happy businessman doing data entry work at office

For many companies, storing data is an ongoing challenge. Methods of data entry and storage continually evolve with changing technology. It can be tough to implement data entry systems that are efficient, cost-effective, and space-saving.

Automated data management systems have quickly expanded their reach to assist companies not only to store their data effectively, but to use it to enhance their products, services, and operations.

River City Data is your one source for document storage and management. We customize our data processing solutions to fit your needs for online and physical space, privacy, and security. If you find yourself in data and document overwhelm, contact us today to climb out from under your digital or paper piles.

medical employee filing records and doing data entry in hospital

Data Automation: Is It For You?

Let’s begin with a few more questions, and then you’ll likely start to see some definite advantages to automating your data collection, storage, sharing, and dissemination.

 

    1. Does your company collect and use extensive data? If you run a medical office, a government organization, a retail company, a law firm, or any other related company, you likely collect and maintain truckloads of documents and client information. Keeping client information accessible, secure, and private is a cornerstone of your business.
    2. Would your business benefit if you could USE your collected data more effectively? Storing private data securely is one thing, but USING data to your advantage for reporting, progress analysis, and customer metrics is quite another. Most companies use only 30% of the data they collect in analytics that drive success. That’s a lot of valuable information to leave out of your business and growth strategy. 
    3. Does accessing, compiling, and reporting your data seem too big and scary for any of your teams to handle reasonably? Manual reporting can be among the world’s most daunting tasks. Asking your already stretched staff to add data analysis and reporting to their plates may be unreasonable. Further, if you don’t have a dedicated analytics and reporting team, you may not have the right skill sets to use your data for the best business gain.

How Do I Begin Data Entry Automation?

First, start with strategy consensus. If part of your data management challenge is coalescing different data sources into a centralized, accessible location, you’ll need to assess your data needs and use.

Every team leader should have input into the type of data they desire, collect, and use from internal (departmental and project data) and external (customer and client) sources. Further, if portions of your data are paper-based while others are digitally collected, you’ll need to convert paper documentation into indexed, digitally stored formats.

Before any data entry automation can take place successfully, all members of your leadership will need to agree on how data must be categorized, where it will be stored, and who will have access to which documents and information.

close-up of a person analyzing data on a tablet computer

Create or Update Your Indexing System

Building a system of data indexing that everyone can learn and use is paramount to successful data entry automation. Be sure to gain consensus on all your data forms for categories of information relevant to your business. 

With current document conversion technology, you can get as granular as you like with precise keywords or column headings to make your data indexing laser-focused and business-relevant.

Further, with companies that operate under privacy standards like HIPAA, indexing your data accurately will be necessary to use only the data allowable by law.

Matching your business terms with data sources and ensuring column-level accuracy are paramount in making sure everyone on your team “speaks the same language.” Accessing data successfully on-demand means training your staff on the keywords, phrases, or columns you employ for data organization.

Enlist Help with Data Entry Automation

At River City Data, we use OCR, or Optical Character Recognition in our data conversion processes and services. This software allows us to comb your documents for the keywords and characters you specify, making indexing a snap in most cases. 

As long as you and your team are clear on how you want your documents organized, our software can take your indexing methodology and apply it to every record we capture, convert, and store.

What Automation Does for Data Entry

Automation helps every stakeholder in your company gain access and insight into the data you collect. When your information is collected and stored with common indexes and a language everyone understands, you can use the data you collect to improve your overall business practices.

Plus, with data entry automation, you eliminate the need to manually re-key data on PDF’s and paper documents. This automation saves time, frustration, indexing mistakes, and money.

Data entry automation can also help you eliminate data silos within your organization. If one department employs different indexing keywords, phrases, characters, and columns than another in the data they collect, store, and use, you can all “get on the same data indexing page” with data entry automation.

In short, data entry automation can be a unifying force within your company. When implemented correctly, this type of automation eases communication challenges, streamlines project work, and can even help you grow your business.

close up of a doctor with stacks of medical folders and files and a stethoscope

Business Growth with Data Entry Automation

Once you’ve automated your data with improved indexing and accessibility, it’s time to use your data to benefit your company. Compiling patient outcomes, customer buying patterns, case loads, and project statistics are some of the ways you can let your data work for you (instead of merely storing it securely.)

You can even use your data to better understand your audience demographics so you can grow your footprint on social media and other marketing channels. The benefits of data entry automation continue to evolve with each passing season.

