Times are changing. There is no gentle way to say that. Things that weren’t offered digitally a while ago are now the most accessible way to run a business. Sometimes there is no longer even an option to handle your business in paper fashion.
The fact is, how well you maintain your electronic filing determines how successful your business will be. Here are some ways to stay ahead of the times, and make sure that your company can survive the electronic phase we now face today.
Establish A Strategy
The first thing that needs to take place is taking a look at what systems are currently in place. Is there a balance between online filing and paper filing? If the answer is yes, the next step would be to find a way to merge the two processes. Merging the processes will eliminate the hassle of employees trying to manage and remember both systems. Most likely, important information has gone missing, or is improperly stored because of two completely different strategies.
If there is only paper filing happening, it doesn’t mean that this is any easier to sort out, but it is crucial that it is. There are many benefits to switching over to electronic files, but the most important one is security. Nowadays there are many systems provided online that are password protected to access sensitive information. This is extremely helpful when it comes to natural disasters, break-ins, or even disloyal employees. If none of those tragedies are scary enough…think about the fire hazard!
Most online filing operations do not require specialized software, but it is important to consider the cost while revamping. If spending money on a monthly subscription seems like the best option, go for it. It will relieve a lot of tension when it comes to starting from the ground up. Bring other people into the equation as well.
Make Sure It’s Teachable
Once you have established your systems, be sure to make sure it is teachable. If the team in each department cannot replicate the system, maybe it’s time to make adjustments. It is always a good idea to make sure that there aren’t too many steps and that the instructions are comprehended easily. Create a document that is detailed enough to explain each step, but simple enough that it can be explained in bullet points.
After training teams, it’s time to move forward! A new idea/process doesn’t have to be permanent as soon as it is put into place. It’s healthy to give a trial period and take notes when employees draw attention to weaker points in the system. This doesn’t mean it has become an epic failure, it just means there’s more work to do.
After the trial period is over, revisit each area that needs adjustments. Is it the program? Does the system allow easy access to files that were stored maybe even years ago? These are just a couple important questions to think about when reviewing.
What To Do With The Physical Files
There are basic laws and regulations in regards to paper copies of personalized client information. This is not something to overlook or see as a reason to not continue in the electronic filing process. Consider a safe storage space that only a few selected and necessary employees have key-entry access to.
Factoring in this storage space can be a bit more costly, but is worth the extra investment when it comes to security measures and adding more structure. If keeping a physical copy is necessary for the type of business, appropriate storage space, and filing access to those that it will affect the greatest.
Folder structures and organization are deeply encouraged when it comes to this topic. Having an additional storage space does not mean it is another place to dump paperwork. This needs to become a tidy and efficient environment that can be accessed at all times, for any reason at all.
A change like this can definitely seem intimidating and time consuming. It’s a guarantee that it fulfills both of those expectations, but it is necessary to keep business afloat.