5 Steps Your Company Needs To Take In Order To Go Paperless

5 Steps Your Company Needs To Take In Order To Go Paperless
15Oct, 2021

Paper and business have been inseparable for over a century. But that’s quickly changing as the world starts to shift in a new age marked by digital data and cloud-based solutions.

There’s nothing that beats paper, as many traditional professionals will probably claim. And while paper will have many uses for us, its use could decrease in time. Already the business world is starting to see a massive shift towards paperless systems. People now use digital documents for finance, accounting, human resources, and so on. As a result, the rate of PDF usage and document sharing has gone up with time. 

And as businesses and brands start seeking paperless solutions, executives and entrepreneurs now search for roadmaps towards creating more paperless solutions. 

Benefits of Going Paperless

In the small country of Estonia, a new revolution has started. Back in 2018, the nation’s government announced that it would be moving towards a paperless system. Since then, lines in city halls have decreased dramatically. Printing savings have made a large earmark on the nation’s expenses. Moreover, bureaucracy has gone down dramatically. Systems have improved as citizens now enjoy digital registration and updating for child registration to licensing renewal.

Estonia is but one great example of the benefits that are going paperless offers. The impact could very well be the same for businesses on a smaller scale. So here are some benefits of having a paperless system.

Saved costs

On average, 65% of companies spend anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000 on documents annually. While a company might not necessarily remove all paper systems, it can drastically reduce those costs. Imagine what a 50% percent reduction of those costs could do. A company could save up to $2,500 of printing costs and direct that towards other expenses.

Saved time

Much of an employee’s time can get lost to document searching. For example, a professional can spend up to 18 minutes searching for a document. With a digital document storage system, one crucial feature that a business gains access to is a document search program that could reduce the time spent searching for documents. With a quick search and a click of a button, employees can find a document in a matter of seconds. 

Saved space

Filing cabinets take up a lot of office space, which also means more office rental. Every square meter that one filing cabinet takes eats up space that the company could have used for office seating, meeting rooms, pantries, or other functions. Minimalism has also been a strong drive in modern office spaces as employees search for ways to lessen clutter at work to remain more productive. Moreover, the world is now shifting to a hybrid or virtual workspace. This means filing cabinets will become more of a hindrance than an aid towards a company’s plans to move into the future of work.

Improved Productivity

Saved cost, time, and space ultimately lead to more workplace productivity. And when workplaces are more productive, it also improves sales and other bottom line results. 

5 Steps to Go Paperless as a Company

5 Steps to Go Paperless as a Company

Is your company planning to go paperless or adopt some form of digital document system? The first thing you’ll need is a paperless office project plan. By plotting out the steps your business will take to go paperless, the chances of failure or implementation issues could go down drastically. Here are five steps your company needs to take to implement a digital document management system successfully.

Step 1. Digitize all your forms and documents

The first step to properly transition from paper-dependent office operations to a digital one is to determine all the forms and documents you need to go paperless. There’s a high chance that a company could already be well on their way towards completing this step given that you might have a digital copy of your documents some place. 

Compile all your documents into one storage and categorize them based on their functions. By properly logging all your documents, it becomes easier to arrange them when we add them into paperless office solutions for ease of use.

Here are some of the forms and documents you might need to include in this database. 

  • Company by-laws
  • Company operations manuals
  • Financial records
  • Expense reports
  • Business reports
  • Project plans
  • Business plans
  • Marketing plans
  • Budget summaries
  • Cash request forms
  • Employment contracts
  • Job descriptions
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Payroll reports
  • Timesheets
  • Business insurance documents
  • Employee data forms
  • And many more.

It might also be a good idea to hire a graphic designer to properly lay out these forms so that they’re easier to use when they get passed around. Files can be stored as a document file or as an editable PDF. The latter is more user-friendly over the long term if form contents don’t change regularly.

Step 2. Get a document management system

The next step is to get a document management system, which will be the place where all documents will live. The document management system is where all staff will access documents and file any if needed. When choosing a document management system, ensure that they have these non-negotiable functionalities. 

  • Cloud-based — So that all staff can access files via the internet no matter where they might be. This also makes sharing easier.
  • Mobile-friendly — A document management system with a mobile application can provide a huge plus. It gives staff mobility when accessing or filling up certain documents on a mobile phone or tablet device.
  • Secure — Data security is a significant factor for data as sensitive as company documents. Forms and company records can include sensitive data that shouldn’t be accessible to the general public. Choose a system with data encryption and varying levels of access and authentication capabilities.

Step 3. Start Filing Documents Online

Once you have the best paperless filing system for your context, it’s time to start filing documents online. Have documents organized according to usage to make it easier for company staff to access company documents. 

Step 4. Use an e-signature system

To complete a digitization process for your document filing system, it will also help to have an e-signature system. Using e-signatures can help a company save up to $20 per document. In addition, some document management systems allow companies to sign the documents digitally, which could significantly reduce printing costs and back and forth time to get documents approved and signed.

Step 5. Apply Paperless Systems Across The Board

Once the whole system has been set up, it’s time to start applying it across the company. Roll out the system in phases to give all departments time to get used to processes. Here are some special considerations.

  • Finance — Have all financial records in one place and keep that section of the document filing system as the most secure. Give tiered access to finance and accounting staff only. Other managers can also have access on a need-to-know basis,
  • Operations — Roll our project plans to operations staff and give necessary training to help them understand what documents they need to fulfill to launch a project or operational roll-out.
  • Human Resources — Have an operations plan that will explain even the most basic parts of recruitment, onboarding, training, and all human systems such as bachelor degree meaning, onboarding procedures, payroll schedules, and so on. You can also include leave forms, timesheets, and cash advance requests if your company allows it.

A Paperless Future

Businesses should start thinking about applying some level of paperless future if they want to stay relevant as an organization. It will also do staff a lot of good to start learning paperless systems if they don’t have one in their organization. Paper can have a lot of meaningful uses, but it no longer has to be a large part of our operations. In the new reality we face with mass digitization, a paperless office strategy is no longer a luxury. It’s a must.