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Digital transformation

12 Essential Steps To Creating a Paperless Business

As digitization increases, more and more businesses are going paperless. Here are the benefits and steps for getting started.
Jennifer Gustavson
July 21, 2022
4 min

As digitization increases, more and more businesses are going paperless, transitioning everything from bookkeeping and document storage to notarization and invoicing online. For some, it's the draw of saving time and money — moving from expensive and labor-intensive printing and storage processes to easy-to-use, affordable document management software. For others, it's the appeal of eliminating cumbersome filing cabinets and storage facilities. Others are in it for environmental reasons—saving about 10,000 sheets of paper per employee per year—while others want increased security or easily accessible documents for eSignature and online notarization.

Whatever your organization's primary motivations for going paperless are, you will see an increase in efficiency and ease when all documents are digitized. And with a simpler and more intuitive system, you can be more efficient and better serve your customers.

You may still be wondering how your particular business would benefit from going paperless and how to manage the transition. Below are some simple reasons for going digital and some painless ways to achieve paperless status.

Why are businesses going paperless? 5 benefits

1. Saves time and money

In a traditional paper-based office, teams spend valuable time printing, collating, and filing documents — not to mention searching for those documents when they need them again. Additionally, office managers spend a ton of money on paper, printers, storage, and appliance repairs. Switching to an online document storage system allows employees to share, store, and access documents entirely online — saving time and slashing budget.

2. More environmentally conscious

If you're eco-conscious, going paperless is a great choice. Relying on printing uses reams of paper, which is carbon-intensive and contributes to deforestation and greenhouse gas production. Transitioning to the cloud saves paper and decreases your carbon footprint.

3. Increases document security

Chances are, your office has a lot of documents it needs to keep secure, whether medical records or legal proceedings. Paper records can be easily lost, damaged, or accessed by the wrong people. Opting for a digital document storage system can help keep your records secure from natural disasters and prying eyes.

4. Provides a digitized project management framework

Paper-based offices rely on cumbersome filing systems that are often difficult to navigate, making even preserved documents hard to access or share. Migrating to an online project management system not only preserves documents and important data, but it also organizes them in a way that allows teams to locate, digest, and share them easily.

5. Streamlines processes

Paperless systems centralize all documents and processes in one place, allowing employees to conduct all their business in a central location. Instead of needing access to a printer and distributing files of hard copies to employees, then filing the final document in a physical storage unit, going paperless allows teams to do all their essential work in just a few clicks.

7 steps to create a paperless business

Chances are, you're convinced of the perks of going paperless and want to dive right in. But embracing technology and going paperless can feel daunting — it can be difficult to know where to start. Below are seven simple ways your business can begin the transition to going paperless and capture the benefits of a digital workplace.

1. Create management initiatives to go paperless.

Set clear, escalating goals that transition your team step by step toward paperless. Most employees want to go paperless, but 47% of recent survey respondents said that lack of management initiative was getting in the way of progress. Bring your team in at the beginning to get buy-in and brainstorm easy steps you can take early in the transition, then make a plan to tackle the more difficult obstacles as you go. Include rewards for reaching goals, and remember to model the behavior you want to see by digitizing your own office space first.

2. Invest in a document management system.

It's not enough to simply scan and store your company's files. It's vital to be able to access, modify, and share them, too. That's why it's critical to invest in a document management system. Instead of a document "vault," a management system clearly labels, sorts, and stores documents in a way that is easy to access, so your files are always at your fingertips. 

3. Utilize cloud-based document storage.

Instead of bulky filing cabinets or clunky hard drive storage approaches that take up too much space, opt for a cloud-based storage solution. This approach allows you to store all your documents in a central location that you can access from anywhere.

4. Take advantage of digital tools.

Transitioning to paperless goes far beyond digitizing and storing documents. It applies to everything you do as a business, from communicating with your clients to keeping track of customer service interactions. Invest in help desk technology, email and social media software, and CRM services that can help you stay in constant communication with your clients — without the hassle of paper.

5. Explore online notarization.

Your company likely has to routinely sign and store important documents, but now you can digitize that process, too. With cutting-edge online notarization software, you can sign and notarize documents online, then securely and digitally store them for retrieval at any time.

6. Opt out of junk mail.

You never wanted to receive it in the first place — so why not eliminate it as part of your paperless effort? In many instances, you can reach out to the sender directly and ask to be removed from their mailing list. But if that's too cumbersome, you can also call the FTC and ask to stop junk mail in bulk.

7. Automate business processes.

You're doing your best to eliminate paper processes within your office. But don't forget to automate your business processes to eliminate paper coming in, too. Reach out to credit card companies, vendors, and utility companies and ask to receive bills entirely online. 

How Notarize can help you go paperless

One of the biggest deterrents to businesses embracing the digital transformation and going paperless is the concern over a secure, efficient way to sign, notarize and store important documents. With the Notarize platform, you can sign documents from anywhere, anytime, then store and access them from our secure platform — removing one of the key barriers to going paperless. Schedule a demo to learn more about how Notarize can help your business go paperless.

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Jennifer Gustavson

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