10 Kinds of Documents You Should Be Archiving and Shredding

Smart business owners know their paperwork is more than just a stack of documents. All that paperwork contains the information that allows their business to function – and that means those documents need to be protected.

document protection
document protection

Think about it: you work with confidential information every single day, from credit card numbers to Social Security numbers, checks, pay stubs, private contact information, and more.

Paperwork containing this information needs to be disposed of properly. This is not just for the protection of you and your clients, but often because it’s the law, depending on your type of business.

Protecting this valuable information begins with two things: shredding sensitive documents and ensuring those documents are scanned and securely backed up.

So what documents should you be shredding and backing up? Here is a list of key paperwork you should be shredding and, in some circumstance, scanning:

1. Employee information and personnel files – Your employees will appreciate that you are looking after their privacy.

2. Social security numbers – Anything with a social security number on it can expose people to identity theft, so be wary of documents containing this information.

3. Medical Records – This one is huge, because HIPAA regulations are stringent when it comes to protecting medical information. Violations can result in fines and even the loss of a medical practice license.

4. Canceled Checks – Using cancelled checks to create “new” checks, and in turn bleed an account dry, is an old practice used by savvy thieves. A move towards paperless business operations can help prevent this.

5. Receipts & Invoices – They may seem like insignificant scraps of paper, but in fact they can be used to find out your internal spending, your overhead, data about your business partners, and more. This is sensitive information, so be sure to have this material backed up and shredded.

6. Client Lists – A list of information this sensitive is not something you want to get into the hands of competitors.

7. Credit card numbers – If you have documents with credit card numbers on them, they should be shredded. A common form of theft is to go through a business’s garbage and look for such numbers. Shred them!

8. Bank account numbers – Do yourself a favor and have all your banking documents stored in a secure, encrypted digital environment.

9. Memos & Internal letters – Memos may not seem like much, but they can provide your competitors with information on how you run your business. There may also be information in such documents that could cause privacy concerns or expose you to legal trouble. Have them shredded!

10. Pay stubs – Pay stubs contain sensitive information about your employees. Be sure to properly dispose of them so identity thieves cannot get their hands on them.

11. Tax records – No matter the type of tax documents, don’t let this data get into the wrong hands. This is especially true of W2 and 1099 forms.

No matter the kind of business you run, security is important. In today’s world, criminals have any number of ways of making life more difficult for you, your employees, and your business partners.

But if you’re smart, you can prevent it. It all begins with digital archiving and document shredding.

4 Ways Your Business Benefits From Going Digital

At one time, there was no business on Earth that could operate without shuffling a lot of paperwork. In many ways, paperwork was the lifeblood of business, containing all the data, facts, figures, plans, and information needed to keep the dollars flowing in and out.

New laptop on a table at modern office
New laptop on a table at modern office

That is no longer the case. Thanks to digital technology, document scanning, and changes in how we conduct business, the paperless office (or nearly paperless office) is a reality.

Many business owners assume the idea of a “paperless office” is only for tech, IT, and financial businesses; that it doesn’t apply to small and mid-sized businesses like theirs, especially if they deal with a lot of customers.

But that assumption is wrong. To understand why, you first need to understand how document scanning and paperless initiatives can benefit you:

1) Improves Your Customer Service

The nature of your business doesn’t matter, a general rule is going to apply no matter what: customer service is paramount.

You ability to succeed and grow begins and ends with your ability to service your clients’ needs. Going paperless can be a big boost in that regard. You can ensure their phone calls and visits are resolved quickly when the information they are looking for – copies of a contract, old medical records, past invoices, and so on – can be retrieved quickly and easily.

That means your customers will walk away happy, and happy customers are return customers.

2) Boosts Your Employee Productivity

No one likes to shuffle paperwork. The feeling is nearly universal: employees hate it.

When you eliminate paperwork and instead have all those documents at the tip of their fingers, however, you give your employees the ability to work smarter rather than harder. This lets them hunt down those old invoices, review that contract from two years ago, and so on with minimal effort.

And that will not only make them happy, it will make them far more productive, too.

3) Saves Your Business Money

A result of having more efficient employees is that your employees can do more with their time. You might not need as much staff, or they might not have to work as many hours. That has a direct impact on your bottom line.

You can do the math yourself and see: If your typical employee has to dig up 20 documents per day, and it takes five minutes to find each document, that’s over an hour and a half per day sorting through papers.

If it instead takes 10 seconds when that document is scanned into the computer, they will have saved 100 minutes of work per day. At $12 per hour, that’s nearly $5,000 annually.

The numbers don’t lie.

4) You’ll Enhance Your Security

When it comes to identity theft and electronic theft, the biggest vulnerability for businesses with data to protect – legal offices, medical practices, contractors, those in the financial sector, and so on – comes in the form of good old fashioned paperwork.

Rummaging through dumpsters is still the primary way thieves get access to key data about you, your employees, and your customers. It’s how criminals clone your checks, get your bank account numbers, and more.

By going digital, your data can be safely encrypted, keeping it safe from prying eyes even in the virtual world.

