Breezing through an audit

Post-tax time, many businesses are hoping to avoid being audited by the Australian Tax Office (ATO). However, for businesses that are on top of all their compliance requirements, an audit from the ATO or an industry compliance body should be nothing to fear. And, with the right information management solutions in place, an audit could be no more onerous than any other business activity.

The very word audit makes many finance and operations leaders in organisations nervous. In the past, being audited meant manually pulling out all the relevant files and documents from physical filing cabinets and archive boxes. It was a hugely time-consuming and labour-intensive task that was prone to human error. And, if a company failed an audit, the ramifications could be significant.

However, with the right preparation and tools in place, audits can be a breeze for organisations. Staff members can retrieve the necessary documents with a few mouse-clicks and the audit team can clearly see the information required.

The key to breezing through an audit is a digital information management solution. By storing all documents, including receipts, invoices, purchase orders, contracts, and more, in electronic systems, businesses can overcome all of the traditional challenges associated with audits. Instead of spending days or weeks collating the information and cross-checking it to ensure it’s accurate, staff members can rest assured that a good document management solution can to do that for them.

The right intelligent information management system should include scalable document storage, workflows for process and escalation, compliance-based content archiving, the ability to work online and offline, document auto-population, and fast reporting. Using these systems to manage daily operations means organisations can be audit-ready at any time.

By digitising documents, automating processes, and adding smart workflows, organisations can save time and money. A single search function or customised report view surfaces all relevant documents regardless of where they’re stored, so staff members don’t have to go looking for them in file shares and various systems. Good document management software provides the ability to populate a document in multiple views based on the search criteria, so there’s no need to store the document in several places or worry about having the most recent version updated in the different folders. This extends to proof of delivery documentation as well as receipts, invoices, and purchase orders.

With the right solution, organisations can complete audits in a fraction of the time with full insight into compliance and financials. This reduces risk to businesses and ensures the team can remain productive even as the audit is taking place.

Businesses that are still managing compliance and financial transactions using manual, paper-based processes are putting themselves at a disadvantage both competitively and when it comes to being audited. Intelligent information management and workflow automation solutions can be affordable and easy to implement, and they deliver an exceptional return on investment year-round, not just at audit time.

Matt Coad, executive general manager solutions, Upstream Solutions

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