Stay ahead of the Data Entry Automation Curve with River City Data

At River City Data, we handle thousands of documents each week with care, security, and professionalism. We use the most leading-edge technology to help you get ahead of the data collection tidal wave. After all, data collection and conversion will always be “a thing” in every successful organization.

Our job is to smooth out the waves of data you must collect, process, and store into a calm sea of accessibility and utility. Contact River City Data today and find out why we’re the trusted local leader in data conversion, indexing, secure storage, and on-demand access.

young woman employee looking at data modeling on stacks of papers and files

When you’re buried under virtual or physical piles of PDFs, paper documents, or out-dated storage tools (CD-Rom, or–gasp!–floppy disks), coalescing your information into one indexable format is a daunting task. Data modeling is the first step to making sense of every record, no matter its age or storage method.

No business leader we know has extra time for data conversion, indexing, storage, and security. Per human nature, incomplete data conversion and archiving tend to build up over time, because they’re no one’s favorite tasks. 

Instead of procrastinating this crucial element of business success and customer privacy, partner with the pros at River City Data. We’ll customize a data conversion, indexing, and storage strategy that grows with your company so that data privacy and organization is never a problem again.

Call us today for a free quote, and we’ll handle all your records with the care and security they deserve.

hanging folders and files in a filing cabinet with an employee's hands sorting files

Data Modeling: Code for “How’re We Going to Find Anything Ever Again?”

Imagine you spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of person-hours organizing your data. You’ve purchased filing cabinets, folders, colored tabs, and every kind of “sticky-note” under the sun. 

By the time you’re finished with your files, they look neat and tidy, years of business contacts can now be accessed quickly, the file drawers all close tightly, you can lock the files for security, and you’re about to pat yourself on the back.

However, you forgot to tell anyone that you used your clients’ birthdays to categorize them in the files. Then, you hire in a new office manager, and they assume you’ve used the customer’s last name as a primary data indexing tool. 

So, now your new manager cannot find any information on your clients, plus, she uses her last-name assumption for all future data filing. You’ve got a massive potential data mess on your hands in this scenario.

The one thing you must do to combat this data disaster is data modeling.

Create a Rubric that Serves You Now and in the Future

Of course, today, we’re done with paper documents and tabbed manila folders in most organizations. Data modeling refers to digital data indexing, storage, and interaction. 

Your data model can also inform the type of physical space and components you use for data storage and reporting as well, some of which may still be the odd filing cabinet. But, most companies seek out ways to condense and archive their data while still enabling easy reporting and analytics.

It’s essential to think out into the future as much as possible concerning storing and indexing data. Try revisiting your business plan. (If you don’t have a current one, now’s a perfect time to create it.) Look at your growth and sales goals for the next five years or so. 

Your data model should reflect where you want to BE in five years, as much as it should serve your needs where you ARE. Why plan to keep purchasing more and more physical file cabinets when you can obtain more secure and nimble data storage in the cloud right now, for example?

stacks of files, folders, documents used for data modeling

Three Types of Data Models

For a successful data model, there are three essential steps in the process:

 

    1. Conceptual data model: Here, you define entities that deliver or collect data, like customers and products. Then, you list the attributes of each entity, such as name (customer or product), customer number, and product price. Finally, you determine and describe the relationship between the entities.
      Conceptual data models are intentionally high-level.

      Think of this step as building the foundation for data collection and organization–a statement of which information is most crucial to your business model. This step creates a common data language and priority list for all stakeholders, company-wide.
    2. Logical data model: In this phase, you’ll specify data structure and the relationship between data bits. For example, you’ll define how data from one project may interact with information from another source within the company.
      You’ll answer questions like “how will I integrate and utilize information across several departments or teams?” And, you’ll put values and nomenclature to those data bits.
      At this stage, you’re still thinking in general terms–defining data relationships within your operation and how you want them to interact.
    3. Physical data model: Here’s where you’ll get more precise about triggers, keys, views, indexes, authorization, database columns, as well as the technology you’ll use to access and store your data. (Will you use the cloud or a physical server location?)

 

Achieve Consensus, and Then Train, Train, Train.

Once you (and your leadership team, if applicable) have landed on a data modeling strategy that fits your needs now and can easily grow with your expanding audience, product lists, and physical footprint, it’s time to educate.

Any data model is only as effective as the people who know how to use it. Adding data collection and use training to your on-boarding process is crucial. This staff education is the only way to ensure your data works for YOU once you’ve implemented your data modeling strategy.

Departments can become entrenched in the dreaded “silo” when they don’t have access to the same information. Without the judicious use and sharing of the data you collect in sales, product performance, customer needs, client outcomes, and more, your entire operation suffers.

