Eight helpful tips for companies or self-employed individuals who are looking to get a handle on paperwork in 2013
With everyone using computers, it’s a bit surprising at how much paper still manages to stack up around an office. For many businesses, large and small, organizing important papers is still a struggle. To help reduce the volume of the “paper trail,” many are switching to computer storage. That means having a good system in place to transfer paper storage to virtual. If being more organized is on your resolution list for next year, here are eight helpful tips for companies or self-employed individuals who are looking to get a handle on paperwork in 2013.
- Scan all documents as soon as you receive them. This way all your documents can be shared as soon as you receive them in your business.
- Consider placing scanners where mail is opened. If all mail is opened in the mailroom, for example, then consider placing a scanner in the mailroom. If knowledge workers are opening the mail, consider placing a desktop scanner in each worker’s office. In the long run, a desktop scanner will be more efficient than requiring employees to get up from their desk and walk over to a shared scanner or copier. The scanning process will only take a few seconds if employees have a scanner on their desk.
- Make sure the scanners you purchase have built-in automatic image processing. This will give you high quality images without having to fiddle around with complicated settings.
- Scan at resolutions no larger higher than 300dpi. If you scan higher than 300 dpi you are just wasting disk space and it may be difficult to email higher resolution documents to your clients.
- Try scanning in Grayscale or Black and White mode for typical business documents. These scanning modes minimize file sizes and are good for typical business documents. Only scan in color mode if there is color in the document that is important because color documents can be up to three times larger in file size than black and white documents.
- At the very least, scan the documents to searchable PDF format and organize them in folders like you would if they were in a filing cabinet. Searchable PDF format will allow you to find documents by using the built in Microsoft Windows search tool. You can search for any text in the document such as client name, ID number or address.
- If you are scanning thousands of documents, consider purchasing a document management system for your business. There are hundreds of document management systems to choose from including cloud-based systems. A document management system will allow you to easily capture, store, share and retrieve your scanned documents. A document management system is critical if you more than one person in your office needs to retrieve scanned documents. If you are considering a document management system, make sure you purchase a scanner that comes with TWAIN drivers to insure compatibility.
- Don't forget to scan all of your tax documents immediately also! This will reduce your tax preparation time and speed up your accountant’s tax preparation time.
Mark Druziak is the Director of Marketing & Business Development for Plustek Technology Inc., a manufacturer of consumer, consumer and professional imaging devices.