The future of business is paperless. More and more businesses are doing away with traditional, paper-heavy processes to shift to a digital way of doing things. Understandably, it can be hard for legacy businesses to move away from processes that have proved effective for years, even decades. However, it’s time to start thinking about the future and how sticking with traditional processes will affect the organization’s efficiency, overhead, and lastability.

Where do you start? Who should start it? About 47 percent of employees surveyed said that one of the top three reasons they do not go paperless is a lack of management initiatives or mandates. Essentially, businesses are ready and willing to go paperless, but nobody is leading the way or providing the tools. Someone (maybe you?) needs to take the lead.

1.  Stop, Collaborate & Listen

Going paperless is a big change, and if you don’t have your whole office staff onboard, it might just prove to be impossible. For the best chance at success, meet with the entire staff and have them help set goals and deadlines so that they can be engaged in the paperless process.

2.  Speaking of Meetings

Meetings may seem pointless sometimes, but if nobody remembers what was discussed, there truly is no point to them. Handouts and note-taking are certainly inevitable, but paper is not. Encourage employees to use apps or laptops to take notes so that they can save their notations for later reference, instead of just losing the papers.

3. Cut Paper Production

Tackling the mounds of existing paperwork in your office will seem less daunting if you can reduce the amount of paper produced first. Only print when it’s absolutely necessary; if you do print, print two-sided pages to save on paper.

4. Paperless Billing

Most companies now offer paperless statements and online payment options, and you should be taking advantage of that. Furthermore, if your company doesn’t offer these options to its clients, it’s time to make the switch. Not only will you eliminate piles of paper, but you’ll also save piles of money on envelopes and postage while getting paid faster.

5. Forms of the Future

If you constantly have clients filling out paperwork, switch to an electronic option. There are many platforms available for creating fillable forms, but if those seem too daunting, you can always create an editable PDF that clients can fill out on their computer and email straight back to you.

6. Electronic Signatures

How often do you print out an entire document just to sign one line at the bottom? If it happens more often than you’d like to admit, you’ll be thrilled to know that the ESIGN Act of 2000 verified that electronic signatures hold just as much authenticity as their paper equivalents. Merritt eFileCabinet features a robust and compliance-centered eSignature tool.

7. Go Fax-Free

To guarantee reliance on email attachments rather than the obsolete fax machine, it might be best to just get rid of it. If you have clients or other contacts who are stubbornly set in their faxing ways, try a service that intercepts incoming faxes and converts them to email. Your faxes will be more confidential when they’re delivered straight to your email inbox, and you won’t have to deal with a busy tone or a paper jam ever again.

8. Set Up For Scanning

Now, you’ll need to digitize all your important records. The team at Joseph Merritt & Company can help you evaluate your current paper storage and help you digitize your files. Once the paper is scanned, you can take control of your filing system and set up your team for future success.

9. Invest in the Right Document Management System

All the previous steps you’ve taken will come together when you implement a document management system like Merritt eFile Cabinet. Our software stores all your files and makes them easy to find with the advanced search tool. Your documents can also be emailed or shared securely directly from the program’s interface. Plus, it’s accessible from anywhere, including on your smartphone or tablet.

10. Shred and Celebrate

As you scan all your files and import them into eFileCabinet, most of your paper copies can be shredded and recycled, but be sure you’re familiar with your industry’s regulations before proceeding. Before you know it, you’ll be kicking those ugly metal filing cabinets to the curb and celebrating your new paperless office.

Modernize your office by making the switch to the most intuitive document management system on the market. Let us show you what Merritt eFileCabinet can do to improve your office.