Document management best practices are essential for any company looking to streamline their document workflow and improve the efficiency of their employees. Get tips on how to manage, organize, and preserve your documents today.
Some of the greatest document management best practices are to set up a document management strategy, manage documents in a single location, keep only the documents you need, use a filing cabinet, and consistently naming of documents.
Document management can be a nightmare. You have to deal with everything from paper piles to file cabinet drawers that hardly ever stay organized to endless tasks of placement and organization.
Effective document management is a process that helps you to be more productive and organized. It can help you to avoid the clutter that can be created when you have a large number of documents and folders.
How much time do you spend on document management? Everyday? You’re not alone.
Stop reinventing the wheel and start implementing some of the most important document management best practices. In this article, you’ll learn how to implement ten essential practices that will make your day-to-day job easier than ever before.
I strongly recommend reading this guide for details about document management statistics.
10 Document Management Best Practices
Document management best practices can help you stay organized in a large corporation and streamline your workday. These 10 document management best practices will help you keep your desk neat and your work area efficient. Whether you’re a manager or an employee, these practices will make your life easier and will allow you to focus on more important tasks.
Here are 10 document management best practices:
1. Setup a clear strategy
As the use of documents has grown, so have the opportunities for document management. When you create a document or file, it is not just sent to one person anymore; it may go across multiple people and departments. This means that it is useful to understand how documents are created, who creates them, and when they are created.
A document management strategy specifies how business documents should be created or received, organized, maintained, approved or rejected, stored, distributed, and destroyed in both electronic and paper formats. It should precisely describe these activities and be widely used in all departments.
2. Manage documents in a single location
Documents are synonymous with productivity. However, as a business, it’s important to keep up with the trend in document management. Documents should be stored where they can be easily accessible and controlled by the owner. With cloud storage, documents can be securely stored in a single location so there is no need to worry about your files being copied or deleted by accident while they are in storage.
3. Keep a record of documents
Another best practices for documentation is to keep records of all your documents.
You should always save copies of your documents on your computer. You should also have backups of your documents on an external hard drive or another storage device in case you ever need to recover them.
Document retention and backup are crucial for every company. Most people save their work on their computer, but that’s not a reliable method of retaining documents in case disaster strikes or you need to be able to recover them. There are many storage alternatives available such as hard drives, external hard drives, cloud storage services and physically storing your documents on a USB stick.
4. Keep only the documents you need
Document filing can be a bother. When you need to keep things, it can be hard to decide on what to keep and what to throw away. It’s important that you know how many documents you need and where they are stored. This will make it much easier for you when the time comes for a major clean-up or if your house burns down.
5. Use a filing cabinet
One of the most important document management best practices is to use a filing cabinet to keep your documents organized. The bottom drawer of your filing cabinet should be used for incoming paperwork and the top drawer should be used for outgoing paperwork.
Additionally, you can create folders on the right side of your filing cabinet that contains sub-folders. For example, this allows you to create a folder called “Trial Balance,” which contains sub-folders such as “Overview,” “Approved,” and “Transmittals.” A third drawer should be used for miscellaneous paperwork and supplies.
6- Consistent naming of documents
It is surprisingly easy for documents to get mislabeled when they are just stored in a folder on your computer or on a shared drive. This can lead to all kinds of issues, from an unreadable file that’s been renamed ‘honey’ to missing content that has been renamed ‘document1’. When you use the proper name for your files and folders, it’s easier to find what you need.
Part of the strategy is to agree on consistent document naming conventions in order to simply manage and find these documents in the future and to prevent documents from being overwritten.
7- Define access control
Document access control is the process of verifying who has the right to see, modify, or delete a document in an organization. It is very important to clearly define a visual representation of which group can see which document types.
I usually propose creating a sheet with document types as columns and groups as rows and filling this sheet in order to constantly maintain control over the security of your documents.
As documents grow in volume, it becomes very easy to compromise security, putting critical information in danger of falling into the wrong hands.
8- Take advantage of the cloud
One of the best documentation management best practices is to migrate your data to the cloud which should bring tons of benefits. Check the below article for more info.
9 Cloud Migration Benefits You Need To Know (theecmconsultant.com)
A cloud is a powerful tool for managing documents. It is an online repository that can be accessed from any device, making it much easier to collaborate on projects.
Cloud storage enables users to share and collaborate on documents without having to worry about storing files in individual locations or sharing passwords.
With cloud storage, there is no need to back up files or to worry about data loss. This simplifies the process of sharing and collaborating on documents using extended tools.
9- Master DOCUMENT VERSION CONTROL
As the complexity of document filing grows, so does the need for document versioning. Automatic document tracking is handy to enable collaboration, decision-making, and enterprise-wide changes.
For example, a company may have guidelines for how to apply for visas that are regularly updated. In this case, it would be useful to use automatic document tracking to create an audit trail of who is responsible for them and when they were updated.
In addition to tracking changes in documents, automated document tracking can also track the movement of documents within a company.
10- Invest in a document management system
Among the top documentation management best practices are adopting a DMS that will help your organization to manage and control all types of documents.
A document management system is a collection of software that manages, tracks, and provides access to documents in a company or organization. They allow employees to collaborate with colleagues, share information and provide an overview of all the documents related to a certain project. This can be tremendously helpful for the organizational structure at work.
It is very important nowadays to invest in a good document management system to digitally manage your organization’s documents in the smoothest way possible while maintaining the proper security. There are many document management software that can help manage your organization’s documentation, your company files, and records.
That is why it is very essential to take your time and choose the best document management system that suits your need.
I strongly recommend reading the below article to take a look at a list of the top available open-source systems
Top 8 Powerful Open Source Document Management Systems (theecmconsultant.com)
11- Follow the latest trends
Following the latest trends in document management should be part of any strategy your organization should implement. This will allow you to adapt to latest technologies that will help make this process more efficient.
What is Included in Document Management?
Document management is a process of organizing, storing, and managing the documents of an organization.
The process includes the creation and arrangement of documents, as well as the retrieval and updating of these documents. Document management includes both physical and digital processes.
Document management is important for any organization, especially in today’s digital world where digital files are more prevalent than ever before. It is also important for businesses to keep their records in order so that they can be easily retrieved when needed.