Up until the 1980s document management was better known as filing. Vast cabinets and bookshelves were filled with paperwork and other age-old material awaiting dust, disintegration and perhaps eventual disposal. In some cases, such as library and museum collections, much of this sort of physical material is highly valued; relevant for future generations of students and historians or delicate to the extent that it would be unsafe to scan. Much of this material, however, is less precious, at least in cultural heritage terms. And much of it will still be in a state that will easily survive computerisation through scanning. And once physical documents have been scanned they are just so much easier to process. In fact, document processing in this day and age can for the most part totally bypass the printer; it can all be done through computer management processes that create less daily waste and help keep offices in tip top shape. Invoice processing is almost certainly a job that can be done paper free. Clients will be glad of this; it means that their payments can be made and received quickly and in a totally transparent fashion.
Learning to manage documents properly is a skill of utmost relevance to almost everyone in employment and in particular those who run businesses. From the independent freelancer to the multinational corporation, few companies can afford and certainly do not want to waste time and money. For the freelancer, who can only take on the amount of work they have time for, and will not want to spend as much time making out invoices and storing data as they must dedicate for the task in hand, this would clearly be a false economy. As such, a document management system can be put in place, whereby computer files are suitably labelled according to their subject matter and date. At the other end of the scale, a multinational corporation will have huge volumes of data and money incoming and outgoing daily. Balancing the books in this instance is therefore fundamental even for outwardly successful companies to ensure they stay afloat: if outgoings are delayed a false impression could be given of one’s profits and business could easily slide into decline.
Small and medium-sized businesses ensure their long-term health by building great relationships with their customers, many of whom will trust them with confidential information. From banking details needed for invoice processing, to health records requiring judicious document management, client data must be safely saved and easy to retrieve. Good document processing practice will ensure information stays safe.
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