Digital Document Management For a Paperless Office: How to Get Started

If you’re thinking of making the switch to digital documentation, you’re probably aware that there are many benefits to establishing a paperless office. These benefits include reduced storage space, easier document retrieval, and enhanced security. But before converting all your paperwork to electronic formats, it’s important to know which documents are worth digitizing.

Although every company’s needs will differ, there are some factors you should keep in mind when going paperless. You will most likely convert your files in stages as you work with a trusted document management system. Consider this list of document types that should be digitized right away.

First Priority: Accounts Payable & Receivable, and Expense Report Management

The best way to increase office efficiency is to convert regularly used documents into digital versions. Customer invoices, service receipts and other expenses are just some of the items that serve well in an electronic format. But because these documents will be handled by people outside your company, you must make sure everyone is comfortable using digitized copies.

Be aware that some parties may insist on interacting with your business using paper documentation, such as legal or contractual documentation. In these circumstances, be prepared to communicate in the client’s preferred method. Despite today’s tech-based environment, your business must demonstrate some flexibility even if your ultimate goal is to become 100% paperless.

Key Considerations: Hard Copies of Archived Records

On the other end of this spectrum are files that do not require regular access. Archived documents, such as tax records and business licenses, are just some of the items that should be digitized immediately. By converting them, you’ll be able to free up valuable office space. Ash Conversions’ document capturing solution can reduce storage space by 60-80%.

Confidential files can also be protected with an electronic passcode — a feature that would otherwise be unavailable with hard copies. Obtain peace of mind knowing that your most sensitive info is securely stored in an electronic database that requires authorized access.

Creating Enduring Change: Internal Communications Made Easy

Whether it’s project status updates or department memos, consider digitizing all internal communications. Because your company’s employees will be the only ones interacting with these files, you should have no problem integrating them into your document management solution.

By converting all internal correspondence into digital formats, your employees will be able to share and access these files within seconds. A cloud-based document retrieval system means information sharing is a breeze. Employees can easily collaborate and respond to queries in a virtual setting, eliminating the need to shuffle papers back and forth.

Moving Forward: Secure Document/Data Capture & Processing

Most companies keep detailed records of their employees for HR purposes. Social insurance numbers, emergency contact information and direct deposit details are often collected for administrative reasons. These types of documents are often not used on a daily or even weekly basis but rather for reference purposes. In this case, digital copies of these documents can be beneficial for your business. If your employees fill out this information on paper, consider digitizing these files right away.

Hard copies can go missing, creating opportunities for identity theft. Ensure your employees’ personal information is secure by using intelligent data capture solutions. Although manual data entry is often the best method, there are ways to take advantage of today’s automated technology.

Interactive Customer Documents & Agreements

If your business requires clients to sign a waiver or fill out other types of paperwork, your office would benefit from a digitized process. For now, convert your existing hard copies into digital formats. But going forward, consider setting up tablets so your clients can fill out these forms electronically. Although some customers, such as the elderly, may need help navigating a tablet, you’ll find the majority of your clientele will have no problem with this new digitized process.

Final Steps: Easy Document Retrieval & Backups

Whether your most important files are in paper or electronic format, make sure you have digital backups of these items. Government records, business licenses and special accreditations can go missing over the years. In some cases, you may be forced to navigate complex bureaucracy to get replacements. Save yourself a headache by making duplicate copies and storing them in a secure electronic database for easy retrieval.

When converting hard copies, be sure that you are choosing the best format for each type of document. For example, documents pertaining to ongoing projects should always be editable. But records that should never be altered, such as tax slips, should be in an image format. Differentiating between these two file types will allow for greater flexibility and control of your data.

By prioritizing your digitization project, you’ll ensure your journey to a paperless office is a smooth one. Before converting all your documents, consult a data management specialist to find the most effective solutions to address your unique needs.

For more information about digitizing your documents, call Ash Conversions at 1-800-719-9621 or contact us here.

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