Accounting and Finance Paperwork Headaches Can Be Relieved with Effective Digital Solutions

Finance imaging

It’s no secret that businesses spend enormous amounts of time and money on paper-based work processes. Getting this under control is why a blossoming document management systems market continues a positive streak. One analyst firm estimate predicts more than 13 percent CAGR during 2013-2018 for this market. At the core of any business is, of course, the financial side – invoicing, expenses, payroll, receipts, and more. From small businesses to large enterprises, revenue and productivity can be harshly impacted if the paperwork for these tasks is not well managed. So, as a result, digital document management is booming.

An inability to properly process paperwork in accounting can impact other small or large business matters. It might mean not having the lights on one morning because of a past due bill or improper government filings resulting in large fines or more. Keeping paperwork orderly so these things are avoided is paramount. If not, then time and resources are wasted recovering from these errors. After all, such clerical errors may even be more costly than having the lights out for a day.

Digital capture and workflows now more largely address these challenges. There are various benefits to using a document management system that effectively captures, stores, secures and shares documents. But, the ideal solution is not always straightforward. After all, documents come in all shapes and sizes. They have structured and unstructured data and data required to collect is often at varying places or pages of a document. Such dynamics add to the complexity of an ideal document management solution. Without careful consideration and homework for a form-fitting solution, one can spend more time than needed extracting relevant data. However, if done correctly, digital document capture technologies can significantly reduce what is arguably the most costly risk of paper environments – human error. As a first step, one must decide between an off-the-shelf or an in-house developed solution. Each has its benefits and risks that can make for many more articles.

With a proper solution and the control or elimination of paper at the source, organizations can also make information instantly available. This information can also now more easily integrate with other business practices, such as accounts payable systems. Once digitized, best practices initiatives can be used to remove garbage-in-garbage-out errors. Document management systems truly offer the best opportunity for minimal risks and errors, minimal costs related to processing paperwork, and maximized efficiency and productivity as a result.

Example: Accounting System Streamlines Restaurant Paperwork

In one example, this company, developed a system to collect accounting data from restaurants. It is today used by restaurant concepts around the USA. From the start, the purpose of creating the system was to eliminate manual processes. This included mailing paperwork or emailing scanned documents to process accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivables (AR) each week.

The company’s web-based application leveraged Dynamsoft’s Dynamic Web TWAIN software development kit (SDK). This was to expedite the development of the image capture module of the application. This saved months of extra work and an abundance of cost over developing an image capture module in-house. Before developing the application, the staff was manually scanning invoices at the restaurants and emailing them to accounting staff. Upon receipt, accounting would manage the storing of such documents and also key the data into their accounting system.

Today, the web-based application has automated all of this to a point where only a review and approval process is vital. The data capture seamlessly delivers all necessary information to various restaurant accounting departments. The document capture process allows formatting of files as they are uploaded. This formatting is at the heart of automating the digital storing of files and data importing. The imported data is used in accounting systems to more efficiently process AP and AR. It also more conveniently allows insightful data to be pulled for weekly reporting. The system has practically reduced time spent on AP / AR paperwork by half.

The efficiency of the document management system has emboldened the company to create another application for employee file records. It too is expected to be entirely web-based with a database. It will help save restaurants a lot of time and money spent each year on shipping and storing employee records. Often, such records are also incomplete or misplaced.

The use of imaging within accounting and finance, whether to process invoices or capture data from paper statements and more, is not new. Yet, many organizations continue to operate without the benefits of digital document capture technologies. Finding the right document management solution can be daunting. In many cases, a custom-built solution is most ideal. But, developing an in-house solution is also a heavy task without proper support, such as readily-available SDKs. However, nothing is more daunting that continuing old practices of manually processing paperwork in a world moving at a much faster digital pace.

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