Document management systems and Workflows: How they work together

Document management systems and Workflows: How they work together

Document management system (DMS) software is essential for every business. It organizes and stores your files in secure cloud servers, eliminating the need for file cabinets, printing supplies, and reams of paper in the office. But the best DMS software is much more than just a tool to digitize and archive your files, it also helps you manage company workflows.

What is a workflow?

A Workflow is a series of steps required to complete a task. In the context of document management, it is the process of circulating a files to accomplish tasks such as approvals, verifications, and modifications. A travel expense report, for instance, must be verified by project managers, then sent to finance staff to ready the reimbursement, and finally approved by the accounts payable (AP) manager.

This may seem like a simple process, but it's just one out of a hundred that companies handle every single day. When stacks of paper are passed around from desk to desk, it’s inevitable that important files get misplaced or forgotten, negatively affecting productivity and efficiency.

DMS software like PaperSave allows businesses to create and customize automated workflows to prevent this from happening.

Automatic document distribution

Instead of distributing files manually, you can program DMS workflows to eliminate repetitive business processes like AP invoice approvals.

When an invoice arrives, DMS software digitizes its data -- including the invoice number, date, amount, vendor, and service -- using advanced document capture methods. The DMS software then evaluates the data and forwards it to the department or employee laid out in your custom workflow. For example, you may have a workflow that directs invoices above $10,000 to specific staff who are authorized to approve larger transactions.

What’s more, you can even set workflows for when certain conditions aren’t met. If the invoice from our example has been awaiting approval for a few days, preprogrammed workflows can auto-generate reminder emails or send the invoice to another manager to ensure it’s paid on time.

Document tracking

Beyond customized notifications, workflow features make it easy to track how far along an invoice is in the approval process. DMS software records a detailed history of your documents -- including when they were last accessed, signed, and modified -- in a centralized database. This way, you’ll be able to know where a particular document is at a given time and what steps remain in the process. This should also give you insight into how workflows can be revised to eliminate bottlenecks and enhance efficiency.

Compliance management

Certain companies are also subject to compliance mandates and audits. Those under PCI-DSS regulations, for example, can only store credit card information while waiting for authorization and must destroy it when they no longer have any legal, contractual, or business need for it.

Fortunately, workflow features can be customized to align with industry regulations. This means you can program a workflow that reminds staff to delete financial records after a payment has been processed or if a customer has unsubscribed from your service.

Also, DMS software tracks document modifications and approvals, timestamps each step, and archives everything in a way that’s easy to search and retrieve, which is extremely helpful in the event of an audit.

The bottom line

When documents are managed electronically and automatically, processes are more streamlined and consistent. Employees never have to waste time passing documents around and keeping track of where they are since everything will be centralized in one place, meaning they can get more done during the day. With features and benefits like these, deciding whether you should invest in DMS software has never been easier.

PaperSave offers the workflow features your company needs to make document management a breeze. Check out our personalized demo to see what features we offer. Or, if you’re still not convinced DMS software is right for you, why not take a few moments to read our FREE whitepaper: 9 reasons why you need a document management system?