By Jeff Pickard
No matter what size or type of business you run, chances are, you’re overwhelmed with incoming files – both paper and electronic documents. It generally starts slowly – an email here, a receipt there, incoming invoices and customer correspondence, and before you know it, you’ve got a mountain of paper and no way to find the documents you need.
There’s a better way. Document management software can put important documents at your fingertips in seconds and help you keep everything organized. But which document management solution would work best for your office? Here are three tips to help you understand how document management software can help and which features you’ll need to make it work.
1. Make sure the scanning feature is easy to use – both before and after the scan
Scanning has been the biggest barrier to widespread adoption of paperless office practices because many professionals think it’s a hassle. But scanning technology has evolved since the slow, clunky scanners that first arrived on the scene.
Now scanning takes just seconds, and if you get the right technology package, you can automatically create editable, keyword-searchable files in a universal format like PDF while you scan. A good scanning solution even makes bulk scanning easy, recognizing where separate documents in a stack begin and end, and sending them to the right folder like a virtual file clerk.
2. Look for an intuitive organization system that can be shared on your network
Another reason some small business owners are less than enthusiastic about going paperless is that they worry about the way files will be organized online. Some document management systems have a complex interface that looks like you’d need a database expert to help you extract a receipt. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can get a system that makes sense – a simple, intuitive electronic file cabinet that anyone in your network can access. If you find a solution with integrated search features, you can simply conduct a keyword search to pull up documents in seconds, receiving a preview to make sure you’ve got the right file before opening it.
3. Use a document management system that enables editing
When you’re running a business, it’s handy to be able to make changes to electronic documents on the fly and transform printed pages into editable electronic files. If you choose a paperless office solution that fully embraces a universal format such as PDF, you’ll have these capabilities and more – including standard form tools.
With a document management system that has full PDF functionality, you can easily combine files by dropping them on each other and scan new pages into existing documents. The right document management system makes these tasks quick and easy.
If you’re ready to go paperless – and to conquer that mountain of paper before an avalanche occurs – a document management system is your best bet. But keep in mind that there are many types of paperless office systems on the market, and check the features carefully before you pick the one that’s right for your business.
Going paperless is a great way to streamline office operations – and help save the planet by reducing paper. Once you find the right solution, you’ll never want to visit Paper Mountain again.