DocuWare: Technology Provides Access and Accountability6 Oct, 2014
Mengali Accountancy, a leading accounting firm in Northern California, initially implemented DocuWare to streamline their work processes and become a paperless office. The firm found even more efficiencies by giving their clients online access to their DocuWare system and allowing them to submit and approve documents electronically. The firm gained countless hours by providing its clients with a self-serve portal to accounting information, enabling them to process 66% more documents with the same staff. They were able to strengthen its own internal controls and improve fraud protection for its clients.
Based in Northern California, Mengali Accountancy provides expertise in accounting, finance, money management and tax services. The firm acts as an off-site accounting department for its clients and handles a high volume of transactional processing. Documents range from accounts payable invoices, bank statements, loan statements, credit card statements and more.
In 2007, the accounting firm implemented DocuWare in order to become a paperless office and provide their clients with a higher level of service. At that time documents were received via mail and then scanned and indexed in DocuWare. Using electronic stamps, documents were routed through a predefined workflow, speeding work processes and eliminating the mundane tasks of filing and refiling information.
As a result, they were able to divide their workload by both document type and client to better match the skill set of each employee. This allowed the company to gain substantial efficiencies in salary expenses by assigning entry-level staff to more of the basic transactional processing and providing the senior accountants with more complex tasks that maximize their education and training.
Fast forward a few years and the accounting firm was ready to take its use of technology to the next level - their customers. They realized the number one thing they could do to improve their own workflow was to provide their clients controlled access to their DocuWare system. If clients could submit electronic documents, which they could automatically index and store in DocuWare, client approvals of invoices and other financial documents could be seamlessly done inside of DocuWare based on a predefined workflow. The firm knew this approach would benefit their clients by providing more transparency and would also streamline their internal processes as well.
A progressive company, Mengali Accountancy also wanted to re-engineer some of its own workflows to add another layer of fraud protection for their clients. To do this they needed to add additional indexing criteria to new and existing documents already in DocuWare.
The accounting firm worked with their Authorized DocuWare Partner, eGennaker, to implement DocuWare Web Client which allowed access to the firm’s DocuWare system online, ensuring authorized users optimal access to information without maintaining a DocuWare installation on a local PC. Today, the firm’s clients can easily log into DocuWare from any location using a Web Browser.
Since the majority of client information now comes to them in a digital format, their Authorized DocuWare Partner, created a predefined workflow including Mengali employees and the clients. Clients scan their documents and place them on an ftp site for the firm to import. Indexing is done with DocuWare’s Intelligent Indexing Service which automatically searches each document for relevant index terms. The firm’s DocuWare Coordinator confirms the suggested information or improves it by clicking on the information to be indexed, such as Client Name. Using this feedback, the system learns to recognize document types and the next time a similar document is imported the index terms are filled in automatically. The service uses crowd sourcing, so once an invoice from a certain vendor is mapped with index terms, the template is automatically available behind the scenes to help index other documents with a similar layout. The more they worked with Intelligent Indexing the quicker and more automatic indexing became.
“I love the way DocuWare learns to auto plug information into our index fields, and if it misses something, all we have to do is click on the missing information which eliminates data-entry mistakes and speeds indexing. The best part of the new solution is that after the system has seen an invoice a few times, indexing is automatic,” said Suzanne Witherell, DocuWare Coordinator for Mengali Accountancy.
Over the last few years the firm’s staff has grown by seven and now includes five CPAs, five Support Staff, an Administrative Assistant and a DocuWare Coordinator. With the advent of Web Client, the volume of the firm’s business has continued to expand as the existing staff is now able to process 66% more documents without further increasing the size of the firm.
“Implementing a self-serve information portal for our clients has saved us huge amounts of time. It was a benefit I was not anticipating, but one that has allowed us to effectively utilize our human resources and grow our business,” said Renee Mengali, President and Owner of Mengali Accountancy.
The workflow between the accounting firm and their clients is now very efficient. If corporate approval is needed for a large Accounts Payable item, the approval can be done directly in DocuWare. Some clients prefer to sign their own paper checks but they love the ability to electronically review background documentation relating to the amount.
DocuWare is helping the firm create an accounting environment full of checks and balances. The solution’s workflow features allowed the firm to setup pre-designated internal control systems, ensuring that at least three different staff members are involved with every client. Additional security features like predefined limits on which employees can access which information, un-editable original documents, and the ability to track and log each document’s access are helping the firm prevent fraud.
“One of our clients had previously experienced internal fraud as the result of their employee editing PDF documents to be reimbursed at a higher rate. This alarming situation put document security and originality on the forefront and helped us illustrate to our customers the advantages and security that come from storing their documents in DocuWare,” said Mengali.
Because the firm takes fraud prevention very seriously, they worked with their Authorized DocuWare Partner to add new index fields, Depositor and Reconciler, to existing and new documents. Today, different employees perform each role which strengthens the firm’s internal document controls.
Additionally, audits are now being done remotely. The firm simply sets up each auditor with a secure login that allows access to only the documents they need to review. “When it comes to audits, DocuWare has saved my firm hundreds of hours formerly spent pulling documents. The stress associated with audits is now far behind us,” said Mengali.
“We are so happy with the flexibility and scalability of DocuWare and the support we get from our DocuWare Partner. The ability to re-engineer our workflow, add index criteria and keep all of our existing documents in the same structure is a huge benefit for us. With the time we’ve gained since moving DocuWare online, we’ve really been able to continue focusing on best practices,” said Mengali.
• Allow clients to access their own documents electronically
• Client invoice approvals done within DocuWare
• Improve fraud protection for clients
• Clients’ self-serve access to information has allowed the staff to process 66% more documents
• For their clients accounting processes are quick, simple and transparent
• Improved internal controls and increased document security strengthened fraud prevention
• Hundreds of hours saved because auditors are able to conduct remote audits utilizing restricted access to files in DocuWare
• Content Folder
• Intelligent Indexing Service
• Smart Connect
• Task Manager
For detailed company information visit http://www.docuware.com