associates of Anchorage, Alaska, suffered a total building loss due to fire. Mere weeks away from tax deadlines, the building was conflagrated.
Because they had already made the choice to be a paperless office through eFileCabinet’s digital document management solution, all essential business files had been backed up, stored, and protected off-site—making them retrievable. Although data backup is paramount in the accounting industry, the services sector is yet to conflate collaboration and adequate data backup among its employees.
They were able to open the following day by noon in a rented building with ten years of tax returns and critical documents intact and on-hand. Because they were prepared before this disaster struck, they actually gained clients through a situation that could have potentially shut them down forever.
Digital Document Management Compliance in An Age of Data Breach
The Securities and Exchange Commission, above all else, is a law enforcement agency; one which, as it pertains to the DMS user, is most concerned with trading data, securities laws and accounting books.
Although they are frequently viewed as a party-stopping watchdog within the world of financial securities, they have served as an impetus for organizations in convincing them to use technologies that will not just assist them with compliance, but internal processes and workflow procedures, too. The result? A better information economy.
The SEC’s one caveat to going paperless is ensuring information is not compromised or omitted. Additionally, going paperless makes SEC audits easier and quicker than the typical 3 to 4-month process.
There are 3 kinds of logins to the eFileCabinet digital document management solution: Administrator, Regular User, and Guest Auditor. With the Guest Auditor access, an external auditor logs in and has all the information they need to trace accessible and easily viewed. These kinds of user situations permit great functionality for an auditor, and expedite the auditing process in general.
Given the SEC’s plan to hire over 200 more staff members to conduct a greater number of audits in 2016 more US organizations are likely to be audited than ever, and paperless DMS solutions will not only expedite auditors’ processes, it will ensure security of information on behalf of the organization.
The IRS, being the governing body responsible for collecting taxes and administrating The Internal Revenue Code, has a range of information requiring paperless solutions for organizations on its website. This proves that not only is the IRS considering its own well-being and operations, it’s also considering the expediency of consumers and businesses alike.
In order for organizations to adapt to technologies ensuring the accuracy and retention of information, The Internal Revenue Service provides a modernized e-File Program, which strives to help the many soon-to-be paperless organizations compliantly navigate the transition to digital document management solutions.
IRS Section 6107 (b) notes that records must be kept 3 – 5 years after the return period. IRS Rev. Proc. 97-22 also notes that all types of tax documents may be electronic records, as long as they are printable and protected at all times.
Digital Document Management from the DoD’s Perspective
Many records management professionals from the private and commercial sector are unaware that the Department of Defense (DoD) has legally pertinent information for organizations.
This government entity has suggested (non-compulsory) standards for information management and security that extend beyond the applications of national security. In fact, the 5015.02 Standard takes a holistic approach to records management, making it a relevant set of guidelines for any organization.
After re-engineering its internal records management processes in 1993, the DoD published “Baseline Requirements and Elements for Records Management Application Software” in 1995, and ever since, the publication has been updated annually to specify addendums to its standards. In 2015, the publication specifies design criteria for shared office automation systems in tandem with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).
More specifically, in its 5015.02 Standard, The United States Department of Defense offers in-depth information on electronic filing and record keeping—its guidelines in consideration of all industries and upholding the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) standards. One can also receive certification for achieving this standard within an organization.