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Automating Paperwork

Author: Ruban Rajasooriyar

Automating the various forms of paperwork used in your business will have positive outcomes.  Whether it's cost savings, efficiency improvements, reducing paper or increasing productivity.

One of the most effective ways to work out how digital automation could help reduce paperwork, is to map out your existing processes from start to finish.  This could be done by department, and by examining everything that happens within them:

  • Finance - look at PO creation, invoice processes, cost centre coding, payments
  • HR - how are the interview processes, onboarding and training needs captured
  • Sales - how is an initial enquiry received, communicated, ordered, designed, manufactured and delivered
  • Administration - review how ordering, expense management, customer services and policy documentation is stored and accessed

Think about every touch point customers, orders, invoices and new employees go through and the paperwork they all generate.  What could be automated - where could the manual, time consuming tasks be helped by technology.  Speak with employees and see if they feel any part of these processes could be improved:

  • Are there bottlenecks where it’s taking too long for invoices to go through finance software?
  • Is the paperwork generated by each new employee too much for the HR department to handle?
  • Is assigning expenditure to various cost centres time consuming?
  • Are high volumes of email enquiries generating sales tasks that are hard to keep track of, leaving room of error?
  • How much ‘copy and paste’ is there between separate systems?

Where Technology Can Help with Automating Paperwork?

Digital Forms

Any form that’s completed within your business like sales orders or new employee forms, could be done online. Capturing accurate and structured information at the start of any process is key.  Using a digital form to collect this data, means the information on it can easily be automated into a workflow.  It can then be fed into other systems and used again through-out the business.

Digital Signatures

Do employees often have to print a document, sign it and then scan it back in?  Do they sign paperwork themselves when they’re not authorised to do so? Research has shown that introducing digital signatures can decrease the time spent chasing and waiting for a signature.  The process can be automated, and staff on the road can get a signature there and then.  They'd no longer need to manually email, post, print or scan.

Inbox Management

If Customer Services or Accounts receive high numbers of emails, email management software can monitor a mailbox.  Emails can then be routed accordingly to another department, start a workflow, or be saved and indexed into third party software.

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