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Earth Day | Another great time to consider going paperless!

Go Paperless!Today is Earth Day › and we felt this was a good opportunity to repost and earlier blog that we did that focuses on going paperless. Enjoy!

I am considered the "green" one in my family and while I have always worked to make my choices as environmentally friendly as possible, I have not always been successful but I keep trying.  Sometimes my failure is because of the economics involved with implementing some of the "greener" options like when I could not afford to install geothermal heat during my home renovation, but, more often than not, there are choices I can make that have little or no economic cost and many that will even save me money.

As we, as a society, push to live more sustainably and utilize our limited resources in better ways, one way that organizations be part of the solution is by going paperless.  And, going paperless has never been easier or more cost effective.  One of my early jobs after graduate school was doing quality assurance testing for a software product to help offices go paperless.  That was almost twenty years ago, and advancements in technology have made the goal of a paperless office even more attainable.

While there are many components to a paperless office, I wanted to run through a quick hit list of the advantages specifically in using electronic document management solutions.  These solutions allow you to store critical documents digitally eliminating the need to print out and keep hard copy records thus reducing the negative impact on our forests and helping to reduce pollution. 

Here's a quick hit list of some of the advantages of electronic document storage:


Easier Access to Documents

Source documents are attached electronically to the records to which they are related making them easier to access and share.  It is also significantly faster to retrieve an electronic file than to search through paper ones for what you need.


Improved Accuracy

With older paper-intensive filing systems, it is easy to misfile or misplace a document making it nearly impossible to retrieve when needed.  With electronic filing, if the document is accidentally "misfiled", keyword and other search options can often make it easier to find and correct the problem.


Safer and More Secure

File cabinets, even those with a lock, have limited security.  With electronic files, you have the ability to restrict who can and cannot see a document.  You can also use audit trails to track and monitor who accesses the information.  And, with appropriate disaster recovery plans in place, you will never lose your files.


Decreased Physical Storage Needs

Electronic documents take up far less physical space than paper ones which may allow you to decrease your office space.  Also, and this may just be my own personal reason, but less clutter and paper covering your desk makes for a far more peaceful work environment.


Less Stressful Audits

With all the information stored electronically and easy to access, it can make things like an audit go more smoothly and greatly reduce the time spent looking for necessary documents. 


Expanded Work Locations

If documents can be accessed electronically and your system is designed for remote access or is cloud based, employees can work remotely whether it be from the road during a business trip or from home during a blizzard.


Reduced Costs

While there will be an initial investment in the software and hardware needed to go paperless, the ROI (return on investment) can often be an extremely short time frame when you start looking at all the costs that are reduced including printing, mailing, paper supplies, and storage space.


Healthier Planet

And, going paperless reduces the strain put on our limited resources.

While letting go of current work processes and long held methods of getting the job done can sometimes be difficult, large scale change can be successful.  How many people had rolodexes, or wallets filled with business cards, ten years ago but now store their contact information electronically?  Each industry has their own regulations and governmental requirements which may impact the ability to go fully paperless, but wherever it is possible to implement, you can see great savings.  

Soft Trac is a woman-owned business and accomplished team of nonprofit software consultants.  We believe in making nonprofits "do good" better.   For more information on any of the topics discussed in this blog or to learn more about the software products and services we offer, please visit our CONTACT  page. 

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