Looking to boost your firm’s efficiency? It’s time to go paperless. There are programs and apps out there now to cover just about any need you have, from file workflows to interoffice communications.
The big question though is why make the change at all? The transition does take some time and effort and money, the latter’s amount depending on what tech you currently have in your office. So here are 12 solid reasons why you should join your competition in the digital age.
Keep your files up to date
If you’re working with paper when work is first completed by yourself or an employee, there’s only one copy of the most up-to-date version of the file. It will take time to make physical copies and replace outdated copies in however many file folders you have for that particular client. And in that time, if you put in more work, you’ll be working on a file that doesn’t reflect new information that you need to know.
On the other hand, when you store files in a digital manner you’re going to be working on the most up-to-date version because there’s only one version in existence (unless you choose to keep older versions, in which case you would name them to indicate that they’re out of date).
This also means that not just you but all of your employees are jumping off from the same point.
Pro tip – make sure you have an understandable naming convention so that all of your employees name files in the same manner. This will help make sure that you know you’re working with the latest version.
Access files from anywhere
If you’re working on paper, if you didn’t bring a copy of a file home or to a meeting then you’re out of luck. With digital files you can call them up from anywhere at a moment’s notice.
Protect your files from theft and damage
Damage-wise, as long as you’re saving to the cloud (as opposed to saving all of your digital files purely on an in-house sever) if your building gets damaged (earthquakes, floods, fire, etc.) your files will still be perfectly fine, secured in the safety of the cloud.
When it comes to theft, theoretically it might be possible for some super-genius to hack their way into your files, but with the complexity of encryption these days it’s incredibly unlikely. It would certainly be exponential degrees easier for someone to break into your office and take a crowbar to your filing cabinet.
Legal documents are automatically filed
Legal agreements between you and your client need to be easily searchable and locked away a.s.a.p. Here you’re definitely going to want to go beyond email into an actual filing program; emails are too easily ignored, can have their subject lines changed so you don’t know what they contain, can be lost in floods of emails, and worst of all, they can be accidentally deleted.
In this case you could even make an argument that signed paper documents are better than simple emails, but the best solution is an automatic filing program that immediately stores the docs with a unified naming system.
It’s far faster
No physical searching is needed when you want to check on the progress of a file. Just click or do a keyword search, and hey presto you have the information you need.
Need one employee to take over for another? With paper you’re going to have to do some shuffling around, especially if they use separate pages outside of the actual file to do their figuring. Also, there’s a fair chance that something can get lost or placed in the wrong order during the transfer. Plus if these employees are in separate physical locations then you’re going to have a delay while the files are being copied and transferred.
With digital files the first employee hits save, the second employee opens it, and your firm picks up right where it left off within minutes.
Going paperless makes it much easier for your firm to handle growth. It’s just a matter of creating new files. On the other hand growth in a paper office requires more time lost to physical filing and searching, requires more filing cabinets, and requires more space for those cabinets.
And of course if you decide to open more than one physical location you’re going to be way ahead in the expansion game if you don’t have to make physical copies and cart them from one town to another.
It makes your firm easier to sell
When you decide to sell your firm you’re going to have a much easier time (and a higher price) if the potential buyer is shown a clear-cut and efficient digital filing system. It will make it far easier for them to get up to speed on clients if they can jump from one client’s file to another with a click of a mouse button.
You’ll keep up with the government
The government is making its way to all-digital interactions, albeit at government speeds, so you have some time with this one. Still, you’ll be able to get your clients their turnaround at a faster clip if you don’t have to ship paper via snail mail.
It allows you an easier transition to set rates (as opposed to hourly billing)
Since paperless offices do the same amount of work in less time than a paper office you’ll be able to get more files done within the amount of time it takes a paper office to complete one job. You can set your prices based on the high-end of the usual amount of hours spent on a file, but do it in far less time.
The alternative is to stay with the same file, but throw in some free value-adds in the time you save to show clients what they’re missing, making them consider paying for those additional services in the future.
You free up time
The time you free up doesn’t necessarily have to be spent at work. This is especially true if you’ve set up your workflow documentation – you’ll be secure in the knowledge that your team can get things done exactly the way you want it done. You won’t have any need to micromanage. So you’ll have more personal time to finally break out those golf clubs, to check out the kids’ football game, etc.
And if you want to do a quality assurance spot check, you can sign in and do your inspection from just about anywhere at any time.
You get to say that you’re environmentally conscious
About 53% of people say a company’s environmental concerns make an impact on their purchasing decisions. Why give half of the world’s purchasing population a reason to turn their noses up at you?
Not a computer type of guy/gal? We’re happy to help you get started. We have a variety of secure tech set-ups that make it easy and safe to transfer your files to your overseas team.