SER Blog  Information Governance

Process documentation done right

Why an ECM solution drastically improves processes

Process documentation plays an important role in providing transparency and traceability for your digital tax documents.

Like a company handbook, process documentation enables auditors and tax authorities to get a clear picture of your accounting processes and helps you to identify potential areas of improvement. A meticulous documentation also allows you to quickly ascertain where resources are being used inefficiently.

In this article, we explain the following:

  • What is process documentation?
  • Why is it so important for accounting?
  • What parts does it include?

In addition, we show you how an enterprise content management (ECM) system can help you to implement process documentation smoothly and securely, and make your end-to-end workflows more efficient.

Verfahrensdokumentation nach GoBD

Process documentation in simple terms

Process documentation is a comprehensive description of organizational and technical processes, particularly for electronic documents.

It maps tax-relevant digital business processes, data and filing systems of a company. It is important not only to consider the technical aspects, such as software manuals and system descriptions, but also the business processes that involve IT systems.

This duty to create documentation exists in order to provide third parties, such as tax authorities, with clear traceability during a tax audit with regard to digitally archived data, i.e. its creation, indexing, protection against loss and counterfeiting, and reproduction.

Why is process documentation important?

Process documentation is used to prepare for tax audits or point-of-sale inspections, which tax authorities can carry out unannounced during business hours. In this situation, continually updated process documentation is the initial touchpoint for the auditor and helps them get insight into the point-of-sale system.

From the point of view of the tax authorities, the process documentation thus provides the basis for transparent accounting. During tax audits, it provides target benchmarks that are used to evaluate the status of the accounting and tax documents submitted.

The process documentation therefore ensures proper archiving of data, including cash management and document filing, as well as compliance with prescribed retention periods.

What are 5 important components of process documentation?

The following provides a sample of process documentation and describes the five essential components of process documentation:

  1. General information
  • Information about your company's business
  • Tax obligations
  • Responsibilities
  • Change and versioning concepts
  • Local conditions relevant to accounting processes
  1. Process description
  • Documentation of the software, hardware and IT infrastructure used
  • Description of the interfaces between the systems
  • Presentation of the technical processes used for electronic accounting
  1. System description
  • Specifications and/or manuals for the hardware and software components used
  • Server and workstation hardware
  • All programs used and their interfaces
  1. Operating documentation
  • Description of the system usage in daily operation
  • Presentation of the security rules
  • Documentation of the operating procedures in normal and emergency operations
  • Data backup measures
  • Management of user accounts
  1. Internal control system (ICS)
  • Usage regulations for accounting-relevant IT structures
  • Strategies for login and access rights
  • Implementation of functional separations
  • Data collection and transmission controls
  • Protective measures against data corruption

How SEW-EURODRIVE achieved an ROI of 336%

Forrester Consulting studied the total economic impact of Doxis Intelligent Content Automation at our customer SEW-EURODRIVE. 

Discover the significant findings of this independent study.

Donwload the study

What types of process documentation are there?

There are different forms of process documentation:

Replacement scanning

The process documentation for replacement scanning relates to the orderly digitization and subsequent destruction of paper documents in the company. It includes key aspects such as:

  1. Clear process documentation: Indicates who is responsible for digitization and when the documents will be digitized.
  2. Legal basis and compliance: Takes into account the legal framework and strict compliance with these regulations.
  3. Document destruction: Determines who is responsible for the destruction of the documents and when this will take place.

This procedure ensures that replacement scanning is carried out in a legally compliant manner in the company.

Document filing

The process documentation for properly filing documents helps to increase authenticity and includes the following main aspects:

  1. Process organization of inbound documents: Clear description of how a document is processed in the company and where it is stored.
  2. Responsibilities: Defines responsibilities for processing, checking, and accessing documents.
  3. System description: Describes the software solution used for document storage and the measures taken to secure against unauthorized access.

This type of process documentation supports transparency and traceability of processes, and helps to ensure documents are filed in a legally compliant and secure manner.

Cash management

The process documentation for cash management includes the general organizational description as well as other relevant aspects such as:

  1. User documentation: Ensures availability of point-of-sale instructions and operating instructions for cash management.
  2. System documentation: Describes the hardware and software used for cash management.
  3. Operating documentation: Defines the responsibilities and access rights in connection with cash management.
  4. Security measures: Description of the security measures for cash management and access authorization.

This ensures clear and traceable documentation of all relevant aspects of cash management.

