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Seven Advantages of Digital Document Archiving.

by Nathan Zachary
Digital Archiving

The digital archiving of documents provides notable advantages over the physical file on paper. Some of these advantages are obvious, but others are unknown to most companies, which believe that paper filing is essential for legal purposes.

When we see the digital archiving of documents as a substitute for paper, and when we are clear that we can completely dispense with physical files, keeping only digital archiving, we begin to see all the possibilities open to us.

1 – File Normalization

The digital archiving of documents converts all the heterogeneity of papers that arrive at our company daily (invoices, receipts, expense sheets) into a structured and homogeneous database. Each of these papers, initially different and even difficult to handle and file, becomes a unique digital record.

Since all digital records are homogeneous, it is possible to establish a standardized filing and classification system to access all information with different search and filter criteria, all without going through shelves and without opening filing cabinets.

The mountain of various papers has passed into history.

2 – Saving space, material, and resources

Digital archiving can completely replace the physical file. This means that even though we have the legal obligation to keep those documents for years, we can keep them in a digital format with full legal validity thanks to certified digitization, destroying the paper.

From here, space is saved in offices (whose cost per m2 is usually high) due to the elimination of files and shelves.

The absence of paper, in turn, triggers significant savings in costs of paper, printing, furniture, filing cabinets, and various office supplies, which can be dispensed with almost entirely. Normally, even the machines (photocopiers, scanners) end up being eliminated, leaving us with a minimal part, which results in new savings.

3 – Save time, increase efficiency

Paper searches can be time-consuming, even in a well-organized file. When a piece of paper is not exactly in its place, how can we know if we do not have it, if someone has taken it or if we must continue looking in other possible locations? After investing our time, we may not even find what we are looking for.

Digital document searches are instant and done with complete certainty. If the document exists, we will always find it because the records cannot be misplaced as they are not supported on a physical medium. With a digital database, we will save many hours of work related to managing the physical file and eliminate any doubt in a search.

4 – Elimination of legal risks

As we have seen, the certainty of having the file under control and managed through a database eliminates the possibility of losing documents. The digital archive, of which multiple copies can be kept in different physical locations, removes the risk of accidents or catastrophes (such as fire and earthquake).

The information can be on a company server and an external server simultaneously, so the legal risks of losing documentation are eliminated. The cost of digital memory is getting lower, and keeping backups is getting easier every day. And more secure.

5 – Immediate and concurrent access to documentation

When we maintain a physical file of documents, there is the possibility that several people need to access the same paper at the same time. In the best case, we will have to take turns (wasting time) or make copies (more writing), but it can also happen that someone forgets to return a document to the archive, and we do not know who it is. The physical medium is unique and can only be in one place.

When we work with a digital file, any number of users can simultaneously access any record because the physical support disappears. Each one works with a screen display without “taking” the document. No one changes places; no one loses anything; everyone consults simultaneously.

6 – Integration with the accounting system

A possible derivative of digital archiving is its integration with the accounting system (ERP). In this area, many possibilities open, ranging from the mere consultation of digitized documents on the screen to automatic accounting based on OCR technology.

Only the imagination can set limits to the possibilities of the digital archive, which even allows the validation of invoices or expense notes remotely and without transporting paper for their signature. Most modern financial information systems are prepared for this.

7 – Improved environmental sustainability

For a long time and to an increasing extent, the environmental sustainability of companies has become, in addition to an essential operating principle, a sales argument that improves our image abroad.

Eliminating paper and other materials (such as printer toner) associated with the physical file will result in a more significant environmental sustainability for our company as part of our corporate social responsibility.

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