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Why Being A Paperless Company Is Essential
Documents are undeniably essential to virtually any business operation. We use them for all kinds of reasons and purposes. We create contracts, forms, standard operating procedures, invoices, agreements, and all other types of documents. A company can have hundreds, even thousands, of documents at any given time. And managing these documents — as mundane as that might sound — can actually be a big make or break process for any company.
Over the years, businesses and brands have started to improve document processes. Thankfully, there are now many document management software options to help with this process. But it’s surprising how many organizations are still not fully convinced that digital document management systems are the way to go. So let’s talk about how crucial it is for any company in any industry of any size to become a paperless company, or at the very least, to lessen hard copy documents significantly.
Various Paperless Company Benefits
Let’s look at some of the many benefits that your company will experience when you choose to go paperless or minimize hardcopy documents. This list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully, it will be enough to convince you or your stakeholders to make the switch if you haven’t yet.
One apparent element to successful organizations is their ability to save resources through their operations. Well, using document management software can help save a considerable amount of dollars. Just the space-saving alone can help cut real estate rentals. And saving on rental space will result in lesser rental and storage costs too. No more bulky file cabinets or mounds of documents taking up several square meters at work. Then, there are the savings you make on printing costs and messenger fees…
Studies also show that companies lose $120 when a staff member misplaces or loses a document. So, you not only save money you’re already spending. You also avoid losing money potentially when documents get lost. And in manual systems, it’s really a matter of when and not if.
Manual paper management systems don’t only take up considerable money. It also eats up a lot of time. Without a paperless document management system, staff members can spend up to several hours a week looking for documents manually instead of simply doing a quick search on a digital system.
There’s also the issue of getting documents signed by higher-ups. Around 45% of company employees say that it usually takes over one week to have a document signed. With a document management system, you can get that document signed faster and start that project or onboard that new client as soon as possible. With saved time comes faster operations and a whole lot more milestones reached.
Speaking of milestones, saved time and resources will almost always lead to better workforce productivity. Because company staff members are no longer sifting through paperwork half of the workday, they can get more important and high-level work done.
Sometimes, working on document revisions can also be a hassle. But with digital systems, teams can simply edit documents collaboratively, whether it’s a PDF or a cloud document. By working together, teams can get more done together too.
Less carbon footprint
The environmental benefits of paperless environments are also another advantage of going paperless. While this is not something that directly affects the company’s bottom line, it is something that brings immediate benefits to the environment. And in the long run, we all benefit from having a cleaner environment.
Paper usage accounts for a large portion of tree cutting, Americans alone use up to 85,000,000 tons of paper a year. Being able to lower that would help us save more trees and avoid calamities like floods, erosion, landslides, and so on. While it might feel like deciding to go paperless as one company might not make a difference, imagine what a collective effort to make the shift will do. In the long run, we can all make a difference in saving the environment if we stay consistent and do it together.
Ease of information transfer
Information dissemination is another crucial part of business operations. In the past, people relied on memos to send out company announcements, bulletins, and other communications. Now, companies can use document management systems to store and share information across the board. That includes standard operating procedure documents, company memos, changes to the structure, and so on.
There’s also the ease of transferring documents such as invoices and expense requests to make it more accessible to make money online. Gathering electronic signatures should be an adequate standard for these internal documents as well.
Managers and business owners are less overwhelmed
Business owners and managers can easily get overwhelmed by paperwork, especially when it comes in droves and mounds. And that’s what usually happens with traditional document management. But going digital will actually help spread out that workload for business owners as they’re easier to organize in a digital system.
Relying on a digital document management system also makes these documents more accessible and easier to scan, check, and digitally sign. It’s no wonder why 77% of business owners want to access a file remotely.
Some people think that having PDFs your team can fill out isn’t the safest way to store documents. But there are actually compelling reasons to believe that digital files are much safer than physical ones. For one, physical files can be leaked and shared just as easily as digital ones. Then there’s the issue of losing physical documents to untoward incidents like fires, floods, termites, and so on.
Documents can be more secure in many cases when kept digitally. Most, if not all, high-level document management systems have advanced security settings that can allow companies to give tiered access to people in their organization and outside of it as they see fit.
There are definitely more reasons to believe that paperless documents can benefit an organization, but these should be more than adequate to convince anyone to make the switch.
How To Make The Switch To Paperless
So if you want to switch to paperless systems as an organization but don’t know how, these are the simple steps you need to take in order to do so.
- Determine documents you want to digitize — What documents do your organization currently use? Create a paperless document repository and store all your documents in soft copy format, so it will be easier for you and your team to access moving forward.
- Choose a document management software — There are many paperless applications out there, but you will want to find the one that fits your budget, needs, and context best. Try to get three options and then land on a final one with the team that will be in charge of using the system.
- Roll out in phases — When introducing a paperless system to a company that’s been used to traditional document management for a long time, there will be a learning curve. So try to roll out in phases and give everyone lead time to get used to the new system before shooting for maximum compliance.
Paperless systems can bring many advantages to an organization, but it starts with having the willingness to work on the transition. And while it will be an added workload for select people in the beginning, it will be worth it as you start to experience all the benefits we talked about above and so much more.
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