A simplified way: Automate process documentation with ECM software

An enterprise content management solution can play an important role in optimizing your process documentation. It simplifies the documentation, management, and archiving of all documents:

  • Document management: ECM enables the centralized collection, storage and management of the documents required for process documentation – including process descriptions, security measures and archiving concepts.
  • Versioning and track changes: ECM systems track changes in documents and maintain older versions, which is useful when documenting updates to processes and systems.
  • Access control and access rights: ECMs enable the definition of document access rights so that only authorized persons can access the process documentation and relevant information.
  • Workflow automation: ECM systems automate workflows for creating, reviewing and approving documents in process documentation in order to ensure documentation is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Search and retrieve: An ECM solution with a powerful search function makes it easier to find relevant documents and information quickly.
  • Archiving and storage: ECM systems support the archiving of documents to meet retention requirements and ensure that process documentation is done properly.
  • Integration: An ECM solution can be integrated seamlessly into the existing IT infrastructure and accounting systems to ensure seamless documentation and management of accounting processes.

Overall, an ECM solution can make a significant contribution to improving the efficiency, transparency and compliance of process documentation:

Benefits of process documentation with an ECM platform

Doxis is a next-generation ECM platform that provides the following key benefits for process documentation:

  1. Improved efficiency: Seamlessly implement and manage workflows using Doxis ECM technology to reduce manual effort and increase your overall efficiency.
  2. Compliance and traceability: Automatic logging of activities, changes and workflow steps facilitates compliance and ensures comprehensive traceability.
  3. Scalability and flexibility: As a future-proof application, Doxis can be easily adapted and scaled to meet changing business requirements.

Process documentation with Doxis: Checklist for your business documentation

Traceability and auditability

  • Processing of business transactions and accounting are transparent
  • Invoice-related ECM processes are documented

Accuracy

  • Capture data and documents without corruption or loss
  • Reliable indexing

Immutability

  • Logging of changes and deletions of electronic data

Capture

  • Written record of the scanning process
  • Audit-proof archiving of smartphone receipts

Electronic storage

  • Archiving in the original format in the ECM system
  • Recording of relevant document information for further processing
  • Transparent and clear indexing

Machine readability

  • Tax-relevant data can be evaluated automatically over the long term

Internal control system and data security

  • Security measures against corruption of programs and documents
  • Description of the internal control system in the process documentation

Process documentation

  • Transparent and auditable process documentation for Doxis and other systems

Cloud compatibility

  • Also meets requirements in cloud and hybrid modes

What matters to manufacturing leaders today

Our international survey revealed:

  • The 5 biggest challenges in the industry
  • The 6 most important trends you should't miss
  • The 3 most promising digital transformation projects in 2024
Download industry study now

ECM: The decisive factor for process documentation

Optimized process documentation is essential for companies. The integration of an ECM solution opens up a wide range of possibilities for an efficient, transparent and legally secure documentation solution for business processes, security measures, and archiving procedures.

The process documentation using ECM not only enables

  • traceability and auditability of accounting and business processes, but also increases
  • the efficiency and compliance with the requirements of prescribed guidelines.

Last but not least, optimized process documentation forms a solid basis for smooth cooperation with auditors and ensures the trust of internal and external stakeholders in the proper management and storage of company documents:

FAQs about process documentation

Process documentation done right
This answer depends on the legal situation. In Germany, for example, GoBD principles apply. Therefore, process documentation is required for businesses that use electronic accounting systems, in order to ensure the correctness and transparency of the records managed and stored in electronic form.
What belongs in process documentation?
Process documentation should contain, for example, a comprehensive description of the IT systems used, the accounting processes, the organizational procedures, the security measures, the archiving concept, and the change documentation.
Who checks the process documentation?
Process documentation can be checked for compliance with legal requirements as part of tax audits by auditors, tax auditors, tax authorities or other auditing bodies.
How do you create process documentation?
Optimized process documentation plays an important role in ensuring the transparency and traceability of digital tax documents. It not only provides tax authorities with insight into accounting processes, but also identifies potential for process optimization through proper documentation. An enterprise content management (ECM) solution facilitates the implementation of process documentation by automating central processes, supporting versioning, and ensuring archiving is legally compliant.

The latest digitization trends, laws and guidelines, and helpful tips straight to your inbox: Subscribe to our newsletter.

How can we help you?

+49 (0) 30 498582-0
What is the sum of 6 and 6?

Your message has reached us!

We appreciate your interest and will get back to you shortly.

Contact us