For most companies, managing the immense amount of paperwork required to keep a business running is a daily challenge. If your Accounts Payable department has grown accustomed to missed deadlines, lost early payment discounts, and unnecessary stress, it might be time to look for a solution that helps your team work smarter, not harder. However, in order to do so, you will first need to figure out how to organize your Accounts Payable files in a way that works for you.
On-Site, Off-Site, and Electronic File Storage
In most cases, businesses have three main options to organize Accounts Payable files:
On-Site File Storage
This is the most straightforward approach. You can designate a single storage area for all your accounts payable files, or you can have each employee maintain the files that they’re responsible for at their own workstation. Of course, you have to take security into account, making sure that unauthorized employees can’t access your company’s financial information. You also need to keep track of who is viewing your files and when.
The upside is that you can organize your files in any way that makes sense for you. Some companies match each invoice with the corresponding purchase order, receipt, and payment. This is typically the best approach when it comes to two- and three-way matching. Other companies organize their documents by vendor, date of payment, or date of receipt. But, whichever option you choose, know that it may still take quite a while to locate specific documents when you need to process them.
Off-Site File Storage
With off-site storage, you don’t have to find the space in your office for file after file – and you don’t have to create an organizational structure from scratch. But, you do have to budget for the (often significant) expense of storage.
You also have to trust that your vendor can quickly find the documents you need, right when you need them. It’s not uncommon for documents to get lost in the shuffle – and few things are more frustrating than having to hit pause on your workflows while you request a replacement.
Electronic File Storage
Electronic file management allows you to access your documents at a moment’s notice, without having to deal with the physical clutter. It does represent a significant up-front investment, but it lets you keep your documents organized without any effort. In fact, you can search by almost any criteria (for instance, if you don’t remember the account number or customer name, you can perform a lookup by date) – and you don’t even have to leave your desk. And when you need to collaborate, you can instantly send a document to another member of your team – even if they’re in a different office or working remotely.
Another important thing to keep in mind: no matter which option you choose, you’ll need to put a process in place for getting rid of files once they’re no longer needed. (This is especially important in public companies needing to maintain compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations.) With on- and off-site storage, you can create a calendar and have an employee actively monitor it, although this method can be error-prone. Electronic archives, on the other hand, can be configured to permanently delete sensitive data once it’s no longer needed, making lifecycle management a snap.
Discover IntelliChief’s Enterprise Content Management System
Still not sure how to organize your accounts payable files? IntelliChief can help. Our accounts payable software has helped countless companies say goodbye to paperwork once and for all. You can set custom user permissions, create audit logs, and collaborate across multiple departments with the click of a button. Our software is designed to integrate seamlessly with any ERP system or line of business application, allowing your business to benefit from immediate improvements to processing speed and accuracy.