EDI Archive: Is Your Business Fully Prepared for an EDI Audit?By: Pasquale Gatti | October 15, 2018
In today’s fast-paced business landscape, real-time message exchanges between companies must be treated carefully and maintained in perfect condition because they constitute the basis of ongoing business relationships and historical records. Invoices, contracts, specifications, and purchase orders are all documents that need be preserved for long periods of time for historical business KPIs, or simply by legal imperatives that require filing and custody for a set period. An EDI archive just happens to be a supplementary benefit grown from the same storage-tracking activities and tenets of our flagship software, Syncrofy. The permissions in Syncrofy enable the search for documents, conversations, exceptions, companies, products, and users by:
- Business key (PO Number, Invoice Number)
- Technical identifier (ISA identifier, Control Number)
- Partner or Division
With Syncrofy acting as your archive interface, you’re free to fast search your historical data with unlimited retention and accurate document retrieval.
EDI best practices: Are there best practices for retaining EDI data?
“When a company’s supply chain transactions are fully converted from paper to electronic format, the organization may also compare data from its EDI (or other eB2B) system with data from the ERP system to flag suspicious transactions. EDI systems are effectively “closed,” meaning that altering their data is difficult even for experienced professionals. At minimum, an office worker scheming to alter EDI data would have to conspire with an IT professional who has administrative access to the EDI system.”
“In comparing data across systems, an auditor can check that the most recent version of the purchase order in the ERP system matches the most recent version in the EDI/eB2B system, and that the most recent version of the invoice received from the vendor via EDI/eB2B matches what was imported into the ERP system. If a proper vendor compliance program is in place, the last acknowledged versions of the purchase order and invoice should match. Companies should be suspicious of any mismatches, and should investigate any discrepancies.” (Treasury & Risk Online, a provider of strategic content on regulatory changes and best practices for treasury and finance executives)
Maintaining electronic files can be a difficult task because they lack proper search and storage controls. This can lead to many questions, such as:
- Are EDI records (documents) maintained?
- Are these records maintained for enough time?
- Can you search your data storage to find a particular order or interchange?
In many cases, electronic data or interchanges created in your system and with your trading partners become your legal invoice and must be maintained as required by your corporate policy. On average, most EDI translator applications maintain this data 30-90 days before being shipped to an obscure data store. The rationale is simple: the more historical data that is kept within the production EDI system, the slower the system gets. Unfortunately, this makes research and historical business analysis very difficult if not impossible.
You may need to comb or Grep through hundreds or even thousands of cryptic directories and search raw EDI data. Naming conventions, directory trees, and EDI contextual data are far from intuitive. Simply searching for the actual data that was communicated to a trading partner may not even be relevant without seeing the entire EDI timeline of transmitted documents.
Your task would begin with searching archive directory data. For example, after only a few days a typical EDI directory structure will begin to grow and look something like:
But with Syncrofy, your task would begin by simply searching the archive directory data based on the PO number or other identifier. It’s as easy as that!
Without Syncrofy, your purchase order would look like this.
With Syncrofy, you’re dealing with something a lot more manageable.
Additionally, without Syncrofy you would be challenged to locate and review all corresponding interchanges associated with a single business transaction (see below how Syncrofy correlated and synchronized all transactions in a timeline for quick and simple viewing). Drill down on any transaction to get complete detail and view the raw EDI data.
What does the IRS have to say?
Over the last few years the IRS has proposed several rules relating to generating and retaining electronic documents. They require EDI-type organizations to not only generate adequate electronic documents to support their transactions, but to retain these documents for audit and verification purposes. Any violation exposes companies to possible significant fees, penalties, and brand damage. (You can read more about the IRS Revenue Procedure 97-22: Guidance for Maintaining Computer Records here.)
But with Syncrofy, you’re covered when it comes to keeping your electronic documents safe. Syncrofy stores all interchange data in a secure, encrypted database that includes access controls and user security. Access to this data may only be obtained via the application with user and provided data permissions.
How do you translate complicated EDI archive data into actionable information?
No matter if you have a stand-alone, in-house EDI system with old EDI translation software, EDI managed services, or iPaaS, Syncrofy is designed to optimize the visibility and control a user has over their EDI operations.
Syncrofy’s purpose is to provide information about the files and documents that have been processed through your EDI solution. It has the ability to answer common questions such as:
- Has an invoice been sent
- If so, when?
- Was the transaction functionally acknowledged by my trading partner?
Syncrofy also features a very useful intelligent document storage and retrieval service with advanced search capabilities. It also provides several out-of-the-box reports and dashboards based on your EDI documents which can be tailored to your specific business goals. Daily, weekly, and monthly reports on both inbound and outbound data files can be easily accessed and monitored.
And it’s not just current data that can be analyzed with Syncrofy. Older, archived EDI data can loaded to provide historical context and analysis of previous business cycles. Additionally, if you have implemented new KPIs and business rules, you can replay these past transactions against your current requirements. Simply, enable access to your historical data stores, load into Syncrofy and click the Replay button. They are now indexed into your historical archive and ready for analysis!
The implication of not being able to access historical data dissuades businesses from researching and running analytics on archived records. We believe this information should be readily available to you and your extended teams. In addition to securing your EDI archives, Syncrofy also provides:
- Self-service EDI tools
- A centralized view of your data for your entire organization
- Easy-to-use EDI software interface
- Original EDI accessibility
- Easy-to-use web-based interface designed specifically for non-technical users
- Access to the information and data your team needs in a way they can understand
With Syncrofy, you can get ahead of your audit and compliance requirements and quickly and easily address business challenges before they become larger problems. To learn more about the power of Syncrofy and what it can do for your business, visit www.syncrofy.com.
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