In an age where all businesses have access to a computers and mobile devices, why do we still have so much paper flying around our offices?

Lawyers, Accountants and many other professional service providers seem to be drowning in a sea of paper. Storing the paper is not the only issue here, you’ll need to be able to access it when required, right?

Before you begin this transformation, it’s important that you have the proper software and equipment to make this as easy as possible.

Let’s be realistic, it may not be practical to completely eliminate the use of paper, but surely you can reduce your paper use.

  1. Decide on a Strategy

Whether you want to scan all previous documents or transition to a a paperless system moving forward in the future, you’ll need to make this judgement call based on your business and its’ needs and resources.

If you want to scan all previous printed files and save soft copies, you’ll need to invest more time and resources.

Or you can decide with your team on how you will organise electronic files and put in an ongoing scanning process, so that all future documents are scanned.

Whilst your working on a project, if you happen to dive into old files to retrieve information, you can scan those documents as you go.

  1. Create a Budget

Once you’ve decided on a paperless transition, the second thing to consider will be your planned budget.

  • How much will it cost you to make the transition?
  • Do you think the shift in the new system will create a period of reduced efficiency? How much will that cost you?
  • Maybe you’ll need to increase the storage space on your computer or find cloud solutions?
  • Perhaps you’ll need to purchase more scanners?

You will need to sit down and create a budget for the planned expenses.

           3. Decide on Where You Will Store Data

Ok, so you’ve decided that your physical files will now become digital files, but where will you store the digital files? Will they be saved on your network or on ‘the cloud?’ Businesses with large amounts of physical files often decide to place this information on their network inside a document management solution. Businesses with smaller amounts of files can often scan them and store them on their local PC and then back up using one of the many cloud based storage solutions.

          4.  Hire Temporary Help

If your strategy in going paperless is fraught with a significant backlog of documents that need to be scanned, why not consider hiring a temporary administration assistant to help you with this project?

Or you can use the services of an outsourced scanning company who specialise in such projects. These outsourced scanning companies will come into your office and scan your printed documents with their own scanners.(Lucion)

       5. Don’t have a scanner? There’s an App for that

Not every office has a scanner, if you’re a small business and purchasing new equipment is not an option, there is definitely an app to scan. Apps such as TurboScan and Scanner Pro can capture documents with a smartphone’s built-in camera.

Any change in business process will take time to establish and requires a gradual shift in company culture.

While these tips will help any business attempting to reduce the use of paper, it may not be practical or necessary to move to a 100% paperless system. Rather than moving to a fully paperless system, you can find a mid-point balance that suits your needs.