Record keeping is an essential part of running any business. In fact, a highly organized record keeping system can help your organization operate more efficiently, eliminate filing errors, meet your retention requirements, and so much more.
However, properly managing your records is an expensive, frustrating, and often time-consuming process that siphons resources away from other important areas of your company.
Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to automate the most tedious and repetitive record keeping processes, helping you to reclaim some of those resources without sacrificing the quality of your records.
This article will demonstrate the benefits of automating your record keeping system, help you understand why automation is important, and show you how you can start automating your record keeping processes.
What is automated record keeping?
Automated record keeping is a method of records management in which computer software is used to automate specific and predictable record keeping tasks, including the identification, classification, retention, and disposal of records.
The main purpose of an automated record keeping system is to alleviate employees from mundane manual filing processes while eliminating common human errors associated with records management.
What are the benefits of automated record keeping?
Most businesses are accustomed to dealing with a constant and often overwhelming influx of information.
Physical documents, email communications, inbound mail, and electronic files converge into a tidal wave of critical data that must be managed and stored.
Keeping all of these records organized and up to date can take the focus away from the things that are really important, like providing services to your clients and growing your business.
To make matters worse, regulatory requirements are increasingly complex and difficult to navigate, leaving businesses vulnerable to compliance issues and the associated penalties.
Thankfully, computer software and OCR technology have given businesses the ability to automate many processes, making it easier to manage and organize large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.
Below are just a few advantages of automating your record keeping processes.
Simplify Regulatory Compliance
Many of these laws require businesses to retain documents of a specific type for a predetermined period of time, anywhere from a few months to a few years.
Meeting these complicated requirements often means that businesses must choose between dedicating a ton of resources to document management tasks, or simply hanging on to everything forever.
However, keeping documents too long can be just as dangerous for your business as not keeping them long enough.
Automation is a simple solution that ensures documents are kept for as long as required and not a minute more, without any manual intervention. The tracking and destruction of documents is completely handled by software,ensuring that your company stays compliant at all times.
Reduce Filing Errors
It can be difficult to get employees to consistently follow records management procedures and best practices, especially when the rules are constantly evolving.
The fact is, human error is inevitable. Even the best employee makes mistakes, and the consequences of such an event can be dire for your business.
Software automation is a fool proof alternative to manual records management, greatly reducing or even eliminating the possibility of human error and the consequences of such an event.
Automated record retention helps companies manage the demands of data regulations without ever needing to worry about a record slipping between the cracks. Unnecessary records can be programmatically destroyed when they are no longer needed and not a minute sooner, ensuring that retention requirements are met 100% of the time.
Save Time and Money
Automating your record keeping system reduces the amount of time and money your business must dedicate toward managing records.
Training employees and monitoring their habits can be time consuming and expensive. And when an employee leaves, they take that training with them, forcing you to start that process all over again.
Automating simple records management tasks takes that responsibility off of the shoulders of your employees and eliminates the need for expensive training programs.
Plus, you can reduce the chance of incurring fines or fees from noncompliance related to employee mistakes.
Streamline Your Processes
In any competitive market, businesses who optimize their processes gain a strategic advantage over their competitors.
By automating your record management processes, you can greatly reduce turnaround times and improve the quality of services provided to your customers.
This presents a clear advantage over competitors who still rely on manual process or paper documentation.
Eliminate Tedious Paperwork
Most records management tasks are mundane and repetitive. And most employees would rather not be bothered with such mind-numbing work.
Automation eliminates some of the most common filing tasks, which can help reduce your employees fatigue and lead to better business outcomes and higher employee morale.
For example, many businesses use AP automation to eliminate many of the manual processes involved with managing and approving invoices, freeing up employee time for more important tasks.
What problems does automated record keeping solve?
There are many problems that can be easily solved by automating your records keeping system. A few examples include:
- Reduce the amount of time employees have to spend on mundane record keeping related tasks, freeing up time for more important matters
- Prevent records with retention requirements from being destroyed too early, or kept longer than they are needed.
- Reclaim physical space required to store your documents by instead storing them digitally.
- Eliminate demotivating paper-pushing tasks which can negatively affect employee morale
- Cutting back on manual filing processes means less handling of sensitive records, which improves security and makes it easier to protect confidential data.
- Avoid costly fines or failed audits due to non-compliant records management practices.
- Automatically back up important records to protect information in the event of a disaster.
How do you automate your record keeping processes?
Now that you have a solid understanding of the benefits of automation, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: How do you move away from manual / paper record keeping processes to an automated system without a massive interruption to your business operations?
First of all, it’s important to understand that in order to take full advantage of an automated records system, you need to digitize your existing paper records.
The most common approach businesses take when digitizing large volumes of paper records is to enlist the help of a document scanning company like SecureScan.
Digitizing your records has a number of advantages in addition to the ability to automate. Digital files can be accessed by multiple users at once, which is especially useful if you have a large staff or multiple locations. They are also more secure than paper records because they are less likely to be lost or damaged from physical elements such as water or fire.
Digitized records can also be easily backed up and stored off-site in case of emergencies like natural disasters or data breaches that could potentially damage your business’s hard drives.
Once your documents have been digitized, its time to deploy software for automation. With proper planning, businesses can avoid some of the most commonly encountered issues when implementing automated record keeping systems.
- Explain to each affected employee how automation will change his or her position for the better. This is an incredibly important aspect of migrating your record keeping system, as your employees will play an integral role in maintaining it.
- Set target dates for key phases of the implementation and follow the schedule closely. This makes it easy to adjust your timings should any phase of the process take longer than expected,
- Prepare and prioritize the records that need to be digitized first. There are two main methodologies for this, one is to scan your back-file first, saving the most used records for the end. The other is to digitize your current records first, which allows you to take advantage of your digital files sooner.
- Train every employee who will be using the new system, and make plans about how you will handle newly generated records.
This doesn’t cover everything involved in automating your business, but serves as a reference point for the venture of automation itself.
What comes next?
If you’re ready to take the next step towards automating your record keeping system, SecureScan can help. We provide ultra secure document scanning services that can help you convert your paper records into an archive of highly organized PDF or TIFF files ready for automation. Get a free scanning quote or contact us for more information.