Electronic Filing! Is it the bane of our existence or our saving grace?
We all are familiar with information overload. Thanks to the internet, we get information from various sources. Like articles, blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, etc. on any topic you can imagine at our fingertips.
You are faced with many emails a day, often with important business documentation in the form of attachments. You need an electronic filing workflow, a structured file plan, and a standard naming convention. Equally important, all these electronic records can quickly become duplicated and easily misplaced. Leading to many wasted hours searching (and often not finding) important information.
This makes it harder to secure important information. Leading to data breaches that can lead to huge fines and bad publicity. Prevent all this through a dedicated Electronic File Management System. Read on to discover the benefits of electronic filing.
1. Electronic Filing increases productivity and reduces cost
According to the Gartner Group employees spend on average 30 minutes to 2 hours looking for electronic documents. Creating, organizing, and analysing information and data is very time intensive. Meaning that poor data management systems come at a high cost. As volumes of information increase within the business, cloud-based systems are implemented, and the business move to a paperless organization, this will get amplified.
Huge volumes of unnecessary physical paper records can lead to high storage costs in the form of additional property rental. If you are using a storage company, you pay a monthly storage fee. Further to this, you also pay handling fees for retrievals returns. And eventually the destruction of these records. In addition to this, electronic filing also minimizes errors likely to happen with manual data entry and filing.
Creating an efficient workflow for electronic filing saves time and improves productivity. It enhances customer service by shortening the turnaround time to respond to queries.
2. Electronic Filing helps to prepare for a mobile work environment
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to move from office-based to remote working. Made more challenging by the fact that businesses did not have any time to plan this transition. Remote workers cite their biggest challenge as accessing relevant data to do their jobs. A centralized, and well-organized file management system on a shared drive or in the cloud, helps mobile workers to work efficiently wherever they are.
3. Electronic Filing is one of the first steps to a paperless office
Going green by reducing the amount of paper you use can improve your companies’ image, get tax benefits, and reduce the cost of supplies. Going green can also give you various advertising opportunities.
Physical records are costly and time-consuming to manage. Research indicates that 80% of paper records files are never referenced again. Additionally, a Xerox study has found that 45% of office paper printed, were discarded the same day. A lot of time is wasted by printing, sorting, purging, scanning, and filing paper. Having an organized filing system available on shared servers or in the cloud helps to prevent unnecessary printing and minimizing scanning activities.
4. Electronic Filing Improves Information Management for your business
Implementing a logical file structure and using standard record naming conventions, will make searching and indexing more effective. Users will be more likely to find and use the information they require to do their work efficiently. This leads to faster progress and more time to develop projects.
Storing your information on servers, in the cloud, and even on detachable hard drives or USB sticks, makes your data portable. Because it is digital, you do not have to worry about physical destruction or damage of paper records. This can be due to over-handling, fire, flood, or other natural disasters.
Established policies and guidelines will help new employees to understand the workflow for the faster filing of electronic records. And will ensure efficient retrieval of information and records from the beginning of their employment. Document Management Training should form part of the induction of all new employees.
The efficient filing of your electronic records helps to comply with legal and retention requirements. This ensures appropriate retention and disposal of records. Even though statutory records need to be kept in hard copy, it can be scanned and stored digitally. Making them easily accessible. Most of the time the information and not the actual record are required. Thereby minimizing wear and tear of the actual documents. As well as mitigate the risk of it getting lost or misplaced.
5. Electronic Filing Improves Compliance with Records Retention
Poor records management causes problems in retrieving files when requested by auditors. Or when not complying with Data Protection and Privacy Laws. Thereby leading to huge fines and bad publicity. Such as POPI in South Africa and the EU GDPR in the United Kingdom.
An electronic filing system provides improved security and confidentiality. Through using passwords, allowing access to information on a need-to-use basis, and data encryption. Audit trails records who has accessed what files and when. This all helps to keep your electronic records more secure.
6. Electronic Filing Prepares for Migration into the Document Management System
An organized and efficient electronic file management systems make the transition into a document and content management system much easier. It improves search results and ensures no unnecessary records will be incorporated during migration.
So, we can see that efficient electronic filing can help your employees to be more productive. Through the time saved by efficient file retrieval. Especially the retrieval of files from shared servers or the cloud by employees working remotely. Cost benefits result from less physical storage space and saving on fines due to noncompliance to data protection laws.
Do you lay awake at night about not being able to retrieve information quickly? For auditors, or even worse, not complying with data protection and privacy laws?
Get in touch with me today! I can help you create a logical and workable file plan, standard naming convention, and efficient workflow to ensure that you will be able to keep on filing efficiently in the future!