Missing paperwork may seem like a tiny issue when you’re dealing with company-wide strategies, but it can have serious and expensive implications for your business. When you can’t find important documents, critical processes like invoicing and customer service get delayed. This leads to internal issues between staff and ultimately, lost revenue. Given what’s at stake, companies should know where their documents are at all times.
But first, you must understand what causes missing paperwork. There are five main reasons why you lose documents:
- Subpar handling – When physical documents are carried from one location to another, a lot of things can go wrong. Documents can fall out of folders, get damaged, or end up in the wrong location. The chances of losing files increase when employees aren’t careful with them.
- Cluttered work areas – Sometimes documents are lost because there’s just too much paper being shuffled around the office. Records can go missing in printer trays, someone’s untidy desk, or accidentally be fed into the shredder.
- Clunky filing system – Filing paper manually makes much less sense when your operations grow. More cabinets cause confusion among employees, which eventually leads to documents getting mislabeled or going into the wrong places. These mistakes make it a nightmare to retrieve specific files.
- Poorly managed digital storage – Going digital is a step in the right direction, but it too can have issues if you’re unorganized. Without a logical filing and naming system, you risk losing files in convoluted hard drives and servers.
- Data breaches – Cyberattacks such as computer theft, online scams, and malware, are also common causes of data loss. If computer systems are not thoroughly secured, you’re more likely to be a victim of such threats.
You can significantly eliminate the risk of losing paperwork by following the strategies below.
Digitize documents as soon as possible
The best way to address subpar handling is to create a digital copy of your documents right away. Mobile document management systems (DMSs) like PaperSave allow you to scan and capture documents on the spot and store them in a central repository. Authorized users can then access these documents through any internet-enabled device. That way, you won’t have to worry about whether the physical copies get lost or damaged in transit.
Index documents to increase searchability
Even if you digitally capture paper documents the moment you receive them, there’s still a chance they can be mislabeled or stored in the wrong folders. The solution here is to make your documents searchable.
To do this, tag your documents with unique keywords like vendor names, invoice amounts, and dates. DMS makes this easy with optical character recognition (OCR) — a machine learning-powered technology that automatically indexes the content of scanned documents. From there, all you have to do is enter a few keywords in the search bar to retrieve the files you need. It doesn’t matter if a document is filed in the wrong place, DMS scours through all your data to find it in seconds.
Automate document workflows
Another crucial step for managing paperwork is to create a standardized system for how documents are processed and where they go. Workflow automation tools help you do just that by letting you route documents to the right people.
For example, you can program a workflow that recognizes vendor invoices (using OCR), forwards them to an accounts payable manager for verification, and then sends them to an employee authorized to make payments. This ensures documents never get lost as they’re transferred from desk to desk and allows you to keep a close eye on invoicing processes.
Other processes that benefit from workflow automation include purchase order processing, customer onboarding, and recruitment. Designing a workflow for each one may sound complicated, but taking the time to do this can save your employees from time-consuming and error-prone work.
Secure your devices and data
Protecting your documents from cyberattacks requires a multilayered approach. First, implement security measures such as intrusion detection system (IDS) software, encryption systems, and multifactor authentication (MFA). Then, set access restrictions to documents so that only authorized employees have access to them. Finally, back up your files and store them in different locations (preferably off-site) in case physical copies get misplaced.
The best cloud-based DMS services offer all these solutions and more. They provide 24/7/365 security monitoring services and make sure your data is compliant with industry best practices.
If you never want to lose paperwork ever again, turn to PaperSave for all your document management needs. We offer a robust set of features that reduce your reliance on paper and make your company more efficient. Schedule a free personalized demo with us today to find out how.