Here’s a fact that may surprise you (or may not, depending on your familiarity with various financial management platforms): in the small business space, Quickbooks has close to 80% market share. We love us some Quickbooks — who doesn’t? — but some small businesses, as well as emerging enterprise ones, don’t realize that other options do exist in the market.
One idea is to use ECM, or enterprise content management, as financial and accounting software. While many business owners think of ECM mainly as document storage and not a money-managing platform, it can be done. Predominantly, financial software is used in the following ways:
- Processing invoices
- Purchase requisitions
- Expense reports
There are other functions, yes, but those four make up the bulk of most accounting and financial software programs.
Consider our system for financial services. We can take care of file capture, storage, and processes for all four of those areas. Most ECM systems can and should be able to do that, though.
If you’re going to use ECM as a financial/accounting software, you need it to go a few levels beyond: essentially, you need customization potential and integration potential. This means the ECM can be tailored to your existing business processes; as a result, you won’t be changing a multitude of things at once, but just switching over to a new accounting management system. This will make the overall transition easier for everyone who has to use it.
At this point, you’re facing the possibility of reducing cost, reducing clutter/paperwork, and integrating your financial and accounting methods with the rest of your business and document storage. It’s a win-win-win so far.
Our document management for accounting solutions are also customizable and can integrate with your pre-existing processes, including using workflows to mirror and automate processes. If you’ve ever managed an accounting office, you know there’s sometimes a seemingly endless array of files to be organized. Automating specific processes is crucial for time management and priority alignment. The automation functionality should also include checks for compliance, both internal and external.
The penultimate piece of this puzzle is document recognition and understanding. Almost all financial and accounting paperwork is in the form of documents that need to be analyzed, stored, and tagged properly. Look for systems that can manage PDFs, do form capture, and offer optical character recognition, or OCR, for invoice processing. (Luckily, we can do all that.)
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we come to security. These are your financial documents. Many may be proprietary, and you don’t want any getting hacked. You need to consider ECMs that offer the highest level of security, restricted access by user, and encryption features where necessary.
This article was originally published as Accounting Software and Enterprise Content Management by Ted Bauer on July 26th, 2016.