Money Matters

What contractors want to know about going paperless

Is the paperless office a reality for construction companies? Many contractors think so and are looking for ways to electronically store, retrieve, and route the numerous documents they deal with every day. In his October 28 blog post, Will Ivy shared how document management software can help put a stop to the paper chase. But what are contractors looking for from a document management system?

I recently sat down with our Sage document management expert Vincent Pate to find out the most common questions we get from construction professionals who want to go paperless. Here’s what many people are asking and the answers to their questions:

Am I able to route lien waivers, invoices, AIA payment applications, and other documents as well as attach them to jobs?  There is usually no limit to the type of documents that can be handled by a document management system.  Some systems will even store and route email. You can also associate any document with a job, vendor, or other custom criteria.

Can notifications be sent to reviewers when a document, such as an invoice, is routed to them?Most systems allow you to set up routing rules. These rules can include automatically notifying reviewers, via email, that a document has been sent to them for their approval or other action. Reviewers can also log into the document management system itself to see a list of items they need to take action on.

Can you prevent a reviewer from changing an invoice or other document?Yes,some systems provide several editing options.  For example, the reviewer may be allowed to edit anything on an invoice, just designated distribution lines, or nothing at all.

Can you attach emails to a document?  You can usually send related emails with a routed document as well as see emails that have been tagged to a specific document when you retrieve it.

Can project managers attach delivery tickets to an invoice?Delivery tickets can usually be “digitally stapled” to an invoice to verify materials have been received. Other documents such as POs, subcontracts, and change orders can also be connected to an invoice.

I have a stack of checks to sign. How do I access the information I need to verify everything is correct before signing? With some systems you merely type in a range of check numbers. The system will pull up the vendor, invoices, receiving tickets, reviewers, notes, and other information associated with each check for easy verification.

Can I access stored documents through my accounting or project management software?  If a document management system is integrated with your accounting and project management software, you should be able to access documents from those applications.

What questions do you have about going paperless?