Document Management for Small Businesses and Home Offices
Document Management for Small Business and Home Offices is a great way to improve the way you handle your files, save time and cut cost. The situation is that you have a mix of old-fashioned data on paper and electronic files. And in many cases the amount of paper is larger and growing.
Just think about the amount of time you are spending looking for an invoice, receipt or a document you filed a few weeks ago. Or you have several documents you are retyping because they are on paper.
Your time is also very valuable and expensive. You could do many more productive or fun things than looking and searching for documents. And the way you were doing your work for years does not have to be the way you need to do your work in the future.
Simplicity is Key
A solution to the problem of having an environment with paper and electronic documents would be to use a document imaging system or service to convert all of your business’s documents to organized, indexed, filed and stored electronic files. And many people wrongly believe this is too expensive and only large corporations can afford this. Read on and you see how you can save money, and time.
The good news is that if you have a computer, know how to search on the internet, you almost have the entire system in place. Simplicity is the Key. Your document management system doesn’t have to be complex; you just have to follow some very basic steps and you will save lots of time and headaches.
vdocs can help you setting up your entire “paperless” office
vdocs has the experience and expertise to set up a paperless office for your. We help you with your current equipment evaluation or show you which systems will work the best for you. Next we would develop the most productive work processes for your digital files and file conversion and make you self sufficient. Or you can outsource the scanning for either all documents or just the old documents. And you can chose to either store the documents on your systems or via vdocs secure document hosting solutions.
Organizing your documents
Invoices, payment reminder letters, sales brochures, email, balance sheets, spreadsheets, reports, etc. Your Business or Home Office creates a variety of documents in the course of doing and keeping track of business.
Rules for creating and organizing documents
- Convert as many documents as possible into electronic FULL TEXT SEARCHABLE PDF files
- Create folder structure on your computer the same way you organize you hardcopy documents
- Spend the time and file your electronic documents – this will save in the long run
- File your electronic documents right away or set aside a specific time for filing. Follow through, never pile up.
In summary you set up a simple, but robust process in scanning, indexing and filing all your data and documents. If you know you do not have the discipline to maintain your filing process, have someone manage this process for you.
Convert all Documents to Electronic Files
Normally every small Business or Home Office already has a multifunctional copier – printer – fax – scanner system. Why not use this system and organize your ongoing documents? If you do not have a system yet, there are lots of different options.
We recommend a system that is able to scans directly to your computer. Scan to e-Mail is also an option, but this takes additional steps and you need to clean up your e-mail down the road.
Most important is that you have a system that converts your scans into FULL TEXT SEARCHABLE PDF files and the system creates small file sizes. If your scanner does not offer this feature, there are $50+ software packages that convert your scans into full text searchable PDF files.
Ongoing New Documents Scanning
Every new document now needs to be scanned and filed in the correct folder. You should give the document a file name. The date is done automatically by the computer system, but if this is important you can also add this to the document name. Depending on the scanner you have it can take 1 – 2 minutes for each document to be scanned, converted to FULL TEXT SEARCHABLE PDF file and filed at the correct location.
Old Records / Back File Scanning
For the old paper documents you have to make a decision to either scan them yourself of have a professional service do this for you. This depends on the quantity and your time. It takes 1-2 minutes to scan, convert, index and file a document. For 1,000 documents this can take 1000-2000 minutes or 17 – 33 hours. If you have the time, you can do this yourself. Otherwise let vdocs manage the old documents for you.
vdocs as professional scanning service company scans, converts, autoINDEXES and files 1,000 documents in a fraction of what it will take you. This will save you lots of money and time.
Do it yourself or have vdocs scan, index, file, store documents for you
You need to decide what is less expensive: Scan, index and file your documents yourself or have vdocs provide this service for you. If you have a small quantity of documents per month (less than 300) it makes sense to file the documents yourself. Over 300 documents per month you should inverst either in faster technology or outsource the scanning, indexing and filing.
Customer Story: Small Retailer had to file around 1,000 documents per month. Instead of buying the technology, train a person to do this, vdocs scans, indexes and files the documents. The cost is less than $80 per month. Documents are being returned as full text searchable PDF, stored on the business computer and by using Microsoft Indexing all document content can be found in seconds. No more searching for files, not more getting up and looking through file cabinets, because they are gone.
Optional Services: vdocs offer also document secure hosting. Scanned images will be transferred to the vdocs Document Hosting Site and you will access your documents in a secure sytems from anywhere on the internet and you can search for any typed content in any of your documents. After documents are being transfered to your secure Hosting Site, you receive an e-mail notification that new documents have arrived.
How to find documents?
Good documents filing is key to easily retrieve documents. But digital documents have a major benefit over paper based documents. As long as the documents are scanned as FULL TEXT SEARCHABLE PDF, you can search for any typed content in any document, as long as you have an indexing system on your computer. We recommend installing on your computer either Google Desktop or Microsoft Indexing. Both applications are FREE. You configure what folders and files you want to have indexed. After the indexing is complete you can now search for all content within the scanned images and all your office documents, like Word, Excel PowerPoint Files.
Please also read the following article about Document Filing Tips: 10 File Management Tips - File Management Basics for Electronic Files
Most important is to have a good back up system in place. There are great services that offer online data back-up services. If you prefer to keep you data local, jet one or two external hard drives and set up data synchronization that automatically backs-up your data. One other option is to use a NAS drive. These are external storage devices, like the external hard drives, but they are connected to the network with a network cable. The benefit is that the back up speed is faster and you can access the NAS drive from all computers. Or you can dedicate a computer as “server”, keep all your data on this system and back this system up.
Great article on how to back up and protect your data: Data Backup is The Best Data Protection