If you need to run your business successfully, you need business documents that are well-researched and well-drafted.
Are you aware of the most important documents your business needs? Do you know how to create and manage these documents in an orderly way?
This blog lists some of the essential business documents that you require for operational efficiency. It also highlights the functioning and advantages of a document management system to help you sail through all your documents.
Why are business documents relevant?
Every business has its individual way of functioning, but no organization can operate without business documents in place.
Here are the reasons why you must invest time and energy in creating perfect documents for their business –
- It improves business functioning – Clear communication is important for a business to establish transparency and trust among employees, investors, and customers. Business documents act as a means of communication by clearly listing down the terms, conditions, and expectations of all the parties involved. It helps avoid misunderstandings and increases productivity.
- It provides reference – Businesses do not run on verbal agreements, transactions without proof, and promises made over phone calls. You need to have proper written documents to validate things in a formal environment. Unlike oral conversations, you can refer to business documents in case of confusion to extract pertinent details when needed.
- It prevents legal consequences – Is an oral agreement or a handshake enough for a legally enforceable business deal? Well ask someone who has borne the consequences and you will never buy that concept. It is always recommended to have written business agreements for them to be legally valid. A written document can be held up in court and is capable of settling disputes.
What are the top 20 business documents?
Here are the legal documents for a business that enable better information management in any organization –
|Founders Agreement||Before a business starts operations, the Founder’s Agreement should be in place. Disputes among founders and co-founders are common, and they become complicated and messy if there is no clear understanding of initial equity splits, who brought what property/skills to the partnership and who owns initial IP, etc.|
|Business Licenses||When planning to start a business, you might need to get permission from your legislature, that would help in the operations of the said businesses. This also protects your business in the long run.|
|Partnership Agreements||Starting a business is often easier when you do it with a partner, with whom you can share responsibilities and split the initial costs. Having a partnership agreement will help you to define terms like duration of the partnership, contribution, division of labor and authority, how new partners can be added, transfer of partnerships in case of death or accident.|
|Technology Assignment Agreement||This agreement protects the proprietary technology. This form assigns the IP rights for any technology developed for the business to the business.|
|Intellectual Property (IP) Assignment Agreement||Intellectual Property is often the most important part of the value inherent. This is why it is important to assign that value among founders/co-founders/investors right at the beginning. Read here to know more about Intellectual Property.|
There are two types of Assignment agreements – the technology assignment agreement that assigns the startup any intellectual property that you developed before the company started. The developers may retain the individual intellectual property rights under certain circumstances or they may even sell the rights for equity or cash (to the founders.)
The second one is the invention assignment agreement that assigns the company ownership of any relevant intellectual property developed by the employees after the company has started. This agreement is between the founders, and employees and it typically includes a confidentiality agreement and an invention assignment agreement.
|Non-disclosure agreements||These documents identify confidential information and state the disclosure terms and conditions. Non-disclosure agreements or NDAs are especially important when you need to protect sensitive information that cannot be leaked to the general public, like financial plans or data. Anyone who requires access to such information needs to sign these confidentiality agreements. The NDAs help protect the business, and it also prevents your current workforce, contractors, advisors and even vendors from reaching out to your competitors and taking the sensitive/confidential information with them.|
|Employee Agreements and Offer Letters||These documents are a standard, once the organization reaches a particular strength or any employee dispute comes into the front. The employee contracts define the roles and responsibilities and also help protect the right of the employees. These documents also ensure that your business’ interests are safeguarded in case of disagreement. |
The Offer Letter is provided by the company to a potential employee and provides key terms of the prospective employee’s employment.
The Employee Agreement specifies the terms and conditions of employment of an employee in the organization. It can be used for different types of employment – part-time, freelance, fixed term, full-time, etc. (Please note that this document is best not used for contractors. For contractors, a Service Agreement can be drafted and sent instead.)
|Business Plan Documents||While these may not come under the criteria of legal documents, it is necessary to keep business plan documents handy. These documents also act as a roadmap for the business itself, guiding business decisions accordingly. It also helps when seeking financial help or when planning to sell the business. These documents can be a one-pager or even consist of 100 pages, as long as it provides absolute clarity on the scale, roadmap, and opportunities of the organization.|
|Financial documents like income statements, balance sheets, and even payrolls||Being aware of whether you are financially stable or spiraling towards bankruptcy is critical in determining your success. To be able to track and measure this, it is important to maintain financial records. For small and medium-sized (SMBs) businesses, these documents usually include the following – |
1. Income statements
2. Balance sheets
3. Bank statements
4. Payroll reports (will be talking about this more later)
5. Receipt records
These financial records will help you understand your workforce better. Usually, these documents are prepared annually.
