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Go Paperless with Document Management

What does Document Management have to do with the stewardship of our ecosystem?  Once a piece of paper is printed or copied, it must be either stored or recycled.  If it is stored, valuable real estate is taken and finding the document later can be cumbersome.  Document Management  is a system or process used to capture, track and store electronic documents such as PDFs, word processing files, spreadsheets, and digital images of paper-based content.

Document Management Systems (DMS) can save you time and money. It provides document security, access control, centralized storage, audit trails and streamlined search and retrieval.

EDMS is already built in to much of what you do

Imagine WITHOUT significant changes to the way you do business, you could easily and inexpensively retrieve your key records in seconds from any computer in your office.  Documenet Management Systems (DMS) have come a long way in the last 10 years.  Most of your computer files are indexed, categorized and easily search with basic Microsoft Windows and Apple OS operating systems as wells as Google, Dropbox and many others.

DMS Overview

Paper documents have long been used in storing data. However, paper can be costly and, if used excessively, wasteful. Document management software is not simply a tool but it lets a user manage access, track and edit information stored. Document management software is an electronic cabinet that can be used to organize all paper and digital files. The software helps tombine paper to digital files and store it into a single hub after it is scanned and get imported.  One of the most important benefits of digital documents management is a “fail-safe” environment for safeguarding all data. 

Why Print when you can process electronically

Technology makes it easy to turn your paper documents into digital files that can be stored more efficiently and accessed from anywhere.  Remote workers can also benefit from the ability to seamlessly access their files despite not being on premise.

Pros and Cons of Paper Vs. Electronic Docs

Both formats have advantages and disadvantages. Check out this summary of the pros and cons of paper vs. electronic documents based on advice from organizational, legal and financial experts.

Access documents while on the move? Go digital.

Electronic documents have two huge advantages: ease of retrieval and access. Unlike paper files that must be searched manually and often by memory, electronic files can be retrieved using keywords included in either the file name or the content, no matter where the document is located.

With cloud storage, documents can be retrieved from mobile devices as well as office computers, providing greater flexibility. For this reason, digital is preferred for distributed work teams. A good example is client or organizational records, such as customer records, that need to be shared among a geographically diverse work group.

Storage space an issue? Digital wins again.

Paper takes up space, no doubt about it. In today’s work environments where shared space is the norm, dedicated filing space for paper documents often doesn’t exist. With space at a premium and the cost of electronic storage getting cheaper every day, using a scanner to turn paper documents into digital files is an effective solution.

“One of my clients scanned 10 boxes filled with forms into digital files she could store on one thumb drive,” says DeMorrow. “She was able to fill the reclaimed square footage with revenue-producing inventory for her store.”

 

 

What about legal and financial documents? 

Confidentiality and security are particularly important issues when it comes to legal and financial documents. Storing sensitive information electronically does open up the possibility that documents could be hacked and compromised. Even so, the advantages of digital documents still win out for most legal and financial advisors.

Emailing is rarely secure, so attaching a bank statement or tax return to an email without additional security is putting information at risk.  A simple solution is to put a password on the document that the recipient must use to open it; you should communicate the password verbally to the recipient. This is good practice even for digital documents you don’t share across networks.

Don’t forget to password-protect thumb drives containing sensitive information.

Hard copies are definitely required if a document includes original or notarized signatures.

Are there other times when paper documents still win? 

It’s easy to give paper documents a bad rap, but it’s not always deserved. Sometimes a hard copy makes more sense.

A detailed or complicated document is often easier to read, pass around and make notes on if it’s printed.  A printed document can sometimes be more easily shared if you’re disseminating information to a large group of people at the same time.

And if you’re traveling to a rural or remote location where Internet access is sketchy, having hard copies is also smart planning.

Am I doing enough to protect both my paper and e-docs? 

Important legal and financial documents should be stored in a secure place with restricted access.  We advise purchasing a fire and flood proof safe for paper documents to protect your critical and sensitive records.

Failing to properly back up electronic documents can also be disastrous, Hug notes. “I’ve had a couple of clients who had computers go down and they had no backup. It cost them years’ worth of important legal and financial documents.”

Mullin suggests keeping a backup copy of electronic documents off site from your business as a precaution.

Digital vs. Paper? Both.

Both digital and hard copies have their place. The key is implementing a system that ensures you have the right document in hand when you need it, and also allows you to sleep at night, knowing your information is secure.

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(480) 967-7468

Availe, Inc.
2414 West 12th Street
Suite 3
Tempe, Arizona 85281

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