We have been talking for a long time now about the need to manage your paper within your business, and offered various solutions for keeping paper you are finished with secure. But what about paperwork you are currently working with? How can you improve the way your business works with documents, save money and increase productivity? Simple – you get rid of the paper altogether.
Electronic Document Management
With the digital age in full swing, electronic document management solutions have never been better. New systems are being designed all the time to act as electronic filing cabinets for every single document within your business, allowing you to access them anytime from anywhere and cutting your storage bills in half. Electronically storing your documents also improves the security of your business and acts as a disaster recovery solution in its own right, so things like fire or flood in your office won’t completely destroy your business. It can also make your workflow and collaboration a lot simpler, without each person in the chain waiting for the first to finish with the document and pass it on. Automation within the solutions will save you time and in built deletion processes can make sure you are destroying documents when needed, in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
You don’t even need to keep the most important documents in physical form anymore. A common myth about paper is that you must keep paper copies of everything in order to submit them to HMRC or another government body for review, and that only paper documents will do. But this isn’t true. In fact, HMRC explicitly states that ‘You can keep most records on a computer or use any storage device such as a CD-ROM, USB memory stick or a network drive. You may not need to keep paper records as long as the method you use captures all the information (front and back) on the document and allows you to present the information to us in a readable format, if requested.’ So as long as the document you have scanned and stored electronically must be in a readable format, they can be stored electronically or in paper form.
But What About Your Paper?
So you’ve slogged through and digitised all of your documents, congratulations! But now you have a pile of duplicated documents in paper form, and the thought of getting rid of them all is daunting to say the least. You might be tempted to just threw them in the bin and be done with it. But this will only lead to trouble, as all of that information will still be readable to anyone who happens to find it. Instead, this is the perfect time to implement an ongoing document destruction policy. Research and find a local shredding company who will be willing to visit you and destroy your documents on a regular basis. Many will install a lockable cabinet into your office, so that discarded documents can be stored securely until your scheduled visit from the shredding company. When they arrive, the company can then take this paperwork and feed it into a shredding truck in front of you and provide you with a certificate of destruction for legal proof. It might take a few bags on the first visit for the bulk of the paperwork, but the ongoing cost of destroying documentation as you go is considerably lower than letting it pile up.
If you need someone to help dig you out from your pile of paperwork and help keep your head above water, our shredding specialists can help you understand the process, the benefits and the best option for your shredding needs. For more information, visit our website and get in touch.