Paperwork is often a necessity of business operations, and some businesses will need to process more than others. It can be useful to look into ways to speed up or streamline document processing. Whether you are running a hospital or a marketing firm, here are five ways that can be done.
1. Have A Good Organization System
First and foremost your business should develop an efficient organizational system for the paperwork process, from inception to completion. This can include having designated baskets for certain types of papers or for various stages in the process. It also helps to have a solid filing system at the end so documents can be easily stored and referenced in the future. This is especially important for businesses that maintain files on individual clients. There are so many things that can go wrong if client files are lost or misplaced. A good way to help minimize this issue is to have an electronic filing system. It takes up less space and files can be pulled up easily with the click of a button. The right office organizers are incredibly useful for creating a document organization system that works, so don’t be afraid to use them liberally. Make certain all employees understand the organization process so nothing gets lost or out of order. It can help to write the process down and make it easily accessible for employees.
2. Go Digital
Going digital is another great way to speed up paperwork. For example, you can store documents in the cloud so they can be accessed by all relevant parties instantaneously and from anywhere. Services such as DocuSign allow you to gather necessary signatures on documents more quickly than physically trading them around or mailing them. Adobe Acrobat also has a secure signature feature. Accounting programs can greatly speed up your financial document processing needs, which might include invoices, tax forms, payroll and more. Even a professional messaging app like Slack can be more useful to document processing than traditional email chains. The instantaneous nature of digital communication and storage have become key to speeding up paperwork processing.
Even clinics and hospitals are using digital forms and sign in to help minimize lost files and to help keep patient records more organized. It is a great way to reduce waste as well and can save your business hundreds of dollars in paper products, printer repairs and ink cartridges.
Outsourcing gives you incredible flexibility as there are now independent professionals and services around the world to which work can be outsourced. Outsourcing the work to a third party can result in it happening much faster than it would in-house. For example, outsourcing medical billing can be helpful for medical practices so they don’t need an in-house coder and can better focus on serving their patients.
Another example is companies outsourcing their accounting and tax filing to a third party who can spend the time to make sure there are no mistakes. You will have to weigh the costs and benefits of outsourcing any aspect of their regular operations, as accuracy and control might be critically important to some businesses. Still, it is an option worth considering so you and your employees can focus your efforts on more important tasks.
4. Don’t Let It Pile Up
It can be tempting to disregard paperwork for more pressing business matters, but you should not do this. If paperwork gets backlogged it can become incredibly overwhelming and you run the risk of missing something important. A good way to avoid this could be to get into a routine of clearing out the paperwork queue once a day to once a week at the same time or day. This keeps the workflow going and ultimately speeds processes up in the long-term. A regular schedule can be highlighted on calendars, which can be private, shared or office-wide, to ensure it is completed regularly. You can also designate certain employees to be responsible for processing the paperwork. Don’t allow filing to fall behind either—do it immediately as part of the process.
5. Hire Temporary Employees
In the case where your paperwork needs are largely seasonal, or you will only need extra help for the duration of a large project, you may find that hiring a temporary employee might be the best solution to help speed things up. You can find someone through your own internal hiring process or solicit the help of a temp agency. Temporary workers offer numerous benefits for businesses because you often do not need to pay them benefits or withhold taxes—they are considered contract employees. You must be careful not to misclassify them as true employees, however, in order to keep the arrangement legal. You must adhere to all local, state and federal laws governing temporary employees and be certain to protect your own interests when working with contract employees.
Run Your Business Efficiently
There is often little reason to spend extended amounts of time on paperwork. You have options for speeding up the process by using improved organization, technology, and extra hands. There are so many resources available to companies now and there are so many ways to improve the speed and efficiency of your business. Don’t let paperwork get in the way of being able to actually run your business. Carefully consider your needs and how best to meet them before pressing forward with changes for improvement.