Paper has been a sort of “security blanket” for many of us for decades. Businesses of all shapes and sizes have relied on it (some as a sole process of record keeping), and it’s hard to imagine letting go of a tangible record we’ve grown to depend on.

The idea of the majority, if not all of your business records moving to electronic document management systems has not only become an easier concept to grasp, but has also become easier to accomplish with state-of-the-art tools and dependable document imaging companies waiting to do the job for you. Financial/Accounting records, personnel records, insurance records and any other business documents, whether they are on paper, microfilm or microfiche, can be digitized.

So how do you get started? Here are some easy steps to converting those piles of paper into an easy-to-access system.

1. Make the commitment. Make the decision this is what your business is going to do and choose a goal date to have it done by. Make it a realistic goal that everyone is on board with. Remember, no one says this process needs to be done all at one time.

2. Don’t panic. Breathe deeply and understand this… you don’t have to get rid of EVERYTHING. We all worry about how many years we need to keep tax accounting in case we (gulp) get audited “someday” or what documents we might need for legal purposes. That’s fine, keep the paper copies of documents you feel necessary.

3. Start with baby steps. Decide which records you will begin with. There may be older records that may be nearing their retirement date – leave those as they are. Now categorize which files you want to convert first, second and so on.


Toss out what you don’t need. One of the beneficial things about going digital is, you won’t be making duplicates of any document until you need to email it or print it out (there will be customers that still insist on the paper). Go through and toss duplicates along with what’s no longer needed.
5. Decide how you will make it all happen. If you’re taking on the task yourself, decide what equipment you will need for the project. At the very least, you will need one of the high quality document scanners out on the market and the proper document management software to scan and store. Better yet, reach out to the professionals who know the appropriate ways to convert your files and will handle them with care. This is especially helpful when dealing with large quantities.

6. Let your clients and suppliers know the news. Letting your clients know you’ve gone digital will show you are using current technologies to ensure straightforward work flow and knowing you’re using digitized document storage may give them peace of mind knowing their information is safe.

Make your new system easy-to-use and compatible if it will require suppliers to change the way they submit transactions, etc.

7. Enjoy it. Once you’ve established an organized, simple to utilize system to keep your documents stored digitally, you will never miss the filing cabinets. The benefits of time saved looking for files, the paper reduction, saved storage space, improved security and other advantages far outweigh the initial investment of money or time.

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