Digitization of records is the new age method of data storage. Not only does going paperless clear clutter from your office environment, but it also helps your small and medium business (SMB) save money and project an eco-friendly image of your organization. In addition, paperwork is drastically cut down and the painstaking tasks of maintaining and stacking files are done away too.
Here are 5 easy tips to help spur company transit from paper to digital:
1. Avoid printing documents: The first step towards moving to paperless office is to take fewer and fewer print-outs. Share files without taking print outs by transferring soft copies. Use utilities such as Google Docs integrated with Gmail for sharing your work simultaneously with colleagues on a document or spreadsheet. Some file-sharing tools and services even provide the option of collaborating with others through a chat, making file sharing that much easier. Plus, saving your data is much simpler with most of the word processing or publishing tools offering to auto-save your work. You can also download these files from anywhere into your inbox as long as you have an internet connection.
2. Digitize your existing files: Go through your files and prioritize the data which can be digitized and saved by scanning or manual data entry. For large number of files and voluminous paperwork, it could be very time consuming and you might require hiring an external data digitization agency to help in the process. You can have a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in place with your vendors to ensure the protection of confidential data. After your data has been digitized, organize it for easier access using a Document Management System.
3. Cloud storage is the better way: Cloud storage is proclaimed as the best and most effective way to back up your data. That way, it is made accessible from anywhere in the globe with internet availability and it is secure in the cloud as well with data encryption. Many cloud based service providers provide you with data security and back-up, and can help you in backing up your important company documents in a secure and organized way.
4. Paperless invoices, statements, and bills: Online bill payments save you from stationery and postage expenses, apart from the time spent in manual efforts. Running your office finances through web payments is faster and easier to track. With many banks and services offering paperless statements and bills, online mode of payment and maintaining an online account is simpler. For merchants, certain Apps accept payment through smartphone and you can email receipts to customers instead of printing them.
5. Collaborate to avoid duplication: Today, most of the work demands teamwork rather than individuals working like islands. There is huge stress on collaborative effort through brainstorming discussions, creating and sharing minutes of meetings, creating and getting drafts reviewed, and merging drafts and sections into a bigger single document. This could be done by using applications that allow screen sharing during presentations, transmitting videos, sharing files, teleconferencing and accessing whiteboards. Finally, it is advisable to store and access the master document places at a single accessible-to-all location. This will avoid having multiple copies being stored at all computer terminals and sharing them over email leading to overflowing inbox or outbox. Save your hard disk and email server space for better purpose.
Technology provides a host of smart tools to help your office reduce paper waste. Every step towards a paperless environment will save you time, money, storage space and clutter. Such a step can be very useful for businesses especially small and medium businesses. Even though digitization of records may be time consuming initially but once the transition is complete, it will be a much appreciated step and will fetch the incentives and rewards in terms of long-term savings. Your company processes will become easier and faster, and it will be an important green step as well. Save paper, save trees.