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Home   >Collaboration 101

What is document collection?

April 2, 2024
What is Document Collection? 
In external collaborations, document collection is the process of gathering digital documents from customers, suppliers, partners, or any external stakeholder.  

Document collection is the process of gathering documents from various stakeholders, including those outside one’s organization, like customers, suppliers, and partners (or any external stakeholder). This dynamic process, bridging a requester and a responder, aims to ensure that all necessary documentation is collected to meet business goals. While it looks straightforward—make a request and receive documents—the reality is a bit more nuanced. For example, if we look more carefully, we can see that there are two main types: project-focused and archive-centric. 

  • Project-focused document collection focuses on collecting documents related to a specific project or collaboration.
  • Archive-centric document collection emphasizes the collection of documents for record keeping, long-term storage, or archiving.
There are multiple types of document collection processes

When working with people outside your organization, project-focused is much more common because external collaborations are often projects themselves. They tend to revolve around specific goals with well-defined timelines, requiring asynchronous, agile, and auditable exchanges of documents, requests, questions, and comments.

The Typical Document Collection Process

If we sketch an idealized process, we can see it’s not quite as simple as “request document, get document.” The process starts with a request but then moves through stages of submission, validation, and clarification. Finally, it culminates in the 'Wrap-up & Archive' phase, showcasing the project-focused nature of the document collection collaboration. What’s notable is the amount of back and forth between the two parties. 

Typical document collection process flow

Consider the following real-life examples: financial audits or KYC. 

In the audit use case, the parties involved are the auditor and the organization being audited.  The process begins with a request for financial records. Auditors submit this request to the company under review, who then provides the necessary documents. These documents undergo rigorous examination for accuracy and adherence to regulations, potentially leading to requests for further information or clarifications. Once satisfied, the auditors confirm the validity of the financial statements and proceed to archive the documentation, responses to questions, and supplemental evidence, creating an auditable trail. 

For KYC, financial institutions initiate the process by requesting personal and financial documents from new clients. These documents are critically evaluated to verify the client's identity and assess risk. Clients might be asked for additional information or to clarify discrepancies. Upon successful verification, the institutions proceed to wrap up and securely archive the client's information, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and establishing a basis for ongoing due diligence.

External Collaboration Platforms and Document Collection

TakeTurns supports document collection

Document collection is often performed via email, file sharing, or pure-play document collection utilities. When collecting documents from customers, suppliers, partners (or any external stake holder) it’s worth taking a look at external collaboration tools (e.g. TakeTurns), or external collaboration platforms. 

The reason is that these tools are designed to support the entire external collaboration. They’re: 

  • Agile: They include comprehensive features such as file sharing, version management, and chat (and of course, document collection features) to support the entire process.
  • Asynchronous: These platforms facilitate collaboration across different schedules and time zones, accommodating the logistics of external partnerships.
  • Auditable: With built-in tracking for all interactions and document exchanges, ensuring transparency and ease in compliance efforts.

Finally, it’s worth noting that these platforms often have a mechanism to “wrap up”–or formally end–the collaboration.  Typically, an archive of the collaboration that contains the full set of collected documents (along with messages, chats, and other support materials) that can be submitted into records retention to comply with regulations or internal policies. 


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