When your entire company speaks the same data language, you can access and use your key information to drive marketing, product development, and service delivery.

employee at a computer with data modeling and documents

Partner with the Pros for Data Modeling that Works

Once you’ve determined your conceptual, logical, and physical data models, River City Data can help you implement your strategy the right way.

Our conversion, indexing, and storage methodologies help you accurately index your records with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software, save physical space, decrease staffing costs, and ensure the highest level of security and privacy. Plus, we enable on-demand access to all your data, so you never miss a needed metric.

Contact us today for a free quote, and start taming your rogue data piles with the most reliable, professional team in the business.

 

Data is the foundation of a business. A business’s decision-making process is dependant on their data being accurate, relevant, comprehensive, and meaningful. All of these data traits can lead to the companies growth. If not, it can be useless and detrimental to a growing company.

Here at River City Data, we are committed to aiding you with the organization, accuracy, and accessibility of your data. At River City Data, all of our employees are HIPAA certified and go through extensive background checks to ensure your data is in the best hands possible. 

What is a Document Management System?

A document management system, or DMS for short, is a system in which all of your imaged data is organized, stored, and can be easily accessed. The information is ordered within the system by tags or keywords- that way, they can be found with a quick search. The documents can be indexed by the department, for example, “finances,” or in any way that makes organizational sense to your company. 

With a document management system, the workflow is optimized. Authorized employees can access any of the documents that are currently in the workflow. This eliminates the wait times and ensures that all your valuable time is spent productively and, most importantly, on the customer. 

How Does a Document Management System Work?

In short, a good document management system:

  • Captures documents
  • Stores documents
  • Distributes documents

Document Capture

First, the documents are captured. The papers are all scanned into the computer. Which means they need to be indexed. Indexing is a way to categorize the documents. Then there are terms added to the metadata of the material, like an order number or case number. 

Done correctly, this ensures you will be able to find a document years later. 

Central Document Storage and Security 

Next is the storage of the documents. Storing documents is crucial for maintaining and managing documents from all over the place. 

Central Access

A data management system allows employees to access documents from their location. They can either access them from a company computer or through cloud-based document storage.

Static and dynamic content are the two different types of content that are stored. Static content refers to documents created daily- like invoices and purchase orders. Dynamic content would be a form of documents like emails or webpages.  

Document Security

There are two primary forms of security for your documents.

The first method is version control. Version control gives you the ability to make any necessary revisions by checking a document out. With version control, you can also track all of the changes that are made to the documents. 

The second method is through permissions. That way, access to the documents can be controlled. You can assign user rights to the author, view only, revise, or delete records.     

Document Distribution and Retrieval  

Document distribution is the way that the documents are sent to customers, vendors, and other employees. With a document management system, you can distribute the data in any means you need, like email and file transfers. 

Retrieval 

The retrieval of documents needs to be fast and effortless. If not, your document management system is useless. 

For example, when a customer calls with an inquiry for customer service. The customer service representative needs to be able to find the answer in a flash.

 By using the keyword features and the correct use of the document management system, the customer service representative should be able to find the answer to the customer’s question. 

Data Management Minimizes Errors

An effective data management system can help minimize any data errors. Processes such as drag and drop, copy and paste, and document linking can increase the risk of inconsistencies within your data. However, with proper data management, these errors and differences can be avoided, thus increasing the validity of your company’s most valuable asset. 

The Benefits of a Document Management System

Freedom

A document management system can provide you with freedom by clearing up space within the company building. There is no longer a need for large, cumbersome filing cabinets to store stacks of paper documents. You are eliminating the need for tracking down a record and manually handling it. 

The paperless system allows your company the freedom to work quicker and more efficiently. 

Imaging the documents is the first step to freedom. Once all of the materials have been imaged and converted to the correct file types, a document management system will provide you with proper organization of your documents and data. 

Convenience

A document management system provides companies with convenience. One of the most notable features is the ability of all authorized employees to access and open documents from anywhere with an internet connection. 

With a cloud storage system, employees can access files through a mobile app. The app makes it possible to send, track, access files, and collaborate securely. Being able to access documents remotely allows the workflow to stay at a constant. 

Long gone are the days of the workflow coming to a grinding halt when a document lands on someone’s desk when they are out of office.

Professional Growth

Through the use of a document management system, your business will be able to continue to grow. The time previously spent organizing, keeping track, and managing paper documents can now be spent on more extensive, new projects, and your clientele. 

Free Time

Having the workload organized, secure, easily accessible, and efficient will allow your company free time to spare. This free time can be spent in other areas of importance. 

