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Document Workflow Mastery: Expert Tips

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Managing documents takes more time than most small and medium-sized businesses realize. The average small business stores 100 paper documents every day, which takes three to five minutes per document. In a small business with 10 employees, an average of 20 documents are retrieved per day, requiring an additional five minutes per document. Each employee also spends an average of 30 minutes per day manually preparing and routing documents.

This time spent on manual document management can be up to 360 hours per month. By optimizing document management workflows, you can save 360 working hours that you can use better for your core tasks. Here we give you proven tips and best practices for using document management workflow software to achieve maximum efficiency.

Centralize your document storage for version control

An effective document management workflow uses a central document storage system. This system is the linchpin of your workflow and ensures that everyone in your company works with the same version of documents. You control the number of versions circulating in the office, preventing random copies on employees' desks, missing files during the approval process, and unauthorized changes that could be made to digital files emailed from person to person.

All employees work together from one storage system, so there are no misunderstandings about the "latest" version of the information, as there is only one file that is always up to date in real time. You finally get control of the data, making collaboration a safe bet and streamlining group projects to ensure everyone involved is literally working on the same page.

If you're concerned about who sees what, you can introduce permission or role-based authorization so that only those involved in the document or project have access. This also helps maintain accountability across the organization.

Improve collaboration with automation

Automation increases productivity by creating an efficient workflow and collaboration process. Collaborating teams on manual tasks and sharing paper documents and files not only wastes time, but also increases the risk of errors or missteps in your process. Automation streamlines document management and workflow and allows you to do the following

  • Create automated approval flows so nothing moves forward without the appropriate approval
  • Using task triggers that automate next steps - a task triggers a series of steps that move from person to person through your workflow, step by step
  • Enable notifications when actions are required so all team members know when an action is complete and are now in the loop.
  • Tag team members who are not normally involved in specific processes for the rare occasions when they need to take action to move the workflow forward
  • Using real-time status reports that inform everyone involved about the status of projects and remind them if their tasks are delaying the process
  • Automate recurring activities such as approving invoices, reconciling accounts receivable, approving payroll, releasing weekly reports, etc.
  • Customize tasks specific to your business activities, such as: sending order confirmations, confirming receipt of payment, releasing it for certain external parties, etc.

Automation ensures the scalability and flexibility of your business with streamlined processes that improve the workflow of your document management system and promote collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.

Use advanced search with improved indexing

We've already told you how much time your team is potentially wasting manually searching and managing documents. Imagine how easy it would be if you could search for documents using keywords instead. A document management workflow system allows you to integrate indexing into your document storage system. Data capture technology and scanning digitizes paper documents and microfilm/fiche and stores all information in the same, easily accessible format.

You can then use indexing to categorize the data based on specific criteria, metadata, and keywords to create advanced search capabilities. The search function optimizes the document workflow and shortens search times from minutes to seconds. Your team can apply filters or keywords to search documents and retrieve information instantly.

You also no longer have to worry about lost or damaged documents. Even though it is a digital filing system, you don't even have to worry about accidental deletion. We all know this can happen, whether it's a malicious cat's paw on a home office keyboard or clicking on the wrong document during a paperwork clear-out. Document recovery features ensure you always have a backup to instantly find deleted or archived documents.

Apply automation based on workflow design

The workflow design maps the sequential tasks involved in your processes. Many of these tasks are performed manually. Using workflow automation in document management, you can streamline workflows so your team can move effortlessly from task to task.

Stay legally compliant

Automate record retention and create audit trails to improve regulatory compliance for document management, including:

  • Document retention: With document management and workflow automation, you can set criteria for document retention so that the appropriate person is informed when the document retention period has expired. You can also trigger automatic file deletion protocols to avoid deleting a file too soon.
  • Audit trails: Create audit trails for documents to demonstrate compliance with industry regulations. Permission-based access allows you, for example, B. Prove who accessed files for documents required by data protection regulations. Additionally, you can quickly respond to reviewer requests with records that show document captures, versions, and comments, providing complete transparency to reviewers.
  • Version Control: As previously mentioned, maintain version control to ensure your records are always up to date - an important detail for healthcare, human resources, education, CAS, and finance records.
  • Corporate Policy Compliance: A document management system produces reports that confirm compliance with a company's standard operating procedures to improve accountability across the organization.

As you can see, a document management system is enough to optimize the workflow in your company. Using these best practices, you can maximize the value of your document management system and reap the benefits of efficiency, productivity, and cost savings.

Incorporating efficient document management practices can revolutionize your workflow, saving time and enhancing productivity. With IceHrm, streamline your processes seamlessly.

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