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7 Reasons to Digitize Your Paper Documents

In the digital age, we all know paper is a temporary medium for information. Large quantities of paper are expensive to maintain, difficult to store and fraught with risk from deterioration, loss, water, and fire. An increasing number of companies are scanning their paper documents as a savvy business decision to reduce costs, improve security and help the environment. Here are the top seven reasons to digitize your paper documents:

1) Secure Document Storage

Scanning offers improved security for your sensitive documents. Scanned documents can be securely stored in an online document management system, with security access at a user or role level. These documents can be easily shared with users in multiple offices and locations, providing secure, flexible access. Along with secure access, digitalize documents can provide:

• a full electronic audit trail with a detailed user access history

• automatic back-ups

• the choice of on-premise storage, remote storage and/or cloud storage

2) Increases Office Space

Document scanning reduces the volume of paper to be filed, thus eliminating the need for filing cabinets. When office space is freed up, companies can:

• Move to a smaller office and benefit from lower rental costs

• Recapture floor space for growth

• Reduce cluttered office environment

3) Improves Customer Service

Searching paper documents is time-consuming. It takes about 18 minutes on average to search for a paper document which can affect the response time to your customer.

Digital documents can be found quickly and easily using a simple keyword search. Software such as Cabinet SAFE and Paper Vision can apply structures that match your industry and can be customized to meet your company’s specific needs making document location even more efficient.

4) Better for the Environment

Scanning documents can help any organizations in its move to become more environmentally friendly. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year. Reducing paper use from one office would provide an environmental benefit equivalent to a 0.75-acre pine forest absorbing carbon for a year. The use of less paper and toner are not only good for the environment but also reduces business costs. Also, physical transport of documents can also be cut, helping your carbon footprint.

5) Reduces Costs

Storing and maintaining records is an expensive business: For example, a four-drawer cabinet takes up 9 square feet of office space and costs your company approximately $1,500 per year to maintain (cost per sq ft, employee time spent maintaining files, etc.). A company with 10 four-drawer file cabinets will spend $15,000 per year to store and maintain those files.

There are also costs for misfiled and lost documents. INC Magazine reported that the cost of searching for a misfiled document is $120, and, if you can’t find it, it costs approximately $250 to recreate the lost document.

The physical costs for paper (the average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year), toner, and transportation are other costs that can be mitigated through the digitization of documents.

6) Risk Mitigation

Documents, records, and reports are vital to the daily operation and financial survival of every business. That is why it’s so important to safeguard them from theft, fire, severe weather, sprinkler damage, mold, and mildew or any other type of hazard that might occur in the workplace. Protecting business records ensures the information they contain is available anytime it is needed and also speeds recovery from an unplanned disruption.

An example of extreme loss comes from a fire in Brooklyn, NY on January 31, 2015. The New York State Office of Court Administration lost 85,387 boxes of records from courts in all five boroughs to this fire. While some newer documents were filed electronically, officials expect to have little to back up of records filed before 1990. Officials stated that if any files are needed, they will have to try to recreate them by hand from related paper files stored elsewhere.

7) Compliance with government regulations

The maintenance of a paper-based filing system that complies with regulatory requirements is expensive and burdensome. The use of scanning helps companies comply with government-mandated initiatives (e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley, Paperwork Reduction Act, HIPAA, etc.) related to document retention and retrieval.

If your company has multiple file cabinets full of paper files, the thought of scanning all your paper records can be daunting. Fortunately, there are options for file conversion. You can purchase your own scanners and train your staff in proper scanning techniques or use a reputable document conversion company to digitize your paper files.

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