Document Management Best Practices for Small Businesses

Any business big or small generates a lot of documents on a regular basis that must be organized & stored either for internal business operations, client details, or to comply with local laws and regulations. That is the reason managing business documents efficiently is one of the vital business processes to keep business data and information safe as well as to declutter the office space. Effective document management is all about how your company creates, stores manages and retains its files and documents. Understanding how to properly manage business documents is very much important to keep business files and data safe, accessible, and compliant to the individual needs of the business.

Whether you are running your business with hundreds of employees or a startup with a few workers, here we have listed some proven document management best practices that can amazingly improve your document management and retrieval process.

Lay Down the Standards Earlier if Any

In order to establish a foolproof document organizational structure for your business, you should lay down the standards if any. For example, if you have particular templates for your business documents, make sure they are easily accessible to all your employees, clients, and stockholders. Also educate your employees on document management procedures they need to follow for reviewing, sharing, and storing documents.

Planning document Creation and Retention

There is a big list of business documents including proposals, agreements, invoices, and receipts, etc. that every business needs to create, store and manage. Along with managing existing documents, you may also need to create new documents. This is where following the stated standards and rules comes into play and helps you create documents professionally. You can also use predesigned WordPDFTemplates to make the content creating process a lot easier and more professional as well.

After creating a business document(s), you may need to send it to your client or stakeholder. But, before you hit the ‘send’ button, you should figure out the sensitivity score of the document. Every document you share either internally or externally should have security parameters to keep the business details and information secret and protected from third parties. Once created, approved, and signed, you must have a good system to store your documents to make document retrieval faster and easier.

Filing Copies Manually

Printing important documents and filing them manually in the ring binders and filing cabinets is common in small businesses. In this way, they store their paper files and documents for later retrieval. If you are also filing business documents manually, you should have individual file cabinets for different files like accounting, investment, and customers, etc. It makes document revival faster and easier when it comes to have an audit.

Digitize Documents with a Document Management System

Digitizing your business documents is the best way to manage, store and access business documents better than ever before. It is all about scanning your documents or importing an existing record into a digital file management system. Investing in a digital document management system saves a lot of time and effort when managing business documents and creating a digital archive according to your business needs. Such systems are developed to scan, manage and store documents on virtual servers so they can easily be accessed in real-time without spending a lot of time and energy. You may need to consider several things like user-friendliness, mobile access, and easy integration when it comes to choosing a document management system solution for your business.

Manage Email Attachments

According to experts, employees send and receive at least 15 emails (internal and external) a day that comes with attachments. This is where having a clear email attachments management strategy comes into play and allows employees to download, manage and store files conveniently. Educate your employees on how to download and manage email attachments and ask them to avoid sending files via emails if there is another reliable method available for file sharing. Most document management system solutions come with a quick file sharing feature that can help you prevent dealing with a lot of email attachments and make file sharing convenient than ever before.

Document Security

Business documents contain confidential business and customer details. As more and more businesses are investing in advanced technologies, the amount of confidential business data and numbers continues to grow. As a result, there might be huge business data and information that must be kept secret and protected. This is the reason; document security should be one of your major concerns when managing business files and documents. A single data breach incident can cause a business million dollars loss. That’s why, try to use basic document security patterns like firewalls, SSL certificates, and custom access to documents, etc. A digital document management system can also offer additional protection and security when sending and receiving documents both internally and externally. You can also grant role-based access to employees and workers by using your digital file management system. As a result, employees will have access to business documents that are required to perform their duties excellently.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Documents

Documents and files can pile up as a business grows. Since it is very important to properly manage business documents, getting rid of unnecessary files contributes towards keeping things organized. If you use a digital document management system, deleting old files that are no longer needed will also help you free up more space for important documents. Take a few minutes at the end of the day to remove useless digital files. In addition, if you have piles of physical papers, it’s in your best interest to contact a records management company that can help you with offline record storage or paper shredding services that will ensure your business operations run smoothly.

To manage your business data and documents effectually, you should consider above mentioned best practices to keep your business files and documents organized. It will not only help you reduce costs and save time, but will also improve the overall operational efficiency of your business. Your employees can have quick and easier access to required files and documents even without spending time going through all the files stored in the business database.