Internal audits are important for meeting regulatory requirements, but they can be an extremely stressful process. Besides the substantial amount of planning that goes into carrying out audits, you must also compile a plethora of information, including payroll, timesheets, and financial statements. Conducting audits is even worse if you rely on inefficient and disorganized filing systems.
However, there’s a better way. Utilizing a secure document management system (DMS) streamlines the auditing process in several ways.
Seamless access to documentation
The problem with most filing systems is that documents are usually distributed across the company. This means auditors have to sift through dozens of cabinets, hard drives, and inboxes for specific records. It also means that files can be misplaced, increasing the risk of noncompliance.
By contrast, cutting-edge DMS software makes information readily available to users. It stores documents in a centralized database and transforms them into searchable PDFs. These documents can then be retrieved with a simple search query, saving employees and auditors hours of their day.
Robust security measures
When documents are stored in a cloud-based DMS, you can be confident that everything is secured and audit-ready. That’s because files are kept in remote data centers that are regularly backed up and looked after by teams of IT professionals. Additionally, DMSs come equipped with advanced threat prevention, firewalls, and encryption software to keep data out of harm’s way. You can even set access restrictions for specific files based on each employee’s credentials to make sure the right documents are dealt with by the right people.
Comprehensive audit trails
A high-quality DMS keeps detailed reports regarding which users accessed information, when changes were made to documents, and how they were handled. These reports give auditors full transparency into your operations and enable them to identify noncompliance risks.
For example, they may find that users are accessing sensitive documents outside the office network or personal records are being kept well past their retention periods. Audit trails make it easy to spot these problems so you can quickly address them.
Standardizing company procedures is key to preparing for audits, and a DMS helps you do just that. With electronic workflow features, you can automate many of the steps involved in accounts payable, marketing, and human resources to ensure the correct procedures are always followed.
An AP workflow, for instance, may forward invoices to specific managers for approval and warns accounting staff of due dates to avoid late payments. And if sensitive records have to be archived or destroyed after a certain date, you can pre-program a workflow that stores documents for a specified length of time. By automating these tasks, you promote document best practices and compliance with data retention laws, making audits seamless.
Flexible compliance controls
Industry regulations are constantly evolving, which is why your business must be able to adjust within a moment’s notice. The beauty of electronic workflows is they can be customized to fit your needs. In other words, if there are sudden changes with Sarbanes-Oxley Act, PCI DSS, or other regulations that pertain to your business, you can alter your workflows and security controls accordingly to maintain compliance.
But despite all these benefits, not all DMS software are built the same. Some may not offer flexible workflow automation features while others lack holistic security controls. If you truly want to improve the auditing process, consider tools like PaperSave.
PaperSave provides a feature-rich DMS solution to companies seeking to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and ensure compliance. Our solution comes with smart document capture, search, electronic workflows, and multiple layers of security that are a cut above the rest. Call us today or, better yet, sign up for a free personalized demo to find out how our solution helps you take control of audits.