A major input to the accounting department is the flood of paperwork that is first received by the mail room and then forwarded to the accounting staff. The controller has a considerable interest in ensuring that these documents are properly forwarded to the correct people within the accounting department.
Here are a number of ways to improve the interface between the mail room and the accounting department:
- Lockbox. Have customers send payments to a lockbox, so the payments never appear in the mail room at all. The same result is achieved when customers make electronic payments.
- Mail opening policy. Have the mail room staff open all mail, in case documents that the accounting staff should receive are instead sent to someone elsewhere in the company.
- Scanning. Have the mail room staff scan all incoming mail and then route the digitized documents to recipients through the company network. This is especially useful when the accounting department is not located near the mail room.
- Website forms. Create forms on the company's website and have customers enter information through the forms, rather than mailing them to the company. Examples are credit applications and W-9 forms.
These steps can improve the speed with which documents are received, route them completely around the mail room, or ensure that documents are routed correctly - all of which makes the job of the accounting staff easier.