When you look up the definition of “audit” words like “inspection”, “examination”, “investigation” and “scrutinize” are noted as synonyms. For most of us, those words sound like the start of a bad day and certainly do not inspire a feeling of positivity and excitement.
Recently, our Controller at Phillips Office Solutions made a presentation regarding the implementation of an ECM system in our Accounts Payable Department. She noted how the change has eased the challenge, eased the pain, created efficiencies and simplified the tasks associated for our annual audit.
Below are 3 ways an ECM system can simplify your annual audit:
- All documentation is easily accessible via the ECM system. It is no longer necessary to pull paper files out of drawers to review invoices and contracts. An audit requires extensive review of expenses and contracts, so having the ability to review documents quickly, efficiently and electronically is a huge advantage. Additionally, temporary and limited view access can be provided to the Auditor Team, allowing them to search and pull up documents as needed without requesting that employees search for and pull paper files from boxes or cabinets.
- Remote access to the ECM system allows anyone with permission to view documents even when not in the office. This same capability can be provided to the Audit Team as well.
- Our Controller noted that one of the main review areas during an Audit is the review of cash. Cash is King, right? In the past, when the Audit Team requested specific information such as, “Who was paid?”, “Was there authorization?” and “What invoices were paid?”, it was necessary to provide the Audit Team with stacks of paper for each request. Now, with the implementation of an ECM system, the Audit Team, using their provided system access, can enter the check number and the check is located in seconds along with a link to the paid invoices. The Audit Team can then see the check, copies of the invoices and who approved the invoice payment electronically.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
-Clare Booth Luce
An ECM system can benefit the Accounting Department in additional ways. As our Controller noted the ability, outside of the annual audit, to provide specific permissions and access to make approvals, management of GL codes to prevent unauthorized transactions and coding errors are additional ways to keep things simple and ensure peace of mind for someone whose main responsibility is to safeguard company assets and ensure proper reporting of business results.