5 Tips for Going Paperless

Want to lower your overhead by 30 to 40 percent? Switch from paper to electronic documents, advises Matt Peterson, president and CEO of eFileCabinet.

Going paperless allows you to [be more efficient], and efficiency equals money,” Peterson says. “Responding to customers quickly is your edge as a small business, and being efficient and paperless gives [you] that edge.”

ILM Corporation estimates that searching through paper files can take up as much as 30% of employee work time. The opportunity cost of floor space occupied by filing cabinets adds up as well. The company offers a Document Conversion ROI Calculator to give business owners a better idea of how much they might be able to save by converting to digital format.

Although “going paperless” can evoke images of endless scanning of paper files, it is best to simply start by scanning all new incoming material. Only then, after that has become habitual, should one work backward over stored files. The ILM calculator includes a section for tabulating how much it might cost to have employees do so.

Prices for digital document management services range from $20 a month to $2,000 or more, depending on the number of users, space, and features needed.

The investment typically pays off, Peterson says. A key advantage of systems like eFileCabinet is that they can securely store your documents. Data — whether it’s stored in paper or digital files — that isn’t properly backed up may be compromised.

“No matter where you live, you’re prone to some kind of disaster, like theft, fire, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes,” Peterson says. “It seems like no one is out of that danger zone.” Nearly three-quarters of companies that lose their data in natural disasters are out of business within a year, he maintains.

Other advantages to keeping digital records include the ability to access your documents from anywhere (if you’re storing data in the cloud) and the added efficiency of being able to search for files using keywords.

“We let people import their emails and file by client or category, and they’re searchable and indexed,” Peterson says. “It’s an essential repository for everything a small business does; it’s the lifeblood of their organization.”

Peterson offers these five tips to small-business owners who are interested in going paperless:

  1. Focus on document management. Aim for more than just storage. Implement a method of organizing and searching files that makes your operations run smoothly. Choose a solution that allows you to index — and then search — your documents with keywords.
  2. Ensure multiple backups. Savvy companies back up records in more than one place. Always back your files up on a separate hard drive that is stored elsewhere and then find a reputable company that offers cloud backup for a monthly fee. Peterson recommends seeking a storage provider that’s been around for a while. There are a range of providers to choose from.
  3. Rally your team. Digitizing is a disruptive process; people may get nervous when they can’t push paper around anymore. It’s important to get everyone on board, so you don’t end up maintaining redundant paper-based and electronic systems.
  4. Scan and file everything that comes in the door. To begin the monumental task of digitizing, store and index all incoming communications in a digital format. Also start indexing any new digital files you create, including email. Shred paper documents after you scan them.
  5. Be mindful of regulation. Make sure you find a document management solution that meets the regulations for your industry, whether you’re in financial services, medical, education, or another field. If you store sensitive client data, security should be your top priority.
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9 comments
allindiajobnews
allindiajobnews

These articles make sense. Today it is an technology century, so its our duty that we should used technology at our best. There are many benefits if we reduce the use of paper and start to use advantages of technology. So these article is awesome and mentioned every important thing in beautiful way.

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scatterbrain_ap
scatterbrain_ap

Makes sense.. but this requires investment insoftwares/ apps that can store your e files in cloud. It is a must that you have a cloud based storage. Most free software has maximum limits. I guess when introducing such in a company you have to clearly stress that in the long run, the benefits far outweigh the costs, in term of efficiency and productivity. 

Julie Irvin
Julie Irvin

We have not used ecabinet. However 3 years ago we started scanning all of our bills, receipts, project sheets, etc into quickbooks and have been able eliminate 2 filing cabinets and replace them with plants and open up our office. Having all of the information we need in just a click has saved us hour if time and hundreds of dollars in paper.

Noe legaspi
Noe legaspi

If you use live chat software then it will be more easy for you to communicate directly. This software also allows you to keep record of your customer behavior and providing services accordingly. As you discussed in your post, it also helps you out in receiving and sending official documents and others as well.

Guest
Guest

I agree with the person below! I haven't had a great experience with the eFileCabinet Support. They are obviously not efficient themselves as the CEO mentions responding to customers quickly. One of the best people to work with is now gone and they aren't worth working with. I would recommend looking at someone other than eFileCabinet unless you want your wait times during tax season to be 40 minutes to an hour, or your emails to take 2-4 weeks to be answered! Out of a 5 star rating, I would give them maybe a 2 Star.

Guest
Guest

The support at eFileCabinet is pretty terrible. They are understaffed and the wait times are unacceptable during tax season! 

Natasha Mier
Natasha Mier

@Guest I am sorry you had a bad experience. We do our best to ensure that everyone gets the support they need. Tax season does get a little busy, but feel free to contact us to get the support you need. 877-574-5505

Natasha Mier
Natasha Mier

@Guest We are sorry about the wait times you experienced. During tax season it does get a little busy. However, if you have questions or concerns, feel free to give us a call now! 877-574-5505