7 tips for going paperless – NY resolutions
7 tips for going paperless – NY resolutions
Published on December 14, 2021
New Year, Fresh Start…. No Paper?
I’m sure we all have New Year’s Resolutions on a personal level but what are your business or department’s new year’s resolutions?
If you’re looking at changing your business or department for the better but you’re not sure on where to start, why not consider reducing your stress levels by automating a process, freeing up your team and reducing paper.
Here are 7 easy tips to go paperless and unlike our other resolutions these should be easy to implement and stick to:
1. Forget the Backlog
It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s a trap a lot of people tend to fall in to, do not look backwards. The first step in going paperless is to forget about whatever paper backlog you’ve already accumulated and instead focus on the new positive habits you need to adopt to reduce or eliminate paper starting now. Consider a quick win and start small.
One day you’ll get to the existing backlog but concentrating on that will likely produce huge stumbling blocks to your objective, make you feel overwhelmed, and our good old friend procrastination will kick in. So, forget about it for now. Instead, put your effort into making sure the backlog doesn’t get any bigger.
2. Pick an Electronic Document Management Partner
Let’s explore this for a second because this doesn’t have to be as complex as you might think. The Document Management (DM) solution is where you’ll keep digital versions of your paper documents.
Ideally, you want a DM cloud solution that makes your files accessible no matter where you are in the world and backs them up. Whether you’re on a Laptop, Desktop, Mobile or MAC you should be able to access your documents within a few seconds
Most Document Management solutions will allow you to save documents away with tags (or index fields), which means storing documents becomes extremely easy and somewhat automated. Searching and retrieving them is even quicker as most Document Management solutions will use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to allow you to key word search and find any document within seconds.
No matter which solution you choose, pick one and stick with it so that you can put all your digital documents in one place. You and the team will grow in confidence over time and future expansion, such as automated workflow will start to feel like second nature.
3. Sign Up for Email Statements and Digital Payments
If your department or business still receive paper bills and statements, sign up to receive them by email instead wherever you can. If you still send cheques regularly, see if you can switch to making payments online instead. Now I don’t want to appear like I’m teaching you how to suck eggs, but you would be amazed by how many of our customers still have similar processes in place, just out of habit.
4. Scan and Shred
Now it’s time to start developing new habits. Scanning and shredding. There are specialist businesses out there that take care of confidential scanning, shredding, and destroying of documents. The best place to find these specialists is by speaking to your Document Management supplier/partner. They will have a partnership with a company they trust and more importantly will be better placed to recommend a specific partner highly suited to your requirement and situation.
For smaller jobs you can scan on desktop scanners, multi-functional printers and even on mobile apps. My favourite is a free app called Paperscan, which also ties into a Document Management Solution called DocuWare.
Be disciplined. Tell yourself “When I get a new piece of paper I will scan and store it into my Document Management solution straightaway”. You can then securely shred the paper version
5. Develop Other Workflows
Scanning and shredding is one workflow. As you get comfortable with your paperless lifestyle, you’ll find that you need more workflows for other processes.
Here’s an example:
Invoices come into your business, what do you currently do? Perhaps the invoices come in and they’re stored into the DM solution from email or scanned in if they’re in paper format.
Substantial Document Management solutions have intelligent capture that get to understand your documents and allow you to store them instantly.
Upon storing them an automated workflow can kick off to send the invoice to a colleague for approval and then perhaps other levels depending on the rules configured in the workflow.
This is a very simplified version of an Accounts Payable – invoice approval process via an automated workflow. I would highly recommend heavily leaning on your Document Management partner as they will be able to guide you, assist with configuration and training and advise you of what’s possible. If you’re ambitious, you’ll be amazed what you can automate through a solution, such as DocuWare
6. Don’t Overthink It
There are some documents that you will question whether to keep the originals or digitise and shred them. When you’re facing a tough call, don’t overthink it. Being paperless should make your life simpler and easier—not more stressful. In most scenarios, you’ll be able to destroy the original if the Document Management solution you’ve chosen date and time stamps the documents digitally. If in doubt, speak to your Document Management partner to double check.
7. Just one more thing
Your chosen partner should be as hands on as possible. You should never feel like you’re overwhelmed, or like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
Your Document Management partner, should make you feel at ease, constantly guide you, and be there to support you as you roll out your new paperless office.
This concludes our bog post on 7 tips for going paperless – NY resolutions.