Spring cleaning is not just for the home. It should be applied to all aspects of life, especially business. In preparation for the dreaded tax season, company owners nationwide had scoured through storage boxes and filing cabinets to dust off old financial documents. Was everything you needed easily retrievable? How much time was spent digging through files? Did any documents go missing? If you had to stop and think about the answers to these questions, then it’s time to put an end to your paper-based methods.
Spring cleaning is a managerial event that can immediately make your business more productive. With both Earth Day and Arbor Day occurring this week, now is the perfect time to “spring-clean” your office by freeing it from paper. Going paperless won’t only tidy the physical matter, but more importantly it will clean up your processes. Wouldn’t you like to de-clutter your work environment? A paperless office is possible; start with the following four steps.
It doesn’t take long for documents to pile up. I encourage you to immediately go through that pile, and begin by shredding any unnecessary files. For the documents you keep, don’t just messily hide them in boxes and drawers – that’s how files get lost. Scan them into an electronic filing system so that they are securely stored within an accessible digital database. Before doing so, it is important to understand which files to purge, and which to save.
Springtime comes as a reminder to get organized! Creating order within a chaotic office provides a sense of accomplishment and confidence in your operations. Once you have decided which documents to shred, now it’s time to scan the “keep” pile into a content management system and decide how to organize them while doing so. You will no longer be frantically searching through contracts or invoices to address customer inquiries. When scanning documents into a document management system, you are immediately prompted on where to store each document, to ensure no file goes unacknowledged during the archiving process.
Electronic content management allows documents to be retrieved in a moment’s notice, cutting hours of unnecessary work out of an employee’s day. Users can create different archives to address organizational needs specific to your business. I would suggest organizing files into archives labeled by department and/or purpose, like: tax returns, contracts, investment statements, employee files or Accounting, Sales, Operations, etc. Getting electronically organized will save you time while putting you back in control of business operations. Efficient organization creates an ease of access to documents, increased security of confidential materials and a faster, effective way of finding files.
Utilizing the latest web form technology will help increase process efficiency in a business environment. Now that you’ve got all of your paper files scanned into digital format, shredded, and neatly organized within an electronic repository, a great way to keep incoming papers from piling up is to use an eForms creator. Instead of having customers fill out forms by hand in a time-consuming process, dynamic electronic forms can immediately capture data, even from other business applications. Then, these electronic documents can easily be routed through a structured workflow and notifications can automatically be sent to the appropriate recipients for data collection purposes. Using electronic forms increases operational processing to provide extra time to get more critical tasks done.
Don’t forget to be an end-user of eForms as well! This may include attending to company expenses by making utility payments online or purchasing supplies from vendors through web forms. Choose paperless billing when available and pay as many bills as possible online. Have company bills be routed to an archive and incorporated into a workflow so that they are approved for payment before securely stored within a singular digital location.
Stress less about physical paper by leveraging the power of the cloud. Using cloud-enabled technology is a cost-efficient, paperless solution worth considering for the workplace. More companies are using cloud computing to store data, even financial records, because there is no fear of misfiling or losing documents. When using cloud storage, you can easily file things away and quickly retrieve them when needed, regardless of location or device.
Cloud technology makes it very easy to organize data, so why wouldn’t you take advantage of accessible electronic storage? Knowing exactly where critical and sensitive business information is can substantially speed up important financial processes. Plus with cloud based software solutions, companies are able to employ remote conferences without restriction related to travel arrangements. Furthermore, cloud-enabled document management allows for editing, organizing and distribution of information in a way that is uniform and consistent. Multiple users can access the same information at the same time while adding their own notes and edits to documents, with the back-end security of automatic audit trail monitoring.
It doesn’t take much to spring clean your office. With advances in technology, most organizations today are operating with higher productivity and a lower dependency on physical paper. Take a step in the right direction and discover how document management solutions can help your business transform into a paperless enterprise.