Carry your Office in Your Pocket!
by Rourke Mace
“I’ve had it with my file cabinet!” I’ve been mostly “paperless” at work for some time, but all my home documents are still on paper, taking space and dominating my small office. What an absolute waste of space and resources. Most of these documents will never be looked at again. The ones I will want are hopelessly lost in the morass and almost, with a conscience of their own, make themselves difficult to find at the most inconvenient times.
So, how does one do this paperless thing? Will you be tied down for hours at a time trying to capture everything electronically? The process can be easier than you imagine, and the process is pretty much the same whether for your personal files at home or at work.
Many people dread the thought of scanning everything in all at once. This is particularly daunting if you have several file cabinets. Although you can make this a huge project upfront, most people simply begin with their current documents and chip away at their older files little by little. This process is much easier and can actually takes less time than not scanning at all.
So how does that work? When you need a file that is in your file cabinet, simply scan it then shred it. The time you take to scan and shred is often less than the time you would take to refile the document. Once scanned and stored electronically, the next time you need the document, you can access it in a matter of seconds.
Over time, the documents you need most will all be scanned and anxiously waiting for you to call them up on your computer, laptop, tablet, or even your smartphone.
You could use your Windows directory or folders. However, one of the main points of going paperless is to save time. Good document management software should be used to keep your files organized and easily accessible. Be sure to pick a document management system that is easy to use and that helps meet all your needs.
This could include the following key elements of a robust document management system:
- The ability to store documents directly from files already on your computer, documents that you scan into digital format, and files you receive via email.
- Mobile apps that allow you to capture pictures of documents, people, etc. directly from your mobile device and store them from anywhere.
- Industry Compliance: Are any of your documents subject to industry compliance, such as HIPAA for medical information, or SEC or FINRA covering financial information? Documents subject to these types of standards must be secure and meet compliance regulations.
- Organization: Many document management systems are very capable but may be difficult to learn or use. This can be a main failure point for people trying to go paperless. Make sure the software you choose helps you organize your files in a way you are comfortable with. The last thing you want is a wasted investment simply because the technology is not friendly or has too great a learning curve.
- Finding Files: You should be able to locate and retrieve files you have stored within seconds. Documents should be able to be found by name, type, location, keywords, etc.
- File Types: Make sure the system you choose is able to store all the file types you use. This should include PDFs or scanned files, Word documents, spreadsheets, photographs, audio or video files, etc. You’ll want to be able to store all digital file types that you normally work with.
Once your files are electronic, you will want to be able to access and share them. With a desktop solution you can email your documents directly. Some systems even include a web-based file sharing portal, allowing you to share many and very large documents that may not lend themselves to email restrictions.
Imagine dragging and dropping your latest newsletter into a portal where all your clients receive their own secure copy. No printing, stuffing envelopes, adding postage, and waiting for the mail system to deliver your message. Drop your file into the portal and “voila!” everyone has their own copy. No fuss, no muss!
Online document management solutions can offer the same functionality as desktop versions, but with the added benefit of being able to access your documents anywhere you have internet connectivity using your smartphone, tablet, etc. If you or a client needs a document, you simply retrieve it and share it within seconds. This is definitely not your father’s file cabinet!
It’s finally easy to go paperless! The efficiency and savings of time, resources, and money are undeniable. With document management and a smartphone, you can carry your office in your pocket.
If you’d like help making yours a paperless office, fill out the form on this page to request a 15-minute demo of how we do it at eFileCabinet.