That kind of security is priceless.

Are you ready to take your business virtual today?

5 Tips To Save Money NOW by Ditching Paper

Let’s be honest, it’s a project you’ve been thinking about but you’ve been putting off: scanning in all those contracts and records and business documents. You know it will be a big job. You know it will be helpful in the long-term. But wow, what a task!

Don’t look at it that way. Instead, look at these five incredible reasons why document scanning will not only make life easier for you, but why it will save you a ton of money:

1) It Makes For Better Customer Service

No matter the nature of what you do, you want to offer the best customer service possible. That’s a given. Giving your customers a smooth, painless experience is one of the best ways to accomplish that. You want their phone call and/or visit to be quick, you want them to get satisfaction as fast as possible, and you want them to walk away happy.

Waiting around while the person helping them digs up a contract from two years ago or a medical document from four years ago is NOT going to make them happy.

The rapid response they can get when all your documents are scanned into the system, however, will result in a much happier client.

2) Employee Productivity Will Be Boosted

The bane of any administrative assistant or office work’s existence is paperwork. No matter how organized your office, no matter how good your employees, hunting down documents is going to eat up more of their time than should be necessary. Having all that paperwork right at their fingertips will let them worker smarter, not harder.

3) You Will Slash Your Operating Budget

In a paperless office that has put a good document scanning system into place, you won’t need to watch as countless hours are tossed away looking for paperwork that could have been found in a few seconds rather than a few minutes. Just do the math on our online calculator and this is apparent.

If it normally takes five minutes to find a key document in your old filing cabinets, and it instead takes 10 seconds when that document is scanned into the computer, an employee will have saved 100 minutes of work per day (based on having to retrieve 20 documents per day).

More math: At $12 per hour, you’re going to save nearly $5,000 per year on that employee alone.

4) Your Key Data Will Be Secure

These days, you hear a lot about “identity theft” and corporate espionage and the like, but you know what? The truth is that the biggest vulnerabilities for businesses with data to protect – legal offices, medical practices, contractors, those in the financial sector, and ANYONE with business secrets to protect – is what some call the “analog loophole.”

When it comes to your day-to-day business, the “analog loophole” is not what you expect: it’s your paperwork. It’s your printed documents. Rummaging through dumpsters may not make the news anymore, but it’s still the primary way people get access to key data about you, your employees, and your customers. It’s how they clone your checks, how they get your bank account and social security numbers, and more.

In other words, if you think protecting your business from digital thieves is a digital game, you’re wrong.

5) It’s Environmentally Friendly

This one is obvious, isn’t it? When you convert to a paperless office, you create an environment that is “green.” You lower your impact on Mother Nature, you use up fewer resources (which makes this one of the most beneficial money-saving office tips), and you let people know that you care about our collective future. The value of that can’t be measured!

4 Major Reasons to Switch to a “Digital Office”

Go back 15 or 20 years, and the idea of a “digital office” was a lot of marketing speak and daydreaming about the future.

digital-office.jpg

Today, it’s a reality. Many businesses have moved a large percentage of their operations to a digital environment.

Whether it’s shuffling paperwork, communicating with a far-flung staff, dealing with customer orders and more, going digital has proven to be a big boon for businesses that do it, no matter their size. Here are 4 reasons why:

1) You Can Measure Your Success

Your successes and failures are far easier to quantify in numbers when you’ve converted much of your business’s operations to a digital format.

Yes, you can compile reports on paper, too – businesses have been doing it for centuries – but for the first time in history you can see the performance of your business in real time, down to the hour.

From entire departments to individual employees, measuring your efficiency and productivity and figuring out how to be better at what you do is never easier than when you work with a “digital office.”

2) You Can Work Faster and More Efficiently

Digging through filing cabinets, tracking down old documents, filing away paperwork, looking for data for a customer or client – this stuff is the bane of offices everywhere.

It takes time, it takes resources, and it takes your employees away from doing the things they should be doing.

When you’ve moved to a more digital environment (especially if you’ve had many of your documents scanned), all of this is just a mouse click away. Documents, data, files, info – click and you’re done. That makes your staff more efficient, and that saves you money.

3) You Can Enhance Office Communications

They say communication is key, and that’s never truer than in business. Whether it’s with people outside the office or internal communication, digital is the way to go. Instant communication with IM services, easy archives with email, the ability to easily pass documents between staff members, and so much more.

Remember the days of struggling with faxes and problems arising from miscommunication? Those days are over for businesses that have embraced modern technology.

4) You Can Eliminate Wasted Space

At one time, having any sort of business meant devoting at least some space to filing cabinets – and depending on the nature of your business, that could be a LOT of space. For medical professions, those in financial services and others, storing documents meant devoting entire rooms just to cabinets packed with paperwork.

Those days are over.

With digital document scanning and retrieval, you no longer need to devote space to drawers and drawers full of documents. They can all be stored digitally. You can even store them in the cloud so they can be retrieved from anywhere, at any time.

The world of small business has changed. Have you changed along with it?