Emails - To Save or Not To Save......That is the question | AccountingWEB

Emails - To Save or Not To Save......That is the question

Hi All,

We are going down the paperless route and are trying to decide the most effective and least time consuming method of saving emails as the vast majority of our correspondence is sent this way. Does anyone have any useful ideas on this issue?


Email Management

Doug112 | | Permalink

To be upfront, the company I work for sell Invu and this is a common topic that we see.

With regard to your question there are 2 situations that we come across regularly. The first is to make the employees responsible for the emails that they receive and send. So they file them, using a naming convention, this could be in network folders or a document management solution, with the latter being more effective and quicker for users to save the email.

The second option is to automatically archive all email going in and out of a busines. This is usually used by large companies but can work well for smaller businesses. The main issue with this method is that all the "what time are you going to lunch" and similarly irrelavent emails will be saved.

Storing emails in a document management system is the best way to manage emails as they are totally secure, searchable, audited and easy to share.  There are ways to manage them in a network structure but these methods are manually intensive, inconsistent and open to error.

What I usually say to my clients is to consider who is sending what type of emails, whether you want to save each email of a conversation or just the final email (best practice is to save each email as they are considered to be individual documents)Of course as you suggest the most important aspect is to get a process in place that takes up as little time and effort as possible to save the emails in a consistent and easy to follow way.

If users are capable of saving emails as they come in and go out by clicking save, finidng the right folder, applying a sensible name, then, depending on the volume of traffic a manual method would serve you well. If you want this to be as automated as possible, and you want to be able to easily and quickly retrieve information in ever increasing correspondence files it may serve you well to consider looking at document management.



peter brigham | | Permalink

Having worked with both types of filing systems (manual and automated) both have their pitfalls.

The benefits of a central pool of e-mail on a particular subject/client are hugh, and I am suprised at the lack of solutions (Invu appart), and also the number of big companies that have not even started to understand the importance of it. 

For the manual system you absolutely cannot rely on staff filing all relevant incoming and outgoing e-mails. They will always miss the odd one, which might be the vital one.

For the automated system someone still needs to spend time to ensure that they are filed corrected. But this may be valauble senior staff time if the job is to be done well.

The emails need to be searchable to make the system useful, but it is also important that the contents of the attachments are searcheable/indexed.

Does anyone have any additional recomendations for a Document Management System which integrates emails (from Outlook)?





Doug112 | | Permalink

You make a good point Peter with regard to employees missing emails, which is something that can cause difficulties. A lot of businesses currently have employees filing emails in folders and trust them to manage this, using a "manual" method within a document management system , which usually involves a few mouseclick, is an extension of this, but offers many benefits at the other end, such as those mentioned above.

Automatic email capture saves documents automatically in pre-specified locations, the only problem that could arise is that the indexes on the documents themselves may not be very flexible.

With OCR technology you should be able to search email text and attachement text as well as the body of an email.

This subject is a balancing act and as with most changes to internal procedure requires careful planning, not only as to how things will be done, but importantly, how effectively they be work once implemented.



Doug112 | | Permalink

Hi Peter,

Thanks for your message, I attempted to send my details but it looks like you aren't set up to receive PMs.

Please feel free to give me a call on 020 8681 0000.

Many thanks and best regards,


Automatic Email Capture

alisonjackson | | Permalink

At Lindenhouse we have written an automatic email capture product that will file all inbound and outbound emails onto a client file in a document management system automatically without any manual intervention. This ensures peace of mind that every piece of correspondence is captured and it also legally compliant.

The email rules can be simple or complex and can be configured to capture all emails or specific emails. The rules can be set up to link in with email addresses that are held in a database like Iris,Sage,Star, CCH, Act etc or the email addresses can be built manually.

Do get in touch if you would like to learn more!




Automatic email capture is the way forward!

thelma65 | | Permalink

We have many customers using both invu and Virtual Cabinet - these solutions we have created an automatic email capture tool and works very effectivley - we have over 500 clients using this now and is a must have tool with any EDm solution -

give me a call if you would like to discuss?


0754 5431478

give me a call peter

thelma65 | | Permalink

i have supplied automatic email tools for outlook for some years now linking to many paractice solutions and edm solutions


carl chambers

0754 5431478

Mailsafe for client email filing

MikeFreeman | | Permalink

A lot of Accountants are using our Mailsafe email filing software for Outlook and Exchange and has both manual and automatic indexing features to save more time (emails can be tagged with up to six index fields such as Client ID, Client Name, Category etc).  Emails that were previously 'hidden' in user's private Outlook folders can be given access to other members within the firm - emails are stored in a central database but can be accessed via Outlook.  It also has a built in search funcationality to enable you to search for emails from other applications such as IRIS, CCH, Rapport, SAGE etc. 

Mailsafe is great for those firms that may have their own DIY document managment (i.e. you save client documents to a folder on your network but have an issue with how to handle emails) and may not want the complete culture change or expense of a full document management system.  If you already have a document management solution, most of the Mailsafe features can sit alongside and compliment what you already have.  It works for both POP3 email and Exchange users.  Please take a look at what we do here at or our main product site at

Email management is our expertise and we would be happy to talk to or advise any members on email policy.

Mike Freeman

scanw0rx's picture

A new integration suite from Scan Worx

scanw0rx | | Permalink

We have just released our new INVU integration suite called INVU worx and it includes our new email capture module called EMAIL worx.

01223 597808

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Advice and ideas about putting paperless processes to work within accountancy practices