A great way to save time and money is through a paperless filing system, in this article I will answer the questions, what a paperless filing system is?, the advantages and disadvantages of one and how would you implement one? as well as many other question.
What is a paperless filing system?
Like the name suggests a paperless filing system is a way too keep all your documents safe and secure while remaining accessible without having them on paper in folders or cabinets or shelves. This is the basics of the system but what does that actually mean? To have a paperless filing system it means that you and your small or maybe even large business will be advancing into the new technological age. It is no longer an uncommon site to see people reading books or magazines on computers or tablets these days so it only makes sense for you too to join in and move all your files to a new technological system, where you can access them anywhere at any time without hassle, without having to search through entire filing cabinets to find one folder.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
There are many advantages to a paperless filing system some of which include:
- Reduced time looking for files.
- More data security.
- You can back up files for virtually no cost.
- The files are available almost anywhere.
- More than one person can access a file at one time.
- More user friendly and modern.
- Saves you physical space.
- Environmentally friendly.
- Less costly once set up than a paper system.
Unfortunately while there are these advantages there are also some disadvantages to this kind of filing system, although almost all the disadvantages are just from initial switching things like. A initial cost for software, as well as infrastructure if you do not already have the IT facilities to accommodate such a system. There is also the initial outlay of time to convert all of your old files to the new system. Once these initial disadvantages are overcome it is easy to access the rewards that a system of this type will offer and it will soon make up for any initial cost, by saving you money on paper.
How to implement your own paperless system?
Implementing your own paperless system is a fairly strait forward process which can be broken down into two easy steps, the first purchasing and setting up the system, and the second transferring all of your current files to the new system.
The first step purchasing and setting up the system, is the part that will cost you the most in this entire process as far as money is concerned. You will need to ensure all your employees have some form of client and server system that allows access to an internal connection granting access to your database of files. Most modern businesses will have this although some may be lacking the server side of things although this is easily fixed with one machine capable of running some sort of software like Microsoft SharePoint or other forms of networked database where all your files will be stored.
During this initial set up process you will also want to buy a quality document scanner, depending on the type of files you are scanning as well as the number of files needed to be scanned. For most larger scale applications scanning a large number of A4 sheets I would recommend a sheet feed style scanner rather than any sort of flatbed document scanner as this type will allow you to feed through multiple sheets at a time and the better models even do double sided.
The last step in the set up process will to decide weather you will need some sort of optical character recognition (OCR) software that will allow you to process large batches of scanned documents at once, these are extremely useful and will speed up the process immensely if you receive a lot of mail or any other document type for many clients and have to upload just a few sheets to each one. This type of software will allow you to index each document together as a whole and some of the better versions can even do most if not all of the indexing automatically.
Now the second step is where its going to hurt you time wise, you have bought all of this new equipment and software to file all of your away safely and there is nothing left to do but scan the files into the computer and upload them to the platform of your choice.
Once this is all done you are well on your way to getting rid of paper for good and become a cutting edge business with the latest in filing systems and with some weekly off site backups your files will be much safer than a paper filing system.