The benefits of converting your business to paperless are plentiful. By creating a completely digital workplace, your team saves time and space, plus produces less waste. For companies with remote employees or distributed offices, an extra bonus is that it allows your team to become completely “location agnostic” – or not dependent on being in the same physical space in order to function at your most productive and effective levels.
In this blog, we make it easier for you to make the transition to paperless by providing a simple how-to guide for switching to digital. In just 7 easy steps, you’ll be able to say goodbye to clunky cabinets and complicated filing systems for good.
1. Plan your digital organization system
Before you scrap your old papers, filing folders, and cabinets, take the time to organize your digital filing system. Work with your team to determine who needs access to which files and how you’d like them organized (by date, client, department, etc.). Once you have your system mapped out, communicate with your team to ensure consistency across departments.
2. Share all documents online (and take advantage of the cloud)
With your organization system in place, determine what software you’ll use to share, upload, and store your files. We highly recommend taking advantage of cloud-based products such as Google Drive and Dropbox, as your team members can access the files no matter where they are in the office or working remotely – plus, many cloud-based systems allow your team members to communicate and share ideas in real-time.
3. Use a scanner or scanning app to transfer paper documents online
Once you have chosen your file-sharing software system, it’s time to convert your current and historic paper documents to digital files. If you have a scanner, you can easily scan documents and convert them to the file type of your choice. However, if you do not have a scanner and do not want to invest in one, there are plenty of scanning apps on the market such as Adobe Scan and Microsoft Lens that your team can use to replicate the process.
4. Request paperless statements and bills
With your documents scanned and organized into your system, it’s now time to make sure all communication going forward is converted to digital. Contact your vendors, partners, and clients to request that all statements and bills are sent electronically. You’ll want to give these organizations time to make the switch, so make sure to send your communication to them with plenty of time before you officially make the change.
5. Send invoices, forms, and purchase orders electronically
Just as you communicated with your external vendors about the switch to paperless, make sure to communicate with your internal team as well. Tell your employees to send invoices, purchase orders, forms, and all other memos via a secure digital transfer system (like a cloud-based file sharing software) rather than paper requests. However, note that it is important not to share sensitive or confidential personal data via email unless the information is encrypted or using a secure software system. For more information about secure file sharing and cybersecurity, click here.
6. Encourage electronic notes
While there’s no need to completely do away with notebooks if it helps certain team members stay organized, excess scrap paper can easily get lost and fall into the wrong hands. It’s important to encourage electronic note-taking using apps like GoodNotes, Bear, Google Docs, Evernote, and Microsoft OneNote in order to decrease clutter and make note-taking more secure. The same should also be said for printing out notes for meetings and presentations. Instead, share your information digitally on a TV screen using presentation programs like KeyNote, Prezi, or PowerPoint.
7. Back up your files
The most important note we can give to organizations switching to paperless is to back up all your files on a regular basis. Not only does this keep your data safe, it is also an added benefit to going digital in the first place – in the analog world, you may be able to make copies, but you can’t ensure that extras don’t get lost, damaged, or stolen. When you back up files, you keep files secure and gaurantee that they last as long as you need them.
If you’d like assistance with the process of going paperless, our team can help. Contact us to set up a free, no-pressure consultation with one of our experts.