With the day-to-day operation of every business comes a veritable mountain of administration. While what was formerly collectively known as ‘paperwork’ has become largely digitised, the administrative housekeeping remains, and is largely comprised of documents, compliance details, and a whole host of tasks. Every department and business area within your operation has this same mountain to tackle, which means that the organisation as a unified entity has many. This creates the pressing question: How do we keep track?
The importance of keeping track
Keeping track of tasks, documents and compliance is important for several reasons, on a number of levels.
- Departmental staff – It is important for departmental staff in all roles to keep track of their tasks, documents and compliance because it helps them to manage their workflow efficiently, while also contributing to the overall efficiency of the company as a whole. These two levels of efficiency help to ensure that targets are met and goals are achieved within the limit of the resources that are available.
- Management teams – Those in positions of seniority, including departmental managers and company management teams, need to keep track of tasks, documents, and compliance because it helps to keep the functions of individual departments optimised, contributes to the optimal efficiency of the business as a whole, and helps to create an accurate and overall picture of resource expenditure. This type of oversight is essential to maintaining a pro-active approach to business operations, because it allows for the early identification of workflow bottlenecks and gaps in personnel training.
- Current stakeholders – Those with a vested interest in the company, including investors, shareholders, employees, suppliers, and customers, need the business to keep track of tasks, documents, and compliance in order to provide them with reassurance that their interest and investment of either money or effort will be worthwhile. In addition, the process of keeping track helps ensure that the business is operating efficiently, which further serves to protect the interests of current stakeholders.
- Potential future stakeholders – When a business keeps track of tasks, documents and compliance in an effective way, it can be used to help attract potential, future stakeholders. Keeping track effectively demonstrates a commitment to improving efficiency, productivity, and profitability in a pro-active, sustainable way. Such measures can instil a high degree of confidence in investors considering a relationship with the business, because it increases the likelihood of the commercial operation being future-proof and scalable, prioritising the kind of agility needed to weather global market shifts and fluctuations in demand.
Strategies and methods
It is clear that it is vital to keep track of tasks, documents and compliance, in order to aid the commercial progress of the business. But, what is the best approach in each case? While tasks, documents and compliance are all based in administration and are closely related to each other, they also each have differing roles and consequences within the day-to-day of business operation. For this reason, it is important to examine the best strategy and methodology for easy implementation.
The inefficient and disorganised approach to keeping track of tasks would be to use to-do lists written on paper, or a collection of Post-It notes – or even handwritten annotations in variety of notebooks or work planners. These strategies may form a part of the personal methods used by personnel within the business, but they are unhelpful in terms of the actual commercial operation because they increase the risk of human error. Instead, it is best practice in the modern workplace to utilise automated workflows.
Introducing a high degree of automation into workflows throughout the organisation means that the time-consuming manual task of keeping track is already handled. Digital alerts and notifications keep all involved up-to-date on deadlines, milestones, and events, which means that departmental staff and management teams can take a fully pro-active approach to the management of tasks. The automation of workflow also ensures that everything is documented and recorded for the purposes of compliance, and of keeping track.
Almost every business process relies on the way in which personnel keep track of documents. Business documents contain information, and information is the lifeblood of the operation. These documents may be contractual agreements, personnel and management records, or policies and procedures. Whichever purpose they serve, it is vital that they are accurately tracked. This is because a significant amount of resources can be wasted in trying to first locate a document before a particular task can be undertaken, and this creates inefficiencies that can negatively impact the bottom line. Keeping track of documents does not simply mean confirming their location, however. It is also important to keep track of versioning, so that personnel can be sure that they are using the most current issue of the information in question.
Centralisation of documents is key to keeping track effectively. Not only does this pool all information into a unified resource, it also promotes the accurate use of meta data and categorisation, which enables the careful monitoring of versioning. Furthermore, centralising documents in this way ensures that they can be used to generate actionable data for fully informed, data driven decisions about the business.
All businesses are subject to compliance regulations, including those enforced by governments and industry bodies, as well as those determined internally by company leadership and board members. Failures to meet compliance requirements can be costly in terms of both financial penalties levied by inspecting organisations or governments, and in reputational damage. The area of compliance relies heavily on evidence – businesses must be able to produce documented confirmation that all compliance obligations are being either met or exceeded – which means that keeping track is essential to avoiding such problems.
Automated audit trails are the best way to efficiently produce accurate evidence around the performance of your business in relation to applicable compliance requirements. These trails are produced by software which logs all activity and attributes it to the user in question. This creates accountability and transparency throughout the organisation and generates documentary evidence of compliance. When combined with automated workflows, audit trails form part of a comprehensive and effective strategy to keep track of compliance.
The unified solution for a range of challenges
Though tasks, documents and compliance are all closely related and, in some areas, intricately enmeshed, they are also very different areas serving different purposes. It can be simple to find and implement a digital solution for the management of tasks, or documents, or compliance, but this still makes the creation of efficiency a difficult challenge. While each of these three areas may well be better managed with such solutions, there is still the problem of managing the way they intersect. This is why Contract Management Software, such as Symfact, can deliver a unified solution for this range of challenges – it has the necessary features and design to overcome different types of administrative mountain in one, simple package.
First and foremost is the platform-based design. This enables permission-based access which, in turn, ensures that all authorised personnel can log in to the software from any web-enabled device, in any internet-connected location. Effective, efficient, and timely collaboration is made possible by this feature, thereby making it possible to keep track of all tasks, documents and compliance evidence contained within the system.
The platform-based design is built around a centralised repository, which resolves the issue of document tracking. The repository supports customised reporting, which can apply filtration and data analysis protocols to documentation at all levels of granularity, providing accurate, actionable data to personnel, leadership, and other stakeholders. This centralised repository works in conjunction with an automated workflow feature, which generates targeted notifications and alerts surrounding milestones, events, and deadlines, and an automated audit trail feature which ensures that all activity is logged and recorded for compliance.
This powerful combination of features means that senior leadership and management teams can maintain detailed oversight of all operations throughout the business. This allows for optimisation and increased efficiency, as delays and issues of compliance can be identified in advance and resolved early. This approach benefits the company in two ways. Firstly, it boosts efficiency throughout the organisation which leads to increased productivity, and consequently, increased profitability. Secondly, it prevents losses being incurred by the business in the form of financial penalties, financial loss caused by reputational damage, and costly litigation arising from contractual disputes.
Contract Management Software from Symfact can be tailored to the specific needs of your operation, ensuring that your particular processes for task, document, and compliance managements are incorporated and supported. Moreover, the platform is designed to integrate seamlessly with existing systems, including a drag-and-drop interface for the secure movement of files, and the embedding of editable Microsoft Word templates for ongoing document generation. Added to all of these features is the fact that Symfact can help to reduce your operating costs, thanks to its streamlined and efficient approach which includes online, electronic signatures. Contact Symfact today to discuss the needs of your business, and to arrange a software demonstration.