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5 Challenges with Email and Correspondence for Project Management

project-managementProject Managers are unique and multifaceted professionals that often understand multiple functions of your organization.

Inherently, the project manager (PM) role coordinates and collaborates with various stakeholders to determine the scope of a specific project that is critical to your business.

Depending on the size and makeup of your organization, these inputs can venture externally as well as span internal departments and functional levels. Read More »

Email Management: Oxymoron, Fantasy or Reality?

AIIM Logo 3With seemingly everyone having overflowing Outlook inboxes, “email management” can seem like an oxymoron—and the prospect of integrating email with your document management platform may seem like a fantasy.

Good news: email management is a reality, which is especially important considering that it’s become critically important to IT, operations and the C-suite—as well as to federal regulators who enforce Sarbanes-Oxley.

The Research

AIIM conducted a survey of 145 financial services professionals, with 57% of respondents in banking and finance and 43% in insurance.

Key findings of the study reiterate the importance of email management, which is clearly top-of-mind among IT, operations and legal executives at financial services companies:

  • 74% of respondents spend at least 21% of their time on e-mail related activity
  • 88% of respondents either have no email management in their organization or all corporate email is captured and archived for a predetermined time (e.g., 180 days)
  • 98% deem deciding how long to keep email as “important” or “extremely important”
  • 96% believe archiving (deciding how to store emails for the long-term) as “important” or “extremely important”
  • 89% believe deciding how to keep email communications secure is an “important” or “extremely important”
  • 81% believe capturing email threads as a record of customer interaction as “important” or “extremely important”

The Risk of Status Quo

Sarbanes Oxley and high-profile cases involving email records have made companies realize they must have an enterprise-wide solution for email management. All email cannot be treated the same and email archiving cannot be left to the individual employee.

The Solution

Fortunately there are email management solutions available that integrate tightly with Outlook, scale with business growth and do not reside on sensitive email servers—such as Email Manager from CMA.

Whether your organization requires enhanced workflow or is considering email management as part of the enterprise records management strategy, consider Email Manager as an email management solution that will meet the compliance and productivity needs of the firm. This seemingly insurmountable initiative is simpler than you might expect.

5 Challenges with Email and Correspondence for Accounts Receivable

accounts-receivable-paidCorrespondence to and from the accounts receivable (AR) department is critical to record and archive alongside invoices for historical reference.

Miscommunications regarding receivables due to improper documentation will quickly and unnecessarily strain the client relationship while also impacting positive cash flow.

Reports provide insight into outstanding accounts, but they cannot provide the granular context to AR workflows. Too often, the context is found in the countless emails sent between your staff and your customers. How long, where and what are the best practices for these records to be kept?

Accounts Receivable Retention Requirements

Below is a table that illustrates retention requirements for accounts receivable documentation:

Records Retention Requirement (years)
Accounts, charged off 7
Accounts, payable ledger 7
Accounts receivable 10
Accounts receivable ledger 10
Balance sheets 5
Bank deposit records 6
Bank reconcilement papers 8
Bank statements 8
Bills collectible 7
Bills of sale of registered bonds 3
Bill stubs 7
Bonds canceled 3
Bonds registered Permanently
Bonds, sales or transfer 15
Budget work sheets 3
Building permits 20
Capital stock bills of sale Permanently
Capital stock certificates Permanently
Capital stock ledger Permanently
Capital stock transfer records Permanently
Cashbooks 25
Cash receipts & disbursement records 10
Cash sales slips 3
Cash slips 3
Charge slips 10
Check records 7
Check register 10
Checks, dividend 10
Checks, expense 10
Checks, paid & cancelled 9
Checks, payroll 7
Checks, voucher 6
Checks, warrants Permanently
Correspondence, accounting 5
Correspondence, credit & collection 7
Cost account records 7
Customer ledger Permanently
Donations 7
Drafts paid 8
Earnings register 3
Entertainment, gifts & gratuities 3
Estimates, projections 7
Expense reports, departmental 7
Expense reports, employees 7
Financial statements, certified Permanently
Financial statements, periodic Permanently
Fixed capital records Permanently
General cashbook 25
General journal Permanently
General journal supporting papers Permanently
General ledger Permanently
Notes, canceled 10
Note ledgers Permanently
Payroll register 7
Petty cash records 3
Plant ledger Permanently
Profit & loss statements Permanently
Property asset summary 10
Royalty ledger Permanently
Salespeople commission reports 3
Stock ledger Permanently
Tabulating cards & magnetic tape 1
Traveling auditor reports 15
Trial balance, accounts receivable 3
Trial balance sheets Permanently
Uncollectible accounts 7
Work papers, rough 2

We recommend that you have your CPA and your attorney review your AR records retention timetable before putting it into practice.

The Top 5 AR Challenges for Managing Correspondence

What if email correspondence was easily searchable alongside invoices, POs, backup and other AR related documents? Not only would the review process be more seamless for each cycle, but it also saves the AR team time, provides sales with conversation history, and enhances customer relations.

So with all these records, what are the five challenges for accounts receivable?

  1. 90% of all business correspondence is conducted via email and the email will frequently contain attachments.
  2. All correspondence with customers regarding account receivable should be considered a business record or document.
  3. Correspondence isn’t associated with the documents they reference – this can be done by invoice number.
  4. Classification, filing, and archiving email with current technologies is unorganized.
  5. Critical email correspondence isn’t integrated with existing back-end systems

Email Manager from CMA

With the right email management software the AR correspondence classification process is simple. Your AR team doesn’t have to launch another application on their desktop to document their AR correspondence. Instead, users can tag every email directly from their Microsoft Outlook interface with values pulled directly from your document management system so you can capture the account information, invoice number and any other customized information. Email Manager the automatically uploads all email correspondence in the thread, both before and after the tagged email to your document management system without any manual intervention.

What are you doing within your firm to help accounts receivable integrate, track and archive all of their email and attachments?

Proactive Email Management Can Result in Substantial Savings

emc-eas-logoIn EMC’s 15 Minute Guide to eDiscovery and Early Case Assessment they have an example that compares the cost of a proactive eDiscovery approach to a reactive approach. As you would guess, the expenses and risks associated with eDiscovery are massive unless you are proactive and incorporate an email management solution that works in harmony with your eDiscovery solution such as EMC Kazeon.

eDiscovery Issues & Exposure

In eDiscovery, your in-house administrators need to quickly and effectively produce targeted and relevant correspondence – no more, no less. Ineffective, inefficient or nonexistent governance, information policies and procedures leave your organization exposed to potential sanctions, fines and other penalties. Email management software makes this possible by allowing all email correspondence to be discoverable along with other electronic documents in the eDiscovery process.

By the Numbers

The following highlights the different between a reactive and a proactive approach to eDiscovery based on five years of data:

Reactive Proactive
Collection $420,000 $63,000
Hold $300,000 $60,000
Inspect / Review $525,000 $368,000
Produce $255,000 $64,000
Total $1,500,000 $555,000

A proactive approach results in a 63% lower cost of eDiscovery than a reactive approach.

Additional Email Management Benefits for eDiscovery

The benefits of a proactive approach utilizing email management with eDiscovery are three-fold:

  1. Reduced costs: less data for processing, fewer services used
  2. Reduced risk: less distribution of data, greater consistency of data presented
  3. Exercise control: more control over processes, more control over data

With the right email management solution, such as Email Manager from CMA, you’ll be on the road to a proactive approach to eDiscovery. What road are you on?

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