Doing business without a pile of papers on the table and cumbersome archives with folders, is it possible? Yes, today this is a reality and a fairly common practice.
More and more enterprises, and what can I say, even the state is switching to electronic document management. It is worth mentioning electronic passports and tax invoices.
Today you no longer need to have a printer to print a document, run to the manager for a signature and hurry to the post office to close to send a letter on time. Everything can be done sitting at home at the computer at any time of the day and with only internet access.
So why shouldn't businesses take advantage of this opportunity and save time and resources, which are always lacking? Especially during the quarantine period when most companies still work remotely.
Therefore, in this article we will talk about how to properly implement electronic document management in the enterprise (if you have not already done so) and ensure the legal force of electronic documents on a par with paper.
The main stages of implementation of electronic document management:
Make an appropriate decision and record it
This may be the Instruction or the Procedure for electronic document management, approved by the order of the director. This instruction should prescribe the procedure for creating, editing, exchanging both internal documents (correspondence between employees, job descriptions, orders, etc.) and sending / receiving documents from contractors (contracts, invoices, acts, letters, etc.). The Instruction must also specify the method, term and place of storage of documents and the persons authorized to sign such documents.
Get an electronic digital signature (EDS)
The electronic document MUST be signed with the help of EDS. You can get such a signature anywhere: in the tax office, in the bank, or in a company that is actually created to issue digital signatures. The full list of enterprises and organizations authorized to issue EDS can be found here. The validity of the key cannot exceed 2 years. Therefore, also take care of the timely renewal of your signature.
An optional but necessary step is to choose the software that will allow you to quickly and easily send and receive electronic documents. There are many of them now, so you are not limited in your choice. By the way, there are even free. The functionality of such programs is also very diverse. It all depends on the specifics of your business and personal preferences.
Installing such a product allows you to create and save templates for ready-made documents, download files of various formats, simultaneously edit and coordinate documents both within your company and with contractors. In addition, the software can be installed even on a mobile phone. Therefore, with only internet access and applications on your phone, you can sign and exchange documents anywhere.
This stage is an important part of the implementation of electronic document management. If your contractor is still not ready to work with electronic documents, you will not be able to get properly executed originals in this case. The document is valid only if it is signed by EDS by both parties. If your customer simply prints such an electronic document and signs it himself, this document will not be considered properly signed. Therefore, the exchange of electronic documents will be possible only with those contractors who have also introduced electronic document management.
By the way, even if your partners use other software to exchange electronic documents, there is a special platform (BIRD), which allows you to exchange documents between users of different programs. In addition, many software products now have functionality that allows you to integrate documents from different programs.
Record this possibility in contracts with contractors who also use electronic document management. You can provide both the ability to exchange documents in paper and electronic form. The details already depend on you and your partners.
Finally, we want to draw attention to the fact that you should remember about electronic documents:
- the document is considered created from the moment of imposing on it the electronic digital signature (EDS). That is, until the document is signed, it is not legally created;
- a paper document signed with a handwritten signature and scanned in electronic format is NOT the original electronic document;
- electronic and written documents have the same legal force;
- in the case of creating an electronic document and a similar document in writing, both documents are considered originals;
- electronic documents must be kept for a period of time set for such documents in paper form.
Electronic document management both in business processes and during communication with the state is inevitable. It's only a matter of time. The advantages of working with electronic documents compared to paper are much greater. This saves time and resources, improves the quality of management, systematizes the exchange of documents, increases security and more. Therefore, we advise you not to procrastinate and learn the possibilities of working in electronic form, as well as to enjoy the results.
For their part, Bargen's lawyers are always ready to help realize your individual wishes regarding the settlement and fixing of the procedure for the exchange of electronic documents at your company.