The digital age is well and truly here and that means it’s time to say farewell to paper. Although original copies of documents are important and should still be kept in storage, government departments such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) now accept electronic copies of records. So, how does one go paperless?
Sort through your information
Certain records and documents require you to keep them for certain lengths of time, depending on the government department or organisation that needs the information. ASIC requires Australian companies to keep their records for seven years, as does the Fair Work Ombudsman. The ATO however, required you to keep your records for five years after the date the records were created. If your information is older than the length of time they are required to be kept, you can destroy them.
Prioritise your information
Think about the information you use and access most regularly. It could be a particular report, patient file or folder of information. If you require access to it often, make it digital first. Once the most important records have been digitised, you can move on to the rest of your backlog.
Start scanning your documents onto an external hard drive or software program directly. Mobile phones also offer a number of scanning apps, giving businesses many options to choose from. Choose a scanner that gives you the option to dictate where the documents are scanned to and in which format to make cataloguing easier.
Catalogue your information
It’s important to save your scanned files in an ordered sequence, tagging and archiving as part of the process. Just scanning them isn’t enough if you want to make it easy to find them later. The files you scan should have an appropriate name and be tagged and placed into an appropriate folder. Take the time to consider your current and future workflow management systems so you don’t have to go back and re-tag files.
Backup your digital information
Now that your documents and records have been digitised, you’ll need to ensure their safety and security. To do this, install malware software, encrypt files with password protections and back up your files to protect them against computer failure.
Turning physical records into digital copies is time consuming, but worth it in the long run. Speak to our information management consultants today to discuss your digitisation and take a step into the paperless future.