If you’re looking for a new document management solution in your accounting firm, you’ve got a lot to choose from. Most firms long ago gave up trying to manage electronic documents using standard Windows Explorer file functionality. But the options range from limited feature-apps by small start-ups to huge enterprise-level document management systems. Solutions built specifically for accountants may have specialized features, but are they “nice to have” features or “must-haves?” A lot will depend on your firm’s unique needs, but here are some features you shouldn’t compromise on:
- File Format. Your document management system should store files in their native formats so you can work on them as needed. Files stored as static PDFs or in proprietary formats may be good enough to archive past work, but won’t make you more efficient.
- Version control. Version control features help protect firms by creating audit trails and allowing you to recover older versions. Your system should be able to maintain multiple versions of the same file or preserve file history.
- Collaboration. Features such as check-in/check-out of files and file notes enable teams to work together more efficiently. Without these features, team members have no way of knowing if others are working on the same file.
- File Retention Settings. Keeping files too long can be just as bad as not keeping them long enough. File retention settings should be available to help you manage and enforce retention policies.
- Accessibility. Your document management system should allow access to appropriate staff via mobile devices and in client or remote offices. Remote access should include the ability to edit files on the go if needed.
Not all document management software is alike. There are a lot of options to consider, but some features should be non-negotiable. To help you decide, download the Document Management Solutions Checklist by Brian Tankersley, CPA, CITP, of K2 Enterprises. Download Now.