Peace of Mind

The right document management system allows you to be stress-free from any information leaks, security breaches, and other data disasters. With the use of encryption and access authentication, there is no longer a worry of internal leaks.  

Are you ready to put your document management system (DMS) into practice? Contact River City Data to get started on the document management of your dreams. 

Here at River City Data, we understand the importance and security of your companies most valuable asset. Your data is safe in our hands. 

 

As a good accountant, you know the value of good record-keeping, and stress this to your clients. So you certainly don’t want to be known as the firm that adopts a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to file maintenance. Check out the reasons why document management for accountants provides excellent value to yourself, and as an example to your clients.

What is a document management system?

Simply put, a document management system is the method by which your firm stores its most essential processes, contracts, communications, financial records, and other vital information. This can be either manual (paper) based or online, or preferably, a combination of both. 

Are there records that I must keep in physical form? 

Some documents are best kept in paper or physical form. These include identity documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, and passports. However, even with paper records, it’s a good idea to back up a copy online. 

Why keep business records? 

Quite apart from the fact that by law, you must keep business records, it is a pragmatic and efficient way of keeping track of how your business is operating. Other reasons include any loan applications you may make – no bank will lend you money without looking at your books – and to aid you in any insurance or court action. 

How long do you need to keep business records?

The IRS recommends that you retain business records until the period of limitations runs out. Different rules apply depending on the type of records and whether you have a corroborating document (for example, an invoice which you can compare with a bank statement, or a quarterly statement which you can reconcile with an annual one). 

I have a perfectly good paper system. Why should I also keep records online?

A perfectly good paper system is only as good as the walls, boxes, and filing cabinets that contain it. If a fire, flood, or other emergency damaged your paper records or prevented you from accessing them, think about how you would reconstruct or retrieve that information. If your answer is “with difficulty,” then you need an online document management system.

I don’t trust computers – people can hack into them. So why should I keep my records online?

You are right in saying that computers can be hacked, which is why River City Data is proud to say that we thoroughly vet our employees and they are HIPPA certified. Once you have a secure document management system, you can track anyone accessing your records illegally or without proper authorization. You can’t always do that with paper-based records, as who can know who opened that particular file, read that particular document, or photocopied that certificate?

Benefits of an online document management system

Security

We have touched on security above, but as a reminder, think about who can access your computer system. You will only be giving access to trusted employees, with appropriate passwords and security clearance, who leave digital footprints. It is far more difficult to access computer records than paper records, and you can keep track of who does. 

Ease of access

Not to contradict the point about security, but your employees who need access to records need to be able to do so easily and quickly. Rather than requiring authorized employees to rush to the box of files in the basement when the auditors arrive, consider how more efficient it is for that employee to press the relevant button and pull up the data instantly.

Audit time made easy

Yes, the right files are in the basement, or the attic, or offsite. But are they in the proper order, filed under the correct name, or still legible?  An efficient document management system maintains your business information in a way that allows the auditors to follow an accurate electronic trail quickly and easily.

Filing and forgetting 

After keeping your financial records for the required period, you are generally allowed to dispose of them. A simple way to do this is to archive documents after a pre-determined period, or even delete them. Your paper documents, on the other hand, will need to be physically disposed of securely, and this takes extra time and effort.

Free the storage space

If your business has limited space, you want to use that space efficiently. Piles of paper documents are not the most cost-effective use of that space. Storing your documents online means being able to use that space for more productive purposes.

Saving on costs

Storage space isn’t the only thing that gets used up inefficiently when you depend solely on a paper-based system. You want your employees to work more productively, not always having to hunt out old invoices, or manually post documents that they could email efficiently, quickly, and securely. An efficient document management system allows your employees to concentrate on today’s tasks, not seeking out information on what happened to last year’s tasks.

Minimize risk brought on by emergencies or disasters

If your office is inaccessible for whatever reason (fire, natural disaster, or another emergency), you still want to be able to continue your business as best as possible. If your records are stored securely and can be accessed remotely, you can minimize the impact of that emergency on your business. 

Backing up files

The only way to back up a paper file in a manual system is to create more paper by photocopying or reprinting the file. Not only is that bad for the environment, but it requires more storage space. Backing up your computer files in an online document management system can be as simple as creating a new online file and calling it “important document (copy).” 

Want to find out more about River City Data Services?

Our employees will use all their professional and technical skills to work with you to create a document management filing system for your accounting business, which provides efficiency, security, and reliability for your data. Contact us for further information on how we can help you.