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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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3–10. Digitize Accounts Payable Documents

When accounting files are sent to the archives at the end of the year, the portion taken up by the accounts payable documents usually exceeds that of all other documents combined. For some companies with voluminous accounts payable files, it is a major expense to remove all the paperwork, box it up and identify it, and ship it off to a warehouse, from which it must be recalled occasionally for various tasks. Digitizing the documents is a means of avoiding the expense of archiving.

Digitizing a document means that it is laid on a scanner that converts the document image into an electronic image stored in the computer database, which can be recalled by anyone with access to the database. To digitize a document, there should be a high-speed scanner available that is linked to a computer network. Documents are fed into the scanner and assigned one or more index numbers or codes, so that it will be easy to recall the correct documents from storage. For example, a document can be indexed by its purchase order number, date, or supplier number. A combination of several indexes is the best approach, since one can still recall a document, even if one does not remember the first index number. The document images are usually stored on an optical disk since it can hold enormous amounts of storage space (and digitized documents take up a lot of computer storage space). There will probably be many optical disks to provide a sufficient amount of storage, ...

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