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10 bad habits of paper commerce and how to get rid of them

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Based on our experience, we have prepared a top 10 list of the worst habits and challenges faced by companies without a document management system.

Every year the World Bank issues a list showing the environmental friendliness of individual countries. This year, Slovenia ranked 30th out of 190 participating countries, which is good. In tax simplicity, it even ranked 24th. However, we do have many bad rankings. We are 49th in the simplicity of establishing a company and 80th in the simplicity of acquiring construction permits. What is catastrophic is the data on implementing contractual rights (119th) and the simplicity of acquiring a loan (133rd). In all of the listed categories, Slovenia has regressed significantly compared to the previous year.

What is common to all of the listed areas is the fact that they are heavily dependent on documents and processes relating to paper commerce. In Avtenta we have helped optimise paper commerce in numerous companies and organisations of all sizes. Based on our experience, we have prepared a top 10 list of the worst habits and challenges faced by companies without a document management system.

1 Signing documents

In companies, documents are usually prepared by persons who are not the final signers because they are not the company’s responsible persons. They then use a lot of time coordinating and acquiring signatures because the documents circulate via e-mail, printers, scanners and in other ways.

Solution: Documents in a document management system get to the appropriate persons much faster, who can then approve or digitally sign them at any time.

2 Copying documents

Employees often use the latest version of a document as a template for all new documents, therefore, more often than not, old information remains, which can be annoying or even dangerous (date, name, period of notice, amount, responsible persons, etc.).

Solution: The document management system already contains appropriate templates and document drafts, as well as instructions for their supplementation. A computer system is able to automatically enter all serial numbers, codes and other pre-set values.

3 Printing and destroying documents

Printing habits can sometimes be bad habits. Employees print large and unnecessary quantities of documents, which they later have to physically destroy due to the protection of personal data or other reasons, which is time-consuming and environmentally unfriendly. Such waste of resources is anything but rational.

Solution: Employees need to be convinced to change their habits and print only the things that are absolutely necessary.

4 Document archiving

The law dictates the medium-term and long-term storage of paper documents based on their purpose. This in practice means that documents sit in a box in a drawer for many years, after which they are destroyed. In addition to wasting precious office space, finding documents in paper archives is a time-consuming task, and the premature destruction of such documents poses a risk of non-compliance with the law for the company.

Solution: All better document management systems have excellent archiving solutions. All documents are electronically stored in accordance with the law, the archive is created regularly and the employees may find the information in the digital documents with just a couple of clicks and basic or advanced search operations.

5 Scanning documents

Scanning paper documents is time-consuming, especially if the scanner is of poor quality and the data is stored manually.

Solution: We recommend the implementation of a modern solution for the electronic exchange of data and its integration with the document management system.

6 Lost documents

Employees may also lose or misplace paper documents, making their search time-consuming, as well as creating a new document.

Solution: There is almost no way for documents to be lost in a document management system.

7 Piles of paper

A large quantity of paper documentation that needs to be read, approved, signed, re-sent or have any other operation performed is a burden for employees, especially if large piles of paper are being stacked on desks.

Solution: Working with documents in a document management system is much more transparent, accurate and quicker.

8 Errors in manual entry

When we work with paper documentation that is later digitalised or transcribed into a commercial information system, errors may occur in entering the right set of numbers of a specific memo, travel order, holiday form, contract, order form or any other document.

Solution: In a document management system connected to other solutions, HR records, travel order numbers, absence forms and other data are constantly managed accordingly and are available to relevant persons and compliant with the law.

9 Incomplete content of documents

Office employees must often state various legal grounds or refer to other contents when preparing their documents. The omission of such information may lead to the refusal of forms, violations of the law and similar issues.

Solution: A document management system knows all the documents (e.g. contracts, annexes, takeover or complaint records, ISO requirements, and others) that are related to the main document.

10 Inspector bait

Badly organised work with paper documentation serves as a bait for various inspectors who may quickly find flaws and mistakes relating to wrongly managed or recorded documents. This leads to penalties for the responsible persons.

Solution: An accredited document management system and orderly documentation significantly reduce the risks for penalties in the event of an inspection.

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