In June 2013, Accounting Today‘s Dave McClure published an article discussing the growing importance of document management systems. The piece, titled “Software Survey: Document Management Moves to the Forefront,” focused mainly on how the growth in electronic document management was impacting accounting firms. However, many of the broader points of the article can be applied to enterprise content management and document management software as a whole.
In his article, McClure traced the beginning of electronic document management back to 1975, when a piece in BusinessWeek first discussed the idea of a “paperless office.” Back then—and for many years after—the goal of document management software was to provide a digital means for enterprises to store their files. But over the years DMS has come to be about a lot more than just storage—indeed, today’s document management software systems are just as important for their security features, collaborative workflow capabilities, client communication, and file-sharing possibilities, and the way in which they allow someone from your enterprise to access files anytime, from anywhere.
File Accessibility and the Importance of Mobile and Cloud Capability
File accessibility is a huge point of focus in McClure’s article. With desktop and cloud-based DMS programs available, easy-to-use web-based interfaces, and mobile apps that allow for DMS access, files are more readily accessible today than at any prior point in history. The possibility for remote mobile or cloud-based access aids in workflow, collaboration, and organization efficiency, because it saves users the hassle of having to email or print out documents to share them with a colleague or co-worker. The files are just there, accessible on the cloud and easy to reach and edit at any time.
In fact, file accessibility is the crux of virtually all of the factors that McClure discusses as the “key elements” of modern DMS.
For instance, having a cloud-based document storage option that can be easily managed with a web-based app is important because it speaks to the easy usability of DMS. Collaboration tools, which give team members new ways to approach projects and take them from initiation through completion, are only possible because of the flexible file accessibility that DMS provides. Mobile computing tools—which not only allow file viewing, but also full editing and workflow capabilities—are key because they expand document access to smartphones and tablets. And tools that allow easy communication with and management of clients—including secure client portals for sharing contracts and project documents, plus e-signature tools to aid with quick document verification—take the importance of file accessibility outside of your organization and expand the benefits to your customers.
The Importance of DMS Security
Of course, the idea of file accessibility—while a huge boon for the efficiency of most organizations—is also a frightening and uncomfortable concept for some businesses. McClure’s article also addresses how some organizations remain hesitant to adopt the “paperless office” approach and make the move to DMS. The fears of documents being lost or compromised—particularly in the cloud—are especially pressing for accounting firms, which research shows will go out of business quickly if they lose their data.
As a result of the reservations that some businesses have about going paperless, it is also of pivotal importance that electronic document management or enterprise content management systems are safeguarded by the very best in security. Across-the-board encryption; security for files in transmission, in storage, and in retrieval; and redundant file storage are all necessary features for protecting both company files and customer or client data. In addition, McClure’s article highlights the need for “access controls, purging of obsolete files, and version controls.”
How eFileCabinet Fits the Bill as the Ideal DMS
If McClure’s article highlights all of the features that would make up the “ideal DMS”—whether for accounting firms or any other type of organization—then eFileCabinet is the document management software that fits the bill.
Indeed, virtually every feature that McClure or the people he surveyed highlighted as a “must-have” for DMS are included in eFileCabinet.
For instance, in regards to file accessibility:
- eFileCabinet is available in both desktop and cloud-based versions and comes with a mobile app to increase the opportunities for remote access.
- The system is designed to help businesses set up specific workflows and organizational structures that suit their specific needs.
- Collaboration tools allow company teams to review, edit, and approve files remotely and efficiently, reducing organizational reliance on email.
- Client portal technology provides a secure means to send private or sensitive documents to clients or customers—be they on the other side of the country or the other side of the world—and even includes e-signature capability.
In regards to file security, eFileCabinet offers:
- 256-bit AES encryption on all files
- Industry-standard encryption on files, both while they are in transit (being transmitted from your computer to the cloud, or from your cloud system to a client) and when they are at rest
- Redundant file storage across multiple servers, to ensure your files are never lost—even in the extremely unlikely event that one of our servers loses power or is damaged
- User-based access controls, to ensure that only those who need access to a file are given permission to access that file on the DMS
- Audit trail features to track who accesses a file, when they access it, and what changes they make. These features also apply to file versioning, which makes it possible to track the evolution of a document and recover and revert to previous versions if necessary
- File retention automation, to automatically purge or archive out-of-date files
These features only just scratch the surface of what eFileCabinet can do for your company’s electronic document management system. Visit our website and try out our free demo today to learn more about our product and all of its various features.