Running a construction company requires handling a lot of paperwork. Contractors easily use more than a dozen documents during the course of a job. These documents can include statements of work, contract agreements, proposals, change orders, purchase orders, G702s, G703s, conditions, employee information, and much more. Trying to keep track of all this paperwork without a comprehensive system in place can become a nightmare. Contractors all over the country are now turning to Document Management technology to better manage their paperwork.
Having an effective method in place to manage your documents is crucial to maintaining order in the front office. Thousands of contractors still manually store and track their documents. While this method has been widely used for decades it is not the most efficient. There are plenty of downsides to manually sorting/categorizing documents.
CLUTTER AND DISORGANIZATION
Let’s say you’re in the middle of closing a quarter and need to dollar verify a figure on an invoice from a few weeks back. If you manually store your documents then you will have to search through all of your items to find that invoice, with the assumption there is a detailed cataloging system in place. To say the least, it may take a while to find that invoice. Not to mention if the invoice was lost or misplaced, it can take even more time to track it down. As more and more jobs are performed and billed, more and more paper is piling up. As more and more documents are printed, that is more paper to manage.
SECURITY AND SAFETY
A major downside to manually storing and tracking documents is the lack of security and safety. Unless documents are locked away, anyone can simply walk in, swipe a document, or view its contents. There are also events like fires or natural disasters that could potentially damage documents. If there were no copies made then those documents are lost forever. When it comes to securing documents, manually storing them opens them up to vulnerabilities.
WHAT IS DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT?
While manually storing and tracking documents has been the norm, a new method has been picking up over the past few years. One solution contractors are turning to is document management software—bringing all documents into a digital space allowing instant access and collaboration.
Document Management Software systems allow for the digitally storing and securing of documents. This allows users to stay on top of documents, increasing collaboration and security. The process is pretty straightforward. Documents are manually scanned into the system and placed into a digital space. Once in the system, the documents can be made available anywhere with an online connection. Documents also created digitally through various computer programs (PDFs, Word Docs) can be stored in the system as well. Using Document Management Systems is pretty easy. The main tasks is determining who will be able access the system and which particular documents can they view. There are plenty of standalone Document Management Systems but now most construction accounting solutions offer this functionality.
Most construction accounting platforms offer a Document Management solution. Some charge it as an added feature while some include it in the base price. It is more beneficial to invest in construction accounting software that comes with a Document Management Solution or has a native integration. That way both accounting and document management can be done from the same place and extra training will not be needed for a separate system. Contractors have embraced this technology because of the massive benefits it provides.
INTEGRATION AND ACCESSIBILITY
Using a construction accounting solution with a built-in Document Management System offers massive benefits, the foremost being integration. Any document generated from the construction accounting platform can be instantly stored in the system. A good example would be the one used earlier in the article. Now the individual searching for an invoice can simply, from within the accounting software, lookup the job associated with that invoice and all of the relevant documents. So, now that task is something that can be done instantly. The ability to access relevant documents when needed from anywhere presents contractors with a more efficient method.
EFFECTIVE DOCUMENT SECURITY
If there is a fire or natural disaster, rest assured that the documents are safe. Since they are digitally stored, they can be kept out of harm’s way. Also, a big feature is the ability to control who has access to certain documents. Users have total control over who can view what documents. Before, anyone could pick up a document they were not supposed to see and look at it. Now, with user permissions and password protections, document security is more effective.
THE ROAD TO PAPERLESS
As contractors embrace new technologies to streamline their business, more and more will look to Document Management Systems to help organize their office. Paired with construction accounting software, the benefits are many. If contractors are looking for a solution to help clamp down the clutter of paper in their office then this is certainly a good solution. ■
About the Author:
Eric Goldstein is the president of C/F Data Systems (www.cfdatasystems.com). With over a quarter of a century of experience in the construction software arena, Goldstein has led C/F Data’s ongoing development of the company’s flagship solution, STRUCTURE. He began his career at ADP, and first joined the C/F Data System sales department in 1985 and was quickly promoted to vice president of sales. After sales positions with Timberline software and Textura, Goldstein returned as C/F Data’s president in 2009.
Modern Contractor Solutions, June 2017
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