Taking the Pain Out of Digitizing Records

Karen Schwartz

As your organization has grown, you have probably accumulated more paper than you know what to do with. If you’re organized, you have probably set up a system to file paperwork based on category — financial, human resources, customer information, vendors, etc. Eventually, the time will come when the records and documents you must keep track of will become overwhelming — if they haven’t already. Maintaining paper documents is a time-consuming, inefficient, insecure process that takes up a lot of space. And finding specific documents you need quickly isn’t easy.

You know the solution to the problem: digitizing records. Yet there are probably reasons you haven’t taken the plunge yet. For many, it’s cost. Whether you do it yourself or hire a third party, digitizing records does cost money. But digitizing records can also save your company money. Not only can you reallocate the space you have been using to store documents to a moneymaking venture, but you’ll be able to find documents quickly, saving your employees time.

Sometimes, small businesses continue using paper records simply because that’s the way it’s always been done. While that’s understandable, it doesn’t make good business sense. The world is digital, and it’s time your organization went digital as well.

Of course, you can always digitize your own records. With the right equipment — scanners, shredders, applications and storage — it’s easy enough to do. At the same time, it’s extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Instead, many small and medium-sized businesses choose to contract with a third party for their digitizing needs. Your vendor will scan and index your paper records documents, making them easier to search for and retrieve when needed. If you want a comprehensive approach that includes past records as well, you can request that your entire backlog of existing paper records be digitized.

With this approach, you’ll quickly have a secure, searchable database of your documents and records, accessible on demand. You’ll be able to share documents with your coworkers and partners, controlling access so only authorized users can see and access your information. And as you grow, you will be better positioned to allow your employees to work remotely. Finally, you will have a built-in disaster recovery system, protecting your records from flooding, fire or theft.

If you choose the third-party approach, make sure your vendor has plenty of experience with digitizing records and make sure the personnel, facilities and processes are fully secure. To keep costs as low as possible, consider the pay-as-you-go model instead of a flat-fee service.

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