The idea of paperless, electronic communication emerged with the advent of the computer nearly twenty years ago.
Electronic filing and transmission of important documents enabled companies to think differently about the way they handle their business. Despite rapid technological advancements, most businesses fall behind the latest trend of operating without paper.
The paperless office has become the focal point of heated debate, mainly because former generations feel a need to file or retain a concrete document that cannot “disappear” in the chaos of electronic filing.
Are You Waiting to Go Paperless?
Many argue that offsite storage safeguards an establishment against unwanted intrusion. In fact, many rely on the security of their documents to remain operational. Fortunately, solutions exist that remove the risk factor involved with paperless, electronic filing and its many related ways to conduct business.
As with any business practice, both advantages and disadvantages present themselves for the dedicated establishment. The leery tend to lag behind the seasoned optimists. Some businesses have no choice, especially those operating within the healthcare industry under the governance of the Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act (HIPAA).
Small businesses may already operate a paperless office due to a lack of need for concrete documents. Lending institutions, law offices, and other related operations may require both electronic and paper-based documents to continue their business.
A percentage of e-commerce enterprises may find paperless offices the most feasible for continued success. As a result, companies will continue to convert their operations to full or partial electronic filing with greater benefits.
Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages for converting to electronic filing.
Advantages of Paperless Offices
Companies share a vested interest in paperless offices, even if their reasoning differs from their competitors. Here’s a few of the reasons you should migrate to a paperless office sooner rather than later.
Reduce your carbon footprint while increasing security and accessibility
Many companies think that paperless offices benefit both the operation and the environment. The latter sees the advantages in their entirety.
The green-minded entrepreneur may feel compelled to convert existing filing cabinets into a digital electronic system in order to save the Earth.
Paperless offices help preserve wildlife and reduce pollution by reducing the reliance upon and the waste created by paper documents over the lifetime of a business.
Aside from preserving trees, a paperless office also makes it easier to find documents. It also lessens the likelihood of misplacing, losing, and even having important documents stolen with confidential information.
Easier access to documents company-wide
Paperless offices can retrieve documents from multiple computers, especially if they store electronic files on a secure server with an Internet connection, or if they upload their files to a cloud-based service.
In addition, multiple users can access a document at the same time, making it less of a hassle to scramble for documents under time constraints.
It eliminates common office tasks, such as faxing or copying, associated with paper-based documents.
Office workers can access electronic documents at their fingertips directly from their computers without having to leave their desk.
Businesses can share these documents with other enterprises through a secure e-mail or protected network.
Not only does this save time and money, it eliminates bulky equipment and repair men. It also boosts productivity, making it possible to increase lucrative opportunities for companies over time. Companies also have the advantage of reducing their office expenses, including overhead, equipment, supplies, and payroll.
The Disadvantages of Paperless Offices
Paperless offices also have some disadvantages. Critics of paperless, electronic filing assert that it only increases efficiency if the software and hardware allows workers to store records.
Software and Hardware Failures
Software bugs and hardware defects can disrupt the flow of a paperless office. In addition, companies have to hire information technology (IT) consultants and service technicians to maintain software and hardware on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this can offset some of the the cost-effectiveness of a paperless office.
Inaccurate Data Entries Can ‘Lose’ Documents
A paperless office may also encounter “lost” records due to inaccurate data entry.
If an establishment hires untrained data entry operators to input sensitive information, then it can make the system inefficient and burdensome.
An office worker cannot retrieve an electronic document with inaccurate information. As a result, date entry errors can cost the business time and money.
Companies also need to hire competent trainers and auditors to ensure their records and information is categorized and stored correctly.
Lastly, digital records may become vulnerable to unauthorized access by hackers or unscrupulous employees.
Companies who store sensitive information, such as legal and medical records, rely on the security of their electronic filing system.
If any information becomes compromised, then it can pose major liability issues for the establishment.
This also makes it harder to dispose of electronic records, especially over a shared network. Erasing a file does not guarantee that it can’t be retrieved by another person at a later date.
From Document Scanning to Document Storage, our experts will help you select a custom Document Management Solution that fits exactly what you’re looking to do for your paperless office. We have locations all across the United States to serve you document storage solutions needs.
To get started, fill out the form to the right, or give us a call at (866) 385-3706. Within minutes of receiving your request, you will have free quotes from experts in your area that can help you.