Why your business should digitize documents
No one knows what the future may hold. But smart business leaders do know that increasing efficiency and access to information can make their businesses more adaptable. Adaptability allows for quick reactions to changes and opportunities. A simple but powerful aspect of adaptability is in information management. File rooms are inefficient and limit access based on location. However, there is a solution: digitize documents with a professional document scanning and imaging service. Why? Here we explore 12 reasons why you should consider scanning your paper documents.
1. Implement a universal indexing system
For most businesses, documents are spread across various offices and departments. Often every department or even individual uses their own filing system. By digitizing documents you have the rare opportunity to centralize control and create a universal indexing system that will be used company wide. This will allow for easier document retrieval, a more consistent retention program, and greater oversight of records system wide.
2. Simplify document sharing
Digital documents are easier to share than paper originals. Digitizing records can increase efficiency and streamline collaboration by making it simple for every member of your team to have access to the right information regardless of physical location. This goes beyond internal teams by increasing the ease of sharing relevant information with customers, vendors, and partners.
3. Increase tracking and security
The average filing cabinet or filing room has few if any security features. It is tedious to track what records are stored, and extremely difficult to keep consistent documentation of who accessed certain records and when. Lack of security and tracking leaves your business vulnerable to breaches and internal fraud. By digitizing documents, you can utilize readily available software services to track all access and sharing of files. These programs will also allow you to set restrictions on certain document types to limit access to only those who need it. This will give you unprecedented control over who has access to which files and automatic documentation of any access, changes, or sharing of your records across your network.
4. Protect information on fragile originals
Many paper documents do not have any type of back up. If the original is destroyed, the information is lost. Fragile originals include older documents which are deteriorating and also documents which were simply not made to be preserved for long periods (such as receipts). If these records are important to your business, often the best way to preserve their information is through professional document scanning.
5. Prepare for disasters
Physical documents are restricted to a single location. If that location is affected by a disaster, the records may be inaccessible or destroyed. On the other hand, it is comparatively easy to make back ups of digital files which can be stored in different locations. The National Archives also recommends digitizing files to prepare for disasters. You can use various cloud solutions which will make your documents accessible from anywhere in the world. When disaster strikes, you will be able to quickly get your team back up and running regardless of location.
6. Institute a consistent retention program
Certain types of documents must be retained for specific periods of time for legal or business reasons. When you digitize documents with a universal indexing system, you can track the creation of each record and easily calculate when it should be deleted. A proper retention program takes the guess work out of document destruction. Always know what should be destroyed and when.
7. Improve audit performance
If your business is ever called to comply with an audit or discovery for information, locating and sharing the appropriate records is far easier if they are in a digital form that is easily searchable. If you have a retention program you can also demonstrate when and why specific records were destroyed. This allows for prompt compliance which places you in a good light and reduces your costs for retrieval of records.
8. Reduce the cost of office and storage space
Not only are physical records difficult to secure and sort through, they also take up a lot of real estate. When you digitize documents, you free up space and reduce the cost of storage. You will also save money by reducing retrieval times and the cost of file management in man hours.
9. Optimize customer service
Respond to customers more quickly and efficiently by allowing your team easy access to relevant records. No more searching across departments for the information needed to solve customer complaints or answer customer questions. When you digitize documents, every department and employee can search and share the right files. This empowers your team to improve response times and better address customer service issues.
10. Enable a mobile or remote workforce
When your workforce is spread out geographically, on the move, or simply locked down, you can still make sure they have what they need to keep working. Plan ahead now to digitize documents. By creating a digital network now, you are laying the foundation for a future in which regardless of disaster or societal changes you are well positioned to never leave your team in limbo and always keep them moving forward.
11. Go green when you digitize documents
Going digital with your current paper documents is the first step to going paperless. It allows you to recycle unneeded paper originals, and provides a platform to keep more records completely paperless as you move forward. Each ton of new paper produced uses important natural resources such as water, oil, and electricity. By reducing your paper use and responsibly recycling paper originals you are doing your part to go green.
12. Prepare your business for the future
While it may be impossible to completely future proof your business, digitizing your documents expands your options. It makes you more flexible in managing employees and working with customers. Laying the right foundation now can save you headaches and lost time in the future.
BONUS: What to do with paper originals
Once you digitize documents, the majority of paper originals can be securely destroyed with a professional shredding service provider. Find a service provider that will also responsibly recycle the paper after it has been shredded. There are some originals that must still be kept for legal or business purposes even after a digital copy is made. For these documents we recommend using a professional records storage service. This service is affordable and will provide security and peace of mind that your documents are secure without wasting office space.