|Business Insurance documents||In the event of a disaster (including this pandemic), the insurance coverage comes into play. However, while some insurances cover earthquakes and pandemics, others only cover things like fire, theft, vandalism, etc. Always keep your policy details and number with you. You can also include Worker’s Compensation Insurance here to safeguard your employees. Further insurances like Errors and Omission Insurance helps you to mitigate potential liabilities especially if you are held liable for millions of dollars in damages.|
|Investor Rights Agreement (IRA)||These documents comprise information like inspection rights, right of the first offer, etc. Investors would like a document that defines their sense of ‘rights’ that their investment would bring, even when the business and stakeholders are small and medium scale businesses. When the business and the stakeholders are still small, investors would like some documents that define their sense of ‘rights’ that their investment would bring them.|
|Shareholder Agreement||Regardless of whether your business is an SMB or an enterprise, the Shareholder Agreement remains one of the most crucial documents that you can ever have. This document would outline the relationship between shareholders and also establish their rights and obligations towards the business. It will also outline shares, profits, etc. If this contract is missing and should a dispute arise, companies will need to depend on documents like Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association, which is narrowly drafted. In certain circumstances, if required, the Shareholder’s Agreement will also serve to protect the investment done in the business, by them.|
|Indemnification Agreement||When SMBs have a B2B structure, they require an Indemnification Agreement, primarily if their product is being handled or sold by third parties. This transfers the liability of the product to the person or body handling the product. It is best to consult a lawyer or your legal team before drawing up this agreement.|
|Liability Release Forms||There are multiple versions of this document. However, it is still important to draw up a Liability Release form, especially if some third party (like contractors or your vendors) is using your B2B product.|
|Meeting minutes||Some of the legislatures require companies to document what occurs at any major meeting. They need to keep an official account of what transpired, including decisions made and actions taken. This helps in settling disputes about what happened. The meeting minutes document needs to be detailed enough to serve as the company’s institutional memory.|
|Liquidation Agreement||This document is between the partners in any business. The Liquidation Agreement ends the partnership or sets terms on how to continue while winding up the business.|
|Software Development Agreement|
(Note: This might be conditional, based on the type of business you have)
|If your business is into software development, this agreement will outline the relationship the company has with the developer. This agreement also defines the roadmap. The developer also agrees to transfer the IP (Intellectual Property) back to you once the software has been completed. |
The Software Development Agreement is said to set the scope of the project, the payment and will also address confidentiality terms. However, you might need to create brand new agreements for each new software.
|Return and Refund Policy (Note: This might be conditional, based on the type of business you have)||Return and refund policy dictates the terms of any refund or return on the product, which is offered on an eCommerce or a website. It is important to include specific terms like by when the product can be returned, and what type of refund will be provided.|
How to create optimum business documents?
Business documents have a wide range. Be it quotes to be sent to a prospect, an employment agreement for a new joinee, or financial documents like income statements, balance sheets, etc.; all of these fall under the umbrella of business documents.
Each of these documents contains extensive information and requires expertise in different areas. You cannot simply hire an individual to look after all your business documents as it’s not feasible. Moreover, a manual document management system can result in great discomfort as it has a lot of constraints.
Read this blog on a collection of manual document management issues that can spook you.
Wondering about a decent solution?
An electronic document management system is the right choice to manage all types of business documents efficiently.
Here is a brief answer to the question that might have begun hovering around your mind – ‘What is a document management system?’
A document management system or a DMS is a digital platform that helps businesses create a paperless office environment. It usually comes with various pre-designed customizable document templates to promote brand consistency. Sharing, storing, and organizing digital data becomes easy with a document management system. It also facilitates integrations with other business apps, offers native APIs, lets eSign documents, etc., giving the speed that is required to successfully operate a business.
What is the purpose of a document management system?
There are many document management systems competing to rule the market. These software provide document management solutions through various features. Want to know what makes companies invest in such a tool?
Here are the key reasons that drive companies to opt for a document management system –
- Document management system enables faster document creation
- It ensures the correct flow of information within the system
- Document management systems can store thousands of documents as it is cloud-based. It solves storage issues and makes information management easier
- Real-time tracking and reviewing a document becomes easy with a document management system
- A good document management system comes with various business app integrations to fasten business processes
- Document automation is another major purpose of implementing a document management system
What are three benefits of a document management system?
A document management system features list can go on and on, but here are three of its key features that make business processes more productive. These features of any document management solution enable instant document creation, seamless collaboration, and faster sign-offs.
- Integration – Switching between multiple business apps and software makes way for confusion, inconsistency, and errors in business documents. All this happens due to lack of integration between the apps. An integrated document management system fosters rapid processing of huge volumes of information, reduces risks, and cuts down management costs enabling ordered business operations.
- Workflow – Document management system workflow reduces the inefficiencies of a business process. With clearly set workflow processes and workflow tools, steps of a process get defined and better output is achieved.
- eSignature – In an age where virtual working spaces have taken the front seat. Face-to-face meetings are not required to sign legal contractual documents as an electronic signature for legal documents is valid and enforceable. Document management systems come with the feature of eSign to give businesses the speed they need to win. Read the blog to know how to eSign a document.
A document management system has many other features like user role management, information management, access control, version control, APIs, easy-to-use editor, template library, cloud storage, etc. These utilitarian features enable business document automation, making lives easier for professionals.
