As you or may not know, it’s 2016. I’m sincerely hoping you’re in the former camp! In any case, what that means is that the business world is advancing. Despite this, many businesses are still doing certain things the old-fashioned way.
While the old-fashioned ways are often great, there are some instances in which you could be putting your business at risk. For example, there are still many businesses out there keeping their financial records strictly on paper. There are even more who have moved to digital but haven’t digitized their old records.
We don’t want to give you an article that will swear unfailingly by the importance of digitizing your records. The fact is that doing things the old-fashioned way works best for some companies. If the paper records are being adequately protected and copies are being made, why not stick to physical records?
There are benefits and negatives to both approaches. This article invites you to review and consider both options carefully!
Is physical really such a problem?
You’re not exactly reading something written by someone who will always pick digital over physical. I despair when I see someone using a Kindle instead of getting a paperback, for example. (I’m currently rejoicing in the inevitable fall of Kindle altogether.) But I’m not unrealistic. When it comes to keeping important records in huge bulk, having only physical copies presents a lot of problems.
It must be said that having paper copies of all your records isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, sometimes the old ways are the best. If anything has ever required a signature, then having a physical copy of the original paper that was signed can be crucial. But if your company relies heavily on information and records, then you’re going to run into severe problems eventually. Physical copies take up actual space, which is space you’re going to need.
There’s also physical damage to consider. If proper backup tactics are used, a copy of a digitized record can easily be attained. But if paper copies are destroyed somehow, then that’s it. They’re gone. And this can be a very serious problem. Did you know that some veterans are still suffering the consequences of a 1973 fire than destroyed service records? Obviously, they didn’t have the same records options back then as we do now. But this is still an example to keep in mind when you’re making your choice.
Of course, there are some things I should point out here about those negatives as they relate to digital copies. While it is easier to steal a physical copy of a paper record, it can also easier to tell when one has been stolen. After all, if the copy you’re looking for isn’t where you left it, then it’s probably been stolen, right? Mystery solved. (Well, aside from the mystery of who did it.) But with digital, copies can simply be made with little to no trace. You can tackle this problem by keeping tracing software with your records that can alert you to file copying and relocation. Read more at www.dynamikode.com/products/usb-security-suite/.
Does digital really offer than many benefits?
Digital records basically get rid of all those listed problems. But there are several other benefits to digital records outside of simply getting rid of all issues.
I’m not exactly one for conformity. I like it when businesses think outside the box and do things that aren’t the norm. It’s paid off tremendously for many businesses. But there are certain fields in which consistency and conformity are definitely the way forward. One of the biggest examples of this in the modern age is the use of the Internet. If you’re not engaging with Internet marketing, for example, you’ll probably be eating the dust of other companies!
Going digital is what the majority of other companies are doing. It’s the norm in the business world. Need to communicate to another company about a particular record? Maybe you even need to send them a copy? If you’ve not gone digital, you’re going to have trouble.
When you have all those records digitized, it becomes so much easier for people to actually use those records. Browsing them, finding exactly what you’re looking for, pulling those records… it’s all much more intuitive and faster when you’re using software. It’s as easy as using the scroll wheel on your mouse and a text search tool.
How do I actually do it?
You know usually puts people off of digitizing their records? It’s not being afraid of technology. It’s the process of actually turning those physical copies into digital copies. It’s a long and involved task! The first thing you need to ensure is that you have a network that is going to keep your data protected. You need to combine this need for safety with the need to make those records accessible to as many employees as possible. Yes - this means moving your files to the cloud! Find out more about getting a safe and reliable cloud storage system at www.cmitsolutions.com/services/cloud/cloud-storage/.
It’s probably going to involve a lot of scanning. At least, that’s what you think. The problem with scanning physical records is that they’re turned into images. While that’s going to save you a lot of room, how are you going to browse them? To search through them? If you don’t know what you’re looking for, this is going to be a problem. The solution here, I’m afraid, is to type them out!
What’s going to help you here is the right software. You need to capture all that information within an eDRMS. That’s an Electronic Document and Records Management System. Read more about this type of software at http://www8.hp.com/us/en/software-solutions/. If you’re looking to digitize bookkeeping, you’ll want to look into software tailored for financial purposes. QuickBooks is currently the industry standard, though there are several others out there. Read more at http://quickbooks.intuit.com/.
Digitizing your records can be a long and potentially expensive process. But with the right backup, the cloud is the safest place to keep those records. Plan appropriately!