Was it in this folder? Is this the final version that was approved? How long am I supposed to keep this file? Do you ever find yourself asking these questions? Almost everyone has at some point. These questions can cause confusion, rework, delays, inaccuracies and other inefficiencies. Document storage, version control and retention are all crucial parts of every business and organization. A document management strategy and policy is the backbone to addressing these concerns.
There is a high level of risk associated with document storage, version control and retention. Legal repercussions for not having appropriate documentation for business transactions, making business decisions based on inaccurate data from the wrong version of a report, fraudulent data existing because of inappropriate access to certain files, loss of financial data due to lack of a retention plan, not having sufficient documentation for an audit; these are all risks that are a result of not having an established document management strategy and policy.
Document storage and organization can be tough to manage. Everyone has their own style and method of organization. Establishing a central file storage location, file hierarchy and a file naming convention are all ways to help guide and streamline this process. Version control can become an issue, especially when more than one person is working on one file. Using software that allows only one user at a time to edit the document and that retains version details can be a good solution. Who has access to files is a vital concern, especially when it relates to financial data or sensitive personal information. Access to files should be restricted to only those users who need access to perform their job functions. This can be done by restricting access to certain folders where like files are stored or through software that allows this type of access control to be configured. Document retention for financial, tax and legal purposes as well as for business management also must be addressed. The length of time that each document will be retained as well as when, how and where these files will be backed up should all be established.
Does your organization struggle with these common issues? Schneider Downs is able to evaluate your organization’s current document management strategy and processes for exposures and assist with improving the processes for better risk management and efficiencies. Please contact Jim Yard if you would like to discuss your organization’s document management strategy.
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