No matter what type of business you’re in, it’s almost certain that legislation and regulation has an affect on you in some way. Therefore, depending on the industry, compliance could be as simple as passing an inspection. But for others, compliance is an ongoing and tedious process which requires significant planning and resources. But, whatever the industry, it’s certain that proving your business’s compliance with regulation will involve some type of document.
Taking the necessary steps to meet your legal obligations as a business might seem simple. However, the process, in reality, can be more confusing and difficult than expected. Why? It can be due to the constant evolving nature of regulation by some industries. As well as the difficulty to understand exactly what compliance means, what documents you need to prove compliance and how each of those documents require management. As a result, this is where you need a Document Management process in your business.
What is Document Management?
Simply put, Document Management is any set of processes or system to manage a document. In addition, most businesses will have some form of process in place to manage their documents. For example, it could be as simple as just storing these files away in a labeled filing cabinet and physically retrieving them come audit time.
When it comes to proving compliance to regulators, your document management processes need to check the following boxes:
- Can you easily retrieve the documents?
- Are your documents up to date?
- Do your documents facilitate compliance within your industry?
- Does your process mitigate risk?
- Are your internal policies and procedures enforced?
- Can you prove your staff have followed your policies and procedures?
When looking at a manual document management process, it’s nearly impossible to answer yes to all these questions. As such, businesses are on online, cloud-based document management systems to help manage, maintain and store these important business documents.
What is a Document Management System?
A Document Management System is a software system which intends to automate the manual process and workflows to manage documents. For example, the system will manage document creation, document storage, and document distribution throughout an organisation. There are 5 key benefits of implementing a Document Management System in your business
- Improved business compliance with the collection of metadata on every document
- Easier access and document retrieval with a central location for all business documents
- Reduction of business costs as you transition from paper-based to digital
- Increased security to your business with document controls for each document
- Backup and disaster recovery through a cloud-based system
How Can a Document Management System Improve Compliance?
A document management system is among the most essential tool for compliance in industries which are under high regulation. The compliance requirements for some documents can be very complex and non-compliance can result in fines, cancellation of licenses and in some cases, criminal liability. Implementing a document management system will help you track and maintain compliance records essential to your business’s ongoing success.
Some key benefits to your business’s compliance are:
- You can store documents in the cloud, which provides a back-up and disaster recovery of all your documents
- It’s possible to collect and store Metadata, which provides access to information of those who view a document, when they view it and for how long
- Automates and notifies document owners of renewal and review dates of documents so they are always up to date
- Version controls each new version of an existing document while maintaining the data attached to each document version
- Can collect and store signatures of those who read and agree to the business terms of the document, policy or procedure
Whatever level of compliance requirements you need, your document management process needs to go beyond just managing active documents. By implementing a document management system, you can make compliance into an integral part of your day-to-day operations, rather than additional, time-consuming work. The right document management system will do that work for – and much more.