Converting to a paperless office can be challenging. While there are many benefits for the small business, you may find that it is difficult to decide what gets scanned into the new document management system and what doesn’t. You’ll find that there is a lot of paper to process in the early days of going paperless. The question is whether you actually need it all.


Prioritizing Your Papers

While going through your file cabinets can be a daunting task, it allows you to eliminate paperwork as you go. Begin by prioritizing the files. For example, start with the information you are most likely to need immediately. Case files, client papers, and supplier information are often high on the list of necessary information, and as you sort through this, you can start scanning it in.

Once the most important papers have been scanned, you can begin to work your way down the priority list. Depending on your business type, the prioritization is going to change.


By Date

In most cases, you will not need files that haven’t been touched in more than 5 years. While you may be required by regulations and laws to keep these files, you can hold off on getting them into the electronic system. Start by scanning the most recently updated files that you have and work your way backward.


By Document Type

Chances are, you have a number of different document types in your office. You may have tax information, receipts, customer files, interviews, and more. These all need to be scanned, but the process will go far smoother if you scan all of one type of document at a time. For example, you might scan all receipts first, and then move on to invoices.


By Name

Are your files currently saved alphabetically? If so, you may find it easiest to go through them alphabetically. This allows you to get everything into your DMS, and ensures that you don’t forget any files.

A paperless office is far more efficient and easier to manage, but getting it all set up can take a little time. Make a plan and decide how you want to handle your document management. As you look at the way your business runs, remember that you may need to set aside a little time each week for scanning, rather than doing it all at once. What is your favorite filing technique?