Audits are certainly a finance department’s worst nightmare. There are routine audits and there are audits which result from inefficient systems or mismanagement of transactions. In either scenario, there’s plenty of stress, tension and fear. But, with an ECM system in place, audits can run more smoothly and be quicker to get through, especially for local governments.
When a government is not prepared to answer questions or find information easily, the auditing process will most certainly create wasted employee time, squandered money, and lackluster security.
- Audits by their nature involve tremendous amount of data which have to be correctly categorized. With a paper-based records management system, the process of searching for and retrieving such data can take days of work;
- During an audit, data has to be collected from various sources. In a local government, which has many departments and potentially many remote workers, this process puts a strain on work time. In particular, delays can be introduced by having to schedule meetings with individuals who work different hours than the finance department or with those that are on vacation;
- Audit preparation can also often be confounded by “regular work”. While certainly not an excuse, other, more pressing, projects that require compliance deadlines can hold up audit search and retrieval for days or even weeks. There are also issues if different employees are assigned to search and retrieve, or have information that is required and are unreachable to acquire what is needed. Employees may have placed records on their desk, in their drawers, or even taken them home – making search even more challenging;
- Paperwork may be lost or damaged, meaning tasks have to be redone unnecessarily. In addition, recovering these documents can be an expensive and time-consuming process potentially involving techniques such as freeze-drying.
- Plain and simple, inefficient processes equal lost money. In an inefficient model, employee hours rack-up given the amount of time it takes to prepare for an audit. In a situation where OT is required, employees have to be paid for the extra time. Pulling employees off other vital government tasks, many of which may have increased revenue, is also a downside to this situation;
- Errors in the auditing process can lead to missed deadlines and compliance violations – which can be quite expensive.
- If audits are being implemented on paper, the information can easily be picked up and manipulated by anybody. Not only does this mean that the data can be corrupted but it’s also nearly impossible to find out who corrupted it – meaning that it could happen again;
- Many case management solutions have very basic encryption that can be easy to break through. Hackers may add, delete or modify data – often leading to disastrous consequences;
- Handwritten records introduce inconsistencies and possible errors. Where one person reads a “b” another person may read a “p”. These mistakes can potentially be very costly.
These issues are significant and can lead to real trouble for local governments. Ricoh can help design and deploy a system to make audits easy:
- The root cause of many of the problems governments face in the auditing process is the fact that work is done on paper. Digitize records with Ricoh and benefit from storing them in a secure, intuitively organized, electronic repository or on the cloud. Employees no longer have to travel to offsite storage rooms to dig through piles of records. Instead, they are able to search for and retrieve records simply by typing keywords. This solution is cross-platform and mobile-friendly, meaning that workers are able to do tasks from their own devices, if necessary. Through this system, employees can provide requested files instantly through email or by tagging the requester within the solution;
- Ricoh’s solutions also contain automated business processes, ensuring that pertinent workers are automatically notified when their input is needed. No longer do finance workers have to run around the office chasing down other employees;
- Data is logged about team access to files and what changes they make. This leads to increased security and making sure that no one is able to manipulate untracked files. If necessary, reports can even be generated on the history of a document;
- The system integrates with existing software and hardware making deployment easy. Many digital solutions create silos of information similar to paper-based systems. To Ricoh, that’s a major “don’t”. Ricoh’s solution is comprehensive and all-encompassing. If there are existing silos, each gets bridged together to ensure that different departments can collaborate with ease. Instead of having multiple copies of a paper record, there can be a singular electronic copy which different individuals can work on simultaneously – saving significant time and avoiding confusion;
- Ricoh’s cutting-edge technology solutions are extremely secure. Ricoh’s security protocol can be customized to give employees access to only those files that are pertinent to them. Ricoh can also host records on the cloud and provide recovery services so that an organization is able to recover deleted documents if it ever needs to;
- Ricoh solutions have retention dates and compliance requirements built in. When a record is entered into the system, users are able to enter in metadata specifying which kind of record it is, and the system automatically stores the file with the associated compliance requirement. This means that the file cannot be deleted until the retention requirement has been passed. If it is an actionable record, which is time sensitive, the system will automatically generate alerts to ensure that the deadline for the action is not missed.
Unlike other ECM solution providers, Ricoh has over a decade of experience working with local governments in Canada. We are keenly aware of the unique challenges that local governments face and design our solutions accordingly. Work with Ricoh and turn your audit nightmare into a mission accomplished.
Talk to a Ricoh representative about how to modernize your finance department.
Finally, please do keep in mind that Ricoh is not providing legal advice or ensuring legal compliance with any law, regulation, by-law or any other legislative requirement with respect to the content of this communication. It is the municipality’s responsibility to obtain advice of competent legal counsel to ensure its compliance with such requirements.