If you were to walk into a building society or financial institution and ask them what their biggest business pain is, most of them would reply with ‘paperwork’. Purely because of the industry they are in, workers in these fields find themselves hindered by complex and sometimes incomprehensible regulations surrounding paperwork – how it is handled, who is allowed to see what, how it must be sent and how it has to be stored. And while the regulations are there for a reason, many institutions are still working with outdated methods when it comes to managing them, and their paperwork processes.
Time Consuming Manual Checks
Within building societies and banks, every single document that is put out into the world, from promotional literature to application forms, new account announcements and other documentation has to go through a series of stringent checks. This is mainly because financial institutions are so heavily regulated on what information they are allowed to give and how it must be presented, and to ensure it is all correct requires at least 100 checks. In many institutions, these checks are done manually, in paper form. Not only does this mean that banks are relying on human beings to spot problems in complex literature, but it takes weeks to get a single document out of the door. Human error is one of the biggest causes of paperwork problems in financial institutions, and the time required to get it right makes this a very inefficient process. But a document management solution can solve this, because it is pre-programmed to check off these parameters before allowing a document to be signed off. You can customise the rules and parameters you need to be checked on each document and allow the computer to compare and check them off in seconds. This can apply to anything from internal memos to paper credit card forms and questionnaires from new clients – the filled in data can be read, checked off and processed without the need for manual checks. If there is a problem, you can program it to either fix the issue or send it through to a human being for editing, before feeding it through the process again. With a document management solution, those time consuming manual checks can be carried out in minutes, not weeks.
Strict Compliance Issues
Because of the nature of the information they handle, financial institutions find themselves tied by multiple, incredibly complicated regulations to ensure data is handled correctly. These regulations manage everything, from who can access what information to how it is stored. The main issue financial institutions come across with a paper based records system is the complexity of tracing who has handled what, and where it has been. Even if documents must be signed out, they can be handed to someone else, lost or read by unauthorised people before they are returned. But a document management solution automatically creates a digital audit trail for every document. An admin can access the audit trail for a document and see when it was created and by who, where it has been stored, when it has been accessed or edited and by who, and how long it has been stored in what locations. More information than any compliance regulation would need – which is always a good way to be!
We’ve mentioned before the issues that can rise from financial documents that contain errors. Manual processing of documentation is human driven, which can be considered very risky given that humans tend to err. Automation removes the human element and makes processes error free and less prone to glitches. Not only that, but the chances of fraud are minimized using document automation, which is a major benefit for financial institutions that are dealing with large amounts of money that belongs to their customers, who are trusting them to manage their assets. Automated processes also allow banks, building societies and financial institutions to report regulatory and legal requirements to regulators in a more succinct and simple way, since sorting historical data and stored customer data is much simpler.
Of course, there are still a lot of issues with the way building societies and banks operate in terms of customer data, but not everything can be solved with document automation! But by automating their document management process, many building societies and banks are finding that they are having to spend less time on ensuring regulatory compliance and checking documentation for errors, and instead have more time for profitable activities. For more information about how document management can help your organisation, or to book your free demo, get in touch today.