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In an age dominated by technology, why are we still seeing businesses – and startups especially – printing, copying, faxing, scanning and then filing trillions of pieces of paper? Did you know that globally businesses continues to use paper printouts to archive 62% of all their important documents?
So why is it so difficult for businesses to make the switch from printed paper to digital archiving and storage?
Three simple words – fear, uncertainty and doubt (or FUD for short)
I have spent countless hours in consultation with business heads, both locally and globally, and there seems to be the same pattern when it comes to going paperless. “My accounts or legal departments must have hard copies of everything and then keep them for five years”.
An interesting fact is that all these documents/contracts/invoices/statements/credit notes, etc. all started out as a document on a computer, were saved as a digital file, were printed out and posted to the client, and then were put in the filing trays to be filed.
This then takes admin staff to manage, sort out, file and organise stuff for deep storage; at a substantial monthly cost to your business. But for the moment, let’s go back to the issue of “We need the paper copies for legal purposes” and unpack that further:
Is digital legal and compliant?
Digital image copies of information that have been converted from paper and microfilm are the legal equivalent of their paper counterparts and may be considered as admissible in evidence as the original paper record in any legal or administrative proceeding.
But we have to keep the original!
Digital image copies and all other types of copies are acceptable in any legal or administrative proceeding regardless of whether the original is in existence or not.
Let’s look at a few other factors that you may need to review before you make the leap to paperless.
Take a look at your business as it is right now. If you glance around your desk or over to the desk next to you, what do you see: paper; files; notebook and probably a pad of post-it-notes.
Now pick up your cellphone and go into your gallery and take a look at all the pictures you have in there. You trust your phone’s technology enough to take and store your precious memories – so why would you not apply the same thinking to your business?
Everything can be stored digitally. Everything can be filed in the place that you want it. Did you know that more than 20% of all your paper files either go missing or are misfiled – taking up precious man hours to search for them!
Going the paperless route:
Improves productivity — no getting up to to the filing cabinet or retrieve a box from deep storage. You just click a button and go to the place where it is filed on your server or in the cloud.
Risk reduction — about 80% of all business “paperwork” is still retained and stored on paper. What happens if there is a flood or fire? Your documents are gone for good. What then happens to your business and all the information that you have on your clients or suppliers, agreements, sales records, etc.
Cost savings — on the cost of admin staff / cost of filing cabinets / cost of storage off site. At least 15% of your business revenue is spent on creating, managing and distributing documents and at least 60% of your employees’ time is spend working and managing documents.
It’s time to think tactically
Don’t rush into the process of going paperless; take a few simple steps first:
- A printer, copier and scanner that save to pdf are NOT a business workflow solution — it is a product that copies, scans and prints.
- Do some research and find a company that will come in and assess your business needs, instead of just trying to sell you a solution. How can they if they do not know how your business works and what your business goals are.
- Select a company that has a solid reputation in the market place and has the latest software technology and top-of-the-range equipment – some of these products are: Avision / Inotec / Iris / Zuetschel / paperfreeweb.
You have invested time and money into your business in terms of human resources, technology, marketing and getting new business; you have a state-of-the-art website; you are linked to Twitter, Facebook, etc. – from a technology front-end point of view your “shop” is looking good, BUT you won’t survive with elegant digital front-end and paper-clogged processes on the back-end.
Make your business life easier – call in a paperless expert to help you grow your business into the future.