Properly implemented document management software (DMS) can provide firms and companies with substantial cost savings over paper files and file cabinets. DMS can also aid in productivity improvements and tighter control over data. Proper implementation can make all the difference in how well your staff adopts and utilizes the system. In this August 5, 2015, webinar from Wolters Kluwer, sponsored by Accounting Today and taught by Cristina Dudley and Damon Russel, you will benefit from the following information provided:
- Implementation tips
- Tips for classifying files in ways that will maximize success
- Steps for creating or modifying your firm’s file retention policy
- Suggestions for file naming and search techniques to help you easily find files
Change is difficult even if the change will offer greater workflow, time savings, and greater peace of mind. The best way to ensure the greatest success in changing your software and filing procedures is set forth in the first part of the webinar. These steps include:
- Clearly defined scope: Give a well-defined purpose, scope of use, and possible limitations.
- Implementation timing: All areas should be implemented at the same time.
- Training: Staff should receive proper training.
- Defined workflow: Don’t just recreate your inefficient processes; make sure you define workflow processes at the onset.
- PPC champion team: The PPC team leads the implementation.
- Executive champions: If all leadership is on-board and supportive, the implementation will be better received.
File Classification Guidelines
When working with document management software (DMS), many wonder the best practice when it comes to file classification. In the webinar, the following tips are presented for classifying files:
- Less is more: It is wise to have broader, higher-level classes where you can then add more specific subclasses. For example, in the “Tax” class you can add multiple sub-classes such as “Correspondence”, “Notices”, “E-Filing Authorizations”, and more.
- Keep it simple: Use names that are intuitive that your staff can easily remember, and use short but meaningful category names.
Additionally, when naming your files, keep in mind that it is wise to standardize your file naming conventions throughout the company; be descriptive without being too lengthy, avoid using abbreviations, and use automatic file naming if it is supported by your chosen DMS system.
Before you decide what type of DMS to use, go over your current document retention policy and see what it entails, decide if you need to do any updates, and then you can see if the DMS you are looking to purchase can support your policies.
Some things to keep in mind when working with file retention include the following:
- Follow all firm-specific rules and regulations. If you are under FINRA guidelines, make sure you know and understand all of the associated rules.
- To avoid the risk of exposure, keep files for the least amount of possible time.
- Mark files as “permanent” if the files should not be flagged for defined retention workflow.
- Know what happens when a file expires.
- Understand and be aware of legal holds.
Lastly, it is imperative that you communicate and educate all of your staff as to the policies of file retention to ensure company-wide best practice.
Data Management Systems
Historically, there have been multiple options for data management. Many companies will focus on one specific type, such as Data Management Systems, Workpaper Management, or Knowledge Management. The DMS management companies of today are working to combine all of these moving parts into one all-inclusive system.
It is wise to look for DMS that will incorporate all of the following:
- Client-specific content
- Project-specific content
- Company-specific content
- All of the above done within a safe and highly-secure environment
By having all of the above within one DMS system, you can be sure that all moving parts of your company are properly attended to and utilized. Additionally, you will be able to fulfill the ease of use, scalability, security, and efficiency standards you are looking for in DMS.
eFileCabinet DMS Solutions
As your firm ventures into the territory of document management, let eFileCabinet help you achieve the whole company, client, and project management you are looking for. We pride ourselves on our state-of-the-art security to compliment our user-friendly and intuitive DMS.
Some highlights of our eFileCabinet products include the following:
- Intuitive workflow processes
- Drag-and-drop file uploading
- Scanning paper files to e-files
- Find files within seconds
- Securely share files via email or SecureDrawer
- Password-protected, large files
- FINRA, HIPAA, and SEC compliant
Take a minute and fill out the form, and we will contact you to do a personalized demonstration on how eFileCabinet’s DMS can help your firm become more productive, increase security, and move into the digital world with ease.