Many businesses recognise that going paperless is the future. Converting physical into digital files and storing them in an organised system has multiple benefits, not least protecting the environment. A firm can also benefit from reduced operational costs, increased working efficiency and protection against data loss as electronic files can be backed up quite easily.
Don’t go paperless too early – Going paperless is a big change for any business. Don’t make the mistake of rushing to buy a scanning solution and rolling it out across the business without preparation time. Take time, plan out filing systems and map processes with your management team. A working group should be established and tasked with understanding how best to implement a paperless solution that works for the business.
Include management and employees in your decision – The working group should present its plan to the business and ask for feedback. The employees who will be working with the paperless solution should be involved in the planning process and management needs to champion it. Explaining the time and money-saving benefits to staff across the whole firm will go a long way in ensuring the project is adopted.
Map out a process for new paper and electronic documents – The working group should create suitable plans for the paper that is currently in the office or stored off-site. The group should also create processes that cover new paper and electronic documents that come into the office after the document management system has been put in place.
Rolling out the solution in a phased manner – Attempting to go paperless in all departments or locations at the same time can be problematic. Most businesses find they gain additional experience and knowledge as they fine-tune their programme during initial setup and use. The working group should outline, as part of its plan, how the rollout will come into effect. The group should regularly ask managers and teams for feedback so that systems and processes can be continuously improved upon and refined as the rollout progresses.
Use the right scanning solution – For most document imaging applications, scanner speed is going to be an important driver of efficiency. Ideally, the working group should speak with a knowledgeable consultant before purchasing any scanning hardware. If your business has an IT department or an IT manager, they should be fully involved in this conversation.
Consider legal and regulatory compliance matters – Before signing off on your paperless plan, you should consider any legal or compliance obligations that your business must adhere to. Most businesses are regulated in some way or another and you should consider seeking legal advice to ensure that you comply with regulations relating to customers records, filing, financial data management and data protection laws. It is important to be proactive in this regard as non-compliance can prove to be an expensive mistake for any business.