Document management

A document to understand easily (1)

A season for finance/accounting to move comes in Japan.
A fiscal year of most of Japanese companies end in March. Then May or June, after the closing in March, is the good time to change jobs.

A job change means your role is taken over by someone else, or you take over someone’s role.
You are happy if you have your successor to take over you, or you have the predecessor you take over.
However you may retire before your successor joins, or your predecessor may have already left when you join.

You may have to do your job by your own based on documents your predecessor left if your predecessor has already left.

In Japan, sometimes job descriptions are not always clear, or roles and responsibilities are not always clearly defined.
Some works may be highly dependent on individuals and not documented enough.

I have seen the following situation when I joined without my predecessor remaining.

1. Paper documentations
1-1. It is unknown where the documents are stored.
1-2. Document list of carton box archive is not organized (e.g. just written “xx documents”) and you have to open all documents to see what are stored.
1-3. A formulas is unknown and it is hard to know what items are calculated to a certain figure in a spreadsheet.
1-4. It is unknown where the file is when you see a printed document.

2. PC files
2-1. Folders are not organized or structured systematically, it is unknown where a certain document in a certain period is stored (e.g. “Annual” and “annual” folder may be found)
2-2. Many similar files are found and it is hard to know which is the latest. (a file is saved later than the “final” file)
2-3. A source is not described and it is unknown how the figure is retrieved.
2-4. Assumptions are unknown for a budget or a forecast.

The conditions above may bring a successor troubles.

I have some skills to dig out documents, to analyze how the document is created, or to find a ‘missing-ring”.
However it is the best to avoid such troubles above.

I will describe how to avoid next time.