Clean desk, clear mind: how your agency can go paperless

Clean desk, clear mind

You’ve heard this advice before: go paperless.

You have probably also heard the reasons why. To go paperless means instant cost savings, conservation of space, and less time spent looking for files. It’s a win for data security too, with the right protections in place. Digital files are harder to steal, harder to destroy, and have the same legal value as their hardcopy counterparts.

For many agencies, though, the difficulty in going paperless lies in execution. It means changing how you work in a fundamental way. And that change can seem like too much effort, with too little free time to make it happen.

And that’s a fair point. The fact is, going paperless without the right tools can be difficult. So let’s talk about the right tools.

Viatek ScanAssist

Property managers process significant volumes of forms, applications, invoices and statements. While you may not always have control over how you receive them, you can control how they get saved in your filing system.

This is where Viatek ScanAssist can help. By integrating with Gateway, this add-on feature reads scanned hardcopy and PDF invoices, and then pre-populates that information in the right fields in Gateway. Consequently, ScanAssist whittles the time it takes to pay invoices down to a couple of clicks.

And to save you the trouble of finding it again, ScanAssist also attaches the scanned invoice to your payment record in Gateway. Woohoo! That means you’ll no longer need those hardcopies.

Making the switch to ScanAssist also saves you the mental effort of entering data perfectly every single time. Between that, time savings and the lack of space you'll need to store files? That’s a no-brainer.

Don’t stop there

In addition to ScanAssist, there are other tools you can try. Changes to legislation mean that electronic and physical hardcopies for most legal documents carry the same weight. With that in mind, consider options that keep your office moving away from paper. If you haven't already, join the legions of property managers using electronic forms for inspections and notices, and electronic signature platforms for agreements and other legal documents.

Organise those folders

As you transition to a paperless office, it becomes crucial to create a bulletproof folder structure. So if yours isn’t as good as it could be, now’s the time to change.

For a start, keep those folders off your computer desktop. Besides making things more difficult to find in the long term, saving files to your computer desktop is seriously hazardous for document security. Moreover, if you use a Mac, saving files to your desktop can cripple its speed and performance.

The age we live in moves too fast for this kind of inefficiency. Heck, life is too short for this kind of inefficiency.

However you decide to order your filing system, avoid creating top-level folders that are named by date. While generally speaking, chronologically ordered subfolders are fine, top level folders should be category-based. This is to help you match folder structure according to how you will probably try to find a document.

Bring in the shredder

Now that you’re managing most files electronically, you’ll notice you’ll rarely need to create physical versions. When you’re comfortable with this environment, steel yourself for the next frontier of paperless-ness: document destruction.

Scan and save hardcopies of existing physical folders. Check, double check, and triple check you have saved everything securely in your new folder structure. Then, take that paper, and put it through the shredder.

Did your heart just stop? If that seems like a step too far right now, don’t fear. You can always give yourself more time to adjust to the change by committing to a transition date.

Working smarter, not harder

In addition to gains in speed and productivity, going paperless can help you think clearer. That’s because poor organisation and clutter makes us prone to distraction. Therefore, cleaning and organising your work space can help declutter your mental state.

But the biggest difference you’ll notice is that digital and paper systems are simply not created equal. Why? Because applications that help you work digitally don’t just file things differently. They help you do things differently.

Electronic forms save you the hassle of printing and posting. Electronic agreements save you chauffeuring physical copies back and forth between parties. And Viatek ScanAssist saves you the hassle of manual data entry by filling in the blanks for you.

All those differences ultimately help you work smarter, not harder.

Start somewhere

The decision to go paperless is really a decision to begin the transition. And transition comes down to simply starting somewhere. If you’re already using Gateway, why not start by adding Viatek ScanAssist to your subscription? You can find out how ScanAssist has helped other property managers here.

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