If It Isn’t Documented, It Never Happened
Maybe if you operate a one-person business you can get away with relying on memory to get things done and keep records. But that can be a problem, depending on what industry you’re in. Documentation is like an EKG for your business in that it tells you what is going on when, and helps you spot problems before they can spiral out of control.
We all like to think that we’ll remember that the petty cash drawer is empty, and that it’s time to order more quad pads for the engineering department, but we probably won’t. When it comes to business, over-documenting can be better than under-documenting, and forms are one of the primary ways that businesses ensure processes are recorded promptly and accurately.
Consequences of Not Documenting Processes
When you don’t document what goes on in your business, before long it’s as if it never happened. If you neglect to document something important, like overtime hours, you could be in for a world of trouble. But even recording less critical things, like what day you ordered toner cartridges, can benefit your business by preventing duplication of effort and letting you become aware of problems (like toner cartridges that don’t show up on time) early enough that they can be easily fixed.
Benefits of Excellent Process Documentation
There are innumerable other benefits to comprehensive documentation practices in your business. Even if you’re a one-person shop, excellent record-keeping assists you at tax time. Record-keeping also helps you spot trends and understand your business better. It can be mandatory if you are in an industry that requires certain documentation practices. Documenting what goes on in the day-to-day operation of your business helps you forecast budgets more accurately, and gives you a true picture of the health of your business.
Automation Makes Documenting Processes Easier
Fortunately, most documentation can be done electronically, with documents being submitted, approved, filed, and archived automatically through process automation. You may have relied on paper forms for years, but converting those forms, and the processes they’re a part of, into electronic, automated workflows is easier than you may expect. You could take an everyday process, like business travel reimbursement, from a 10-step process that involves paper forms and receipts to a much sleeker process where everything is done via online forms that can’t be lost or misplaced.
From Form to Record
Forms can be thought of as company records under construction. When they’re electronic, and when your forms and workflow software is able to interact with other software programs (like databases and spreadsheets), your forms can tell a more detailed story about how your business is faring. Whenever your business is audited for any reason, gathering up the documentation to prove your case is infinitely easier than it was in the era of paper documentation. The investment you make in electronic forms and workflows pays off both immediately and over the long term.
You Can Create Perfect Custom Forms
Maybe you’re worried that the transition from paper to electronic forms will be difficult for your team. But, what if you could easily create exact electronic replicas of your most commonly used forms, right down to fonts, logos, and colors? Then the form that people encounter on their screens is familiar, and it’s obvious how to fill it in and submit it electronically. If multiple forms are involved in a process, they can be linked together into logical workflows that are significantly faster than workflows that involve filling out paper forms and manually moving them through the process or the chain of command.
PerfectForms offers forms and workflow software that allow the non-technical user to create pixel-perfect forms using an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface. Moreover, these forms can be connected into workflows with the same drag-and-drop convenience. The result is a sharp decrease in physical resource use (like paper and ink), processes that happen considerably faster, and the creation of an audit trail at every step of a process. With PerfectForms, record-keeping is more closely woven into processes themselves. The result is less wasted effort, money, and time. Why not sign up for a free trial of PerfectForms? Learn for yourself how easy it can be to leave inefficient paper forms and manual workflows behind while vastly improving your business record-keeping.
Tags: workflow solutions