The market is flooded with different varieties of document management software, you need to look for the one that resonates with your needs. Here is a list of top document management systems to reduce your paper trails.
6 reasons to adopt a document management system today
- Synchronization – Document management systems enable wider and easier access to all the documents. This increases transparency among the employees and lets companies work in a more coordinated manner.
- Compliance – A document management system brings better visibility and control of the documents. This helps professionals to yield better results.
- Storage capabilities – Manual paper-based handling and storage of documents is costly and inefficient. Document management systems provide cloud storage to store huge volumes of data securely.
- Security – All businesses involve sensitive documents like contracts, employment agreements, etc. Constant manual data exchange can harm the confidentiality of data. Document management systems ensure the safety of data as they are shared with relevant members of the organization.
- Eco-friendly alternative – Generating tons of paper wastes hampers the environment. Going paperless is a great way for organizations to preserve and value nature.
- More savings – Document management systems help organizations escape the costs of printing, couriers, legal advisors, etc. This saves resources that can be utilized in other wings of the company.
Try out Revv – the best bet
Revv is a complete document management system with an easy to use interface. All its features are focused on making it the perfect solution for managing all types of electronic documents.
With an easily accessible internet connection and a compatible software system around, switching to document management systems like Revv has become effortless.
Here are some features of Revv that open doors for better document management –
- Templates – Revv offers a library of 1000+ legally vetted and ready-to-use templates. This pre-existing data gives an edge to the document creation process. Revv also offers form-based templates. Users just need to fill the form fields to create a document within seconds.
- App integrations – This document management software offers integration with apps like Zoho CRM, Google Drive, Slack, Zapier, etc., making information transfer much easier and effective.
- Workflow – You can automate workflows in Revv for an error-free and coherent process of document creation.
- Collaboration – You can converse with your team and even customers on the document itself. Revv lets you add notes, comments, attachments, and even tag people to convey a message (feedback, iteration, etc.).
- Metalens – Metalens differentiates Revv from other document management solutions. It analyzes documents quickly and highlights important information (called metadata) for quick review or reference. Know more about Metalens feature in detail.
- Activity tracker – This feature of Revv enables you to monitor the real time activity of all the users of a document. You can access a detailed log of who opened, signed, accepted, or rejected the document using this document management tool.
- eSign and soft sign – Revv gives its users full freedom to eSign the document in the way they want to. The signer can write their full name, can draw the signature, or can choose to go with just the initials. Revv’s eSign provides bank-grade security. You can even simply send your document to receive consent with the Accept/Reject button, also known as the soft sign.
- Easy accessibility – In a world where a mobile device and internet connection is ubiquitous, documents need to be mobile-friendly. Revv enables users to view and even sign documents using their mobile devices. You can directly share the Magic link or Snap link of a document.
- User management – Revv gives full freedom to the template owner to choose the users of their template. With Revv, you can manage who can use, view, or access a particular template. Such user restriction decreases the risk of exposing crucial data or information.
- Cloud storage – Revv’s cloud-based central repository can save huge volumes of data.
Revv offers competitive pricing that suits the budget of various organizations. It offers options between monthly and annual billing. Know more about Revv’s pricing plans in detail.
Document workflow automation is easy with Revv
The process of digitizing and simplifying the entire document lifecycle is called document workflow automation. But, the process is usually time consuming, expensive, and complicated.
Do you face similar problems trying to automate your processes?
Leave all your worries behind with Revv by your side. Here is how Revv helps you automate your business documents –
- It makes drafting loads of documents easy
- Lets you pre-fill template documents using Google sheets
- Sends multiple documents for eSign
- Ensures unlimited and reliable storage
- Allows you to analyze documents
- Easily connects with CRM and other software
Whether you are a big corporation, SMB, or even a freelancer, having the right documents at the right place can be of a huge advantage, especially during disputes. These documents are designed to safeguard your business even before you get a foothold in the market.
While registered legal professionals can help you draft documents and ensure they are compliant with your legislature, Revv, a simple cloud-based document management system provides a single platform for both parties to collaborate and work together.
It also comes with pre-designed templates to help you get started. Users can even edit documents using the drag and drop interface. Sign up for Revv free plan to experience a frictionless document management process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the meaning of “business document”?
Business processes require documents like quotes, proposals, letters, agreements, contracts, etc. which are called business documents. Each business document is sensitive as it governs the functioning of the organization in the future. You can leverage document management software for complete document control. Such software helps improve overall business efficiency.
What internal documents does a business need?
Be it large organizations or smaller startups, all types of businesses need internal business documents for frictionless functioning. Employment agreements, business plans, offer letters, and sales orders are some of the internal documents that a business must have in place. This is because right document management is a preferred business practice as it brings professionalism to an organization.
Organizations should leverage web-based documents and document management software for better records management.
What is the best document management system?
The best document management system is the one that is easy to use and offers document control. A software that allows users to integrate with other apps, store documents, access document templates, and e-signature, and have mobile access to the document is the best.