If you told someone in the 1980s that pens, pencils, and papers might become redundant someday, they would have scoffed at you and labeled you as crazy. However, as technology has progressed rapidly in recent years, and as information is increasingly being stored and shared digitally, the idea of a paperless office doesn’t seem as outlandish anymore. In fact, the rate at which businesses and economies are growing and changing, creating a paperless office for businesses is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity.
The chaotic world of documents
No business activity ever gets completed without some or the other form of documentation and paperwork. Even a simple transaction, such as the purchase of a stationery item, is recorded on a bill or a receipt (unless you’re a bit too cavalier with your finances). Regardless of the size of your business, you deal with a lot of paperwork, and if you want to scale your business, you know the paperwork is only going to get messier. Storing a large number of documents in itself a tiresome job; keeping them organized, secure, and ready for retrieval anytime can be even more cumbersome. For instance, if you run a construction company, there’s an awful lot of files you need to deal with, right from project proposals, site plans, contracts, and bill of materials to purchase receipts, permits, and invoices. Now, with every new client you get, the pile of papers you have just keeps multiplying.
The changing world of business
While you’re busy dealing with the unmanageable pile of documents in your organization, the dog-eat-dog world of business keeps moving on without you. While you’re still trying to find an old project plan for reference, your competitor is signing a new client. While you scour through your files at the end of the month for auditing, your competitor is out there pitching his services to dozens of prospective clients. When you’re waiting to get a proposal edited and perfected by your team, your competitor is expanding his team by hiring new people to keep up with his growing business. By the time you’re done dealing with your chaotic world of documents, your competitors and the market will have evolved by leaps and bounds. It may seem like hyperbole, but it’s not too far from reality. Keeping up with the ever-evolving market becomes an uphill battle when there are inefficiencies in your internal processes. Although document management is an essential part of doing business, it needn’t be as time-consuming as it currently is.
The solution lies in a paperless office
Having a paperless office can be the single, most effective solution to all your document management problems. Having a paperless office means using electronic means of document storage and management, such as using a document management software (DMS). A DMS allows you to keep all your documents in a well-organized, secure, and easy-to-access location. Along with the ability to add all your .docx and .pdf files, certain advanced DMS also come with premium features that allow you to scan and convert paper files into .pdf documents and index them automatically. The ideal DMS should enable you to transition smoothly to a fully paperless office by allowing day forward scanning, i.e., scanning and digitizing paper documents as soon as they are generated or received after installing the DMS, and supporting backfile scanning, i.e., scanning and digitizing all the older paper files to integrate with the new paperless system.
A good DMS even lets you automate your document approval process by creating and executing workflows to replicate your office’s otherwise manual approval process. A paperless office enabled by a DMS allows you to:
- Save time by eliminating the need for long, complicated processes of filing and retrieving documents. A DMS can automatically index newly added files and arrange them in any way you need so that you don’t have to spend time creating folders or typing metadata. Retrieve any necessary file in a matter of seconds!
- Declutter your desk and focus on what really matters. Access any piece of information or any file whenever you want, using DMS, without being distracted by piles of paper on your desk when you work.
- Ensure compliance by organizing necessary files and be prepared for audits without expending your mental bandwidth on fretting over regulations. DMS creates automatic audit trails to ensure the integrity of documents.
- Improve service quality by documenting important information, such as customer data, and using it to provide better, personalized customer service.
- Expand your business with complete focus, as you no longer have to worry about routine paperwork and compliance.
The world’s smartest, busiest, and consequently the most successful people are often highly organized. They make things easier for themselves and eliminate any chance of inefficiency by automating the less important, routine tasks. Automating tasks enables professionals to focus on the big picture and make time for big decisions. The freedom to make decisions not only allows business individuals to keep up with the changing world but also enables them to create a change in the world. If you wish to see your business rank among the best, you’ll need to add discipline and organization to your office culture. Creating a paperless office to digitize all your paperwork is the right way to take control of your files and get started on your path to maximum productivity.