Going paperless empowers your organization to improve its workflows and streamline its records management, as digitization is the gateway to faster data retrieval, reduced errors, and less overhead costs. In that way, digital documents are really the backbone of a successful organization, as well as an opportunity to ensure the confidentiality of countless office records. By leveraging digital documents at your own agency, you’ll be propelled into the modern world of conducting business, and boost client satisfaction at the same time.
What is a digital document?
A digital document is one that is paperless in its original form, like an invoice that’s sent as a PDF file (via email). Digital document solutions allow both the sender and the recipient to easily access whatever insights are being shared, which means it’s also easier to enter relevant information into your agency’s preferred ERP system or other business software.
Digital document vs electronic document: what’s the difference?
Although ‘digital documents’ and ‘electronic documents’ might seem like the same thing, these two aren’t actually synonymous. Simply put, an electronic document contains static data that’s transferred from one computer to the next (without any edits or changes made in the process). Examples of electronic documents include emails, digital purchase receipts, and digital images.
Digital documents, on the other hand, are more collaborative in nature. Think of digital documents as ‘living’ files, in that they can be edited, updated, and moved through workplace processes with ease. The flexibility of digital documents — like invoices and personnel records — gives them a leg up as compared to electronic documents, and makes them cleaner to work with than one-dimensional paper files.
5 examples of digital documents
Digital documents serve a variety of purposes, though some of the most common examples include personnel records, legal documents, internal communications, applications, and invoices. Each of these files has its own specific features and functionality, all of which are made more accessible (and less complex) when they’re converted into a digital format.
1. Personnel records
Personnel records are files that pertain to the employees at your organization, and are typically managed by the HR department. In general, personnel records include details about an employee’s application, job description, and their unique salary data. Specific examples include hiring documents, performance reviews, and compensation records (like W-4s, beneficiary forms, and so on). The best way to maintain your agency’s personnel records is through digital documentation, as this method makes sure all private employee information is well-protected.
2. Legal documents
The truth is, personnel records and legal documents are likely to overlap at some point. That’s because items like non-disclosure agreements, background checks, and medical records are all employee-related, while also being legal in nature. The benefits to digitizing these records are wide-reaching, but they include: increased efficiency (since digital records are stored in a searchable database), reduced costs (thanks to significantly less storage space), and a more seamless experience for the client (which they’ve come to expect from the legal industry).
3. Internal communications
Internal communications is a bit of a ‘catch-all’ phrase that’s used to describe a number of team connections and collaboration within your office place. Examples of internal information exchange can range from employee handbooks, to top-down memos, to crisis communications, and more. Digital document management helps nurture and promote your agency’s greater internal communication strategy, by streamlining intra-office communications and being able to share information with fellow employees in mere seconds.
As a potential employer, you should aim to make the employment application process as straightforward as possible. This means prospective employees know exactly how and where to apply, while at the same time, your HR department has an easy time filtering the incoming applications (and finding the best person for the job). Digital application forms really upgrade this entire process, by making it much simpler for the HR team to find qualified individuals, and making it quicker for job seekers to find roles that are suited to their skillset.
With digital invoicing, there’s no need to scan individual documents into your system, translating to notable time saved to be used on other value-added projects. In addition, digital invoices ensure all details — such as invoice number, due date, and amount — are always correct. And as for cost savings, with digital invoicing you no longer need to spend money on printing, packaging, and postage, which also means you’re likely to receive payment faster (since the invoices go directly to the recipient’s online bank or similar financial account).
Manage digital documents using the cloud
Cloud-based document management helps agencies organize their digital content in a more efficient manner. With cloud solutions, all your digital files are stored in one centralized location, and can be accessed in the cloud at any time, from anywhere you are. On top of that, utilizing cloud technology helps your agency readily comply with all of its ongoing retention schedules.
Image API’s cloud content management, digital imaging services, and digital process automation is designed to deliver measurable value and sustainable results at the speed of digital. And with your most important documents conveniently uploaded to the cloud, you’ll find yourself in great company, since many agree cloud services are the safest, most effective way to manage all of your past, present, and future documents.
By teaming up with Image API, your agency can do away with its stacks of paperwork and clunky filing cabinets, and instead enjoy all the advantages of the modern, digital landscape.
Digital Document FAQs
Why use digital documents?
Upgrading to digital documents allows all of your records to be searched instantly, which ultimately saves your business valuable time and money. By digitizing your files, your agency opens up for better communication among your team, and helps guarantee your most confidential data remains secure. What’s more, with digital documents you know where your information is at all times, and you can access or track your files from virtually anywhere.
Should you use a digital document management system?
Document management systems make record maintenance and organization much faster, easier, and more efficient. Not only do these programs eliminate the need for physically filing paper documents, but they reduce errors and alleviate concerns over lost documents, as well. Agencies who still rely on older, more ‘traditional’ means of record-keeping are encouraged to digitize their files to make light work of their most repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
How can I ensure security for my digital documents?
Protecting digital documents should be a top priority for agencies who have completed the digitization process. A data breach can have a negative impact on your bottom line, damage your agency’s reputation, or even bring about legal repercussions. That’s why it’s so necessary to submit to a security audit and encrypt your data as soon as possible. In addition, private documents can be password-protected, or kept safe by way of automatic, online backups.