Time to throw out the filing cabinet – How to go paperless
Do you dream of a work environment where paper is eliminated or greatly reduced? Talk of going paperless has been going on for years, but the reality is not many have achieved it due to cost issues, reluctance and privacy concerns.
With the advent of new technologies and improved cloud office solutions, the likelihood of you being able to get rid of the filing cabinets is now closer than ever.
By converting documents and other files into digital or electronic form, a business can:
- Minimise the need for storage space. Every now and then, some companies are forced to move to larger office spaces due to their increased requirement for physical storage of documents. By moving to paperless, you scan all those important documents and store them digitally in one location – lessening the need for filing cabinets.
- Boost document security. Sure, there’s always the possibility of hacks and unauthorised access to your electronic files. But with the right protection and safeguards, digital filing is much safer than having your important files stored in filing cabinets. They’re less likely to be destroyed in a fire or flood.
- Reduce operating costs. You can put the space once used for storage to more productive use or relocate to a smaller office or building. By investing in scanners and electronic storage, you can significantly eliminate the costs of printing, such as paper, ink and toner cartridges.
- Increase productivity and enjoy flexibility. The average time to retrieve and re-file a paper document is around 10 minutes. If you don’t have a filing system that’s built on easy retrieval, this activity can take hours – definitely not a productive use of time. Switching to a paperless approach allows you to quickly retrieve any document in seconds! Even multiple people can simultaneously retrieve the same document. Employees can work remotely and still be productive. Remote access may also pave the way for flexible working arrangements for your staff.
- Improve Customer Service. Improved productivity within your organisation means quicker response times to customer queries and requests. With a paperless system, you can quickly locate client documents and pull up information faster. Showing off your paperless office to current or potential clients is also a great way of adding value to your brand. It tells the client or prospect that you are committed to leveraging on technology to increase efficiency and the quality of your service.
Less paper is just the beginning of the payoff. Eventually, you’ll discover advantages unique to your office, work and procedures.
If you’re now thinking of going paperless, here are your options:
Storage – Where are you going to store the digital files?
- Dedicated on-site computer or server – A low-cost option for small businesses with limited resources. When you need more space, you can buy and install more hard drives.
- Document Management System or DMS (free or paid) – This allows you to see anyone who opens and manipulates any file because it leaves an audit trail which will inform you who did what, and when.
Tools and apps:
- Multi-monitor set-ups – With two monitors, several documents can be viewed and manipulated at once. Two is good, three is better
- Desktop/document scanners – Depending on your budget, you can either get a flatbed scanner or an all-in-one machine (printer, scanner, copier, fax).
- Genius Scan (free and paid subscriptions) – Compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. This app allows you to scan documents or images using a mobile device. It detects the frame of the document, crops it and enhances the colors to make it legible. Email or store the scans as JPEG or PDF with multiple pages. When you upgrade to Genius Scan+, you can share files with cloud-based services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
- QuickBooks Online (free trial, then paid subscriptions) – Compatible with Android and iOS. This allows you to create and send client invoices via email. You also can view and email financial reports, reconcile your books from automatically downloaded transactions, and handle employee payroll.
Whether you’re tired of the clutter or want to significantly improve your workflow, a paperless approach offers many advantages you shouldn’t ignore. It may seem overwhelming and even a little frightening at the beginning, but you can always start slow, integrating one system at a time.
We’d be happy help your business create a paperless future. The leading name for IT services in Sydney, contact us today to know more about your options.