When I think of eliminating paper and improving office procedures, my mind gravitates toward those “paper intensive” areas like Accounts Payable, Contracts Management and Human Capital Management… but should I be thinking about “the book of original entry”? YES! Employing journal entry scanning (or imaging) and approval routing will have a significant impact on your process and set you up for “easy street” in the future.
Ok, so there may be a legitimate reason that I have to handle physical documents or print something out, but please, let’s not think of a reason to store these pieces of paper within a file cabinet… ever! Document imaging, including OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology, is incredibly accurate and produces beautiful, high-resolution images, Meanwhile, cloud storage is becoming increasingly inexpensive and ubiquitous –it still amazes me that Yahoo email gives me a terabyte of free storage and (14 years later) says that I still have space for an additional 54 million emails, are you kidding me?
Let’s take a look at a few of the advantages of employing a document management strategy, including imaging and workflow, within the General Ledger Journal Entry process:
Only Handle Paper Once
Scan your physical documents, retain them for the specified period of time, then shred, recycle, and repeat. Eliminate the file cabinets & paper storage services, free up the office space and capture the hard cost savings immediately.
Digitally Route Journals for Approval, Automatically
Workflow approval routing applications are now extremely flexible, powerful and user-friendly. Setup multi-tiered routes that automatically include the right individual(s) for review and approval… or rejection or comment. Receive immediate notifications, escalate, utilize delegates and create visibility with a detailed audit trail. Decentralize the GL JE function, but retain the proper controls; date/time/user stamping is a powerful thing!
Achieve Real Document Security & Automated Retention
Paper documents are never secure and forever susceptible to natural disaster or unauthorized access. ECM repositories are designed to enforce security policies even if accessed directly from the accounting system, e.g., GL JE inquiry screen. Plus, redaction may be employed to suppress sensitive information from unauthorized eyes.
See Document Images from the General Ledger
One of the most critical attributes of any imaging and workflow solution must be the ability to integrate with your accounting / ERP system. If you don’t see the ability within a prospective system to click a link from within your GL module to view the supporting documents that have been scanned or uploaded during workflow, keep shopping!
Be Prepared for an Audit
Do you want your audit to last a few days or a few weeks? Searching for supporting documentation from within the repository should be flexible, quick and easy. Also, having links that tie documents directly to JE transactions from within the General Ledger, will save a tremendous amount of time otherwise spent searching a disparate database or file cabinets. In addition, the approval route audit trail contains valuable “who/what/where/when” data.
So keep in mind that imaging and workflow automation may be leveraged outside of the areas we typically think, and include hard cost savings that create a quick ROI. Make sure your organization is taking advantage of document imaging/OCR and cheap storage space! When combined with an integrated ECM repository and flexible workflow tool, efficiencies will be realized… and you’ll never regret sponsoring that project!
Ascend Software offers a comprehensive financial automation suite that’s easy to implement, and integrates with most leading ERP systems. Contact us today and discover how the SmartTouch Solution suite can help your organization reduce costs and create efficiencies through document imaging and workflow automation.