3 Easy Steps to Managing Forms

Posted by Andrea Collatz on November 27, 2012

Sometimes it’s the little things that can cause the biggest headaches. The process of updating, maintaining, and tracking forms can be a major pain without an effective process in place. If your form process is currently ad-hoc, or worse, non-existent, consider putting a process in place to maintain consistency and your sanity.

Trust Company of America implemented a form process as a way to standardize and control form updates and distribution. Below you’ll find the three steps you can use to establish your own form process.

1. Select Formatting Programs

First, determine which programs you’ll use to update your forms. At Trust, we use Microsoft Word for formatting and layout, then convert to a PDF for field editing, testing, and reviewing. We then use Adobe LiveCycle for field creation and data tagging. No matter which programs you use to create forms, using the same programs will help you when you need to make updates, and will ensure consistent functionality.

2. Assign Roles to Team Members

Dedicating people to specific tasks can help maintain consistency and accountability during the process. For example, the forms team at Trust consists of the following roles:

  • Form Manager: manages the form process from beginning to end. Also responsible for writing and sourcing the content to be a consistent tone and flow. 
  • Form Editor: designs, edits, and formats the form layout.
  • Controller: makes the forms fillable and save-able, tracks versions and keeps master files.
  • Review Team: compliance and client service departments periodically review forms for accuracy and updates.

3. Create a Review Schedule

Develop a schedule for reviewing your forms. Trust reviews its forms for accuracy at least once a year. The review process should also include testing the forms to be sure they are functioning properly. You’ll also want to include a standardized version control notation so you always know which version is most current.

By standardizing your forms, you’ll be able to streamline the process, reduce errors, and maintain consistency in content and functionality. 

Feel free to share your process for managing forms in the comments below.

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