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Going Paperless: The Ultimate Guide

Scanner Guide

Going Paperless: The Ultimate Guide

How going paperless at work can benefit your business, plus the tools and strategies you need to make it a reality.

Here in the digital age, more and more businesses are leaning into the many benefits provided by going paperless. As useful as paper can be, it presents a host of logistical challenges. Consider the cost of budgeting for paper or how much time is lost moving it around the workplace. Destroying or storing it incorrectly can lead to lost work. Missing the mark anywhere in the process can expose you to compliance risks.

By going paperless, you can sidestep many of these concerns. Accelerate and secure your workflows with the information in this comprehensive guide.

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What Going Paperless Means to Businesses


The modern business environment demands highly tuned efficiency, and going paperless can help you achieve that. A paperless workflow uses no printed materials, keeping the process entirely digital. But a paperless office can also simply refer to an office that's moved as many workflows as possible to digital, leaving note jotting and other small tasks as the only paper remnants.

    Benefits of going paperless

  • Accelerated document retrieval and sharing
  • Automated repetitive tasks
  • Empowered employee collaboration
  • Reduced environmental impact

Meeting the challenges of going paperless at work

Digitizing existing records and workflows

Consider investing in a business scanner. These devices can scan hundreds of pages per day and use optical character recognition (OCR) to turn them into searchable text documents. You can also use electronic forms and services such as DocuSign to collect information from clients.

Meeting security standards

Every industry has its own rules around protecting data, and the Federal Trade Commission can provide a solid starting point for meeting those standards. Typical measures include password-protecting sensitive folders, encrypting data, and limiting employee access.

Training employees

Workers will likely need help adjusting to their new workflows. Teach them how to use their new tools appropriately for potent downstream effects on efficiency and data security.

Read more about the implications of going paperless in “What Does Paperless Mean for Businesses in 2023?

Did You Know? The fi-7300NX securely scans your data to cloud locations with the touch of a button. Click here to learn more. 

How to Go Paperless

Going paperless doesn’t need to cause undue disruption en route to efficiency gains. There are many tools your business can take advantage of to transform its workflows smoothly and keep things running smoothly.

    Tools for going paperless

  • Scanners can rapidly digitize documents.
  • Shredders can destroy irrelevant documents to preserve version and information control.
  • Cloud storage can store documents and retain records indefinitely.
  • Document management systems (DMS) can maintain organization and power efficiency.
  • E-signature tools can keep workflows digital from start to finish.

Creating a paperless plan

Map digital solutions to paper workflows

Examine your document management plan for paper entry points. Apply digital solutions wherever possible. Scan necessary papers immediately. Store or destroy physical copies. Use downtime to scan portions of your paper backlog. Create new document lifecycle maps. Use templates and automation in your DMS to ensure they're followed.

Incorporate digital document sharing

Cloud storage and a DMS make file sharing easy and instantaneous. That accelerates collaboration and productivity within the organization. So does simultaneous editing. Sharing functions can also extend to partners and clients. That speeds up other aspects of the business. It can even convince those stakeholders to go paperless themselves.

Maintain digital organization

When designing your organizational plan, use an intuitive structure. Consider starting at higher-level projects and nesting folders of increasing specificity. Use tags and metadata such as date of creation, associated project, client names, and more to index your files and power search. To keep data safe, limit user permissions and implement data encryption. Finally, train employees on the system.

Read more about tools and strategies for going paperless at work in “How to Go Paperless in a Modern Business Environment.

Why You Should Go Paperless

If you're watching competitors in your industry dive into paperless work, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. That likely goes double when you see that, as Gartner observes, only a third of all organizations with digitization strategies in place have achieved their goals or are on track to achieving digital transformation goals. But the truth is that paperless workflows provide substantial benefits ranging from boosted efficiency to airtight security.

    Savings benefits

  • Working hours: Employees can create, store, share, and destroy documents in just a few clicks, trimming wasted working hours.
  • Materials: Paper, ink, filing cabinets, storage space, and other material costs can be offloaded.
  • Environmental impact: Paper production eats up forestry. Paper itself often ends up in landfills. Going paperless helps prevent damage to vulnerable ecosystems.

Advanced paperless capabilities

Streamlined workflows

With paperless work, offices can make data retrieval seamless. All the data workers need is at their fingertips. Taking in new data can be done with electronic forms. That data then moves instantly to a centralized database.

Increased data security

Paperless businesses don't have to spend on electronic locks, cameras, and security personnel. Instead, they can use role-specific permissions to reduce access. They can encrypt data to protect it. And they can track who views which documents and when through audit logs.


Robust archiving

Archiving in physical space cuts into valuable square footage. Archiving offsite makes retrieval a pain. Digital archives ensure instant access and indefinite storage for records. That helps maintain security and regulatory standards.

Read more about the benefits of going paperless in "Why Go Paperless? 7 Benefits for Businesses."

How Going Paperless Aids in Validation

Government regulations require medical companies to perform validation. That means ensuring equipment, software, and other parts of the workflow meet certain safety and consistency standards. The process can eats up productivity and resources. But going paperless can help. It allows for streamlining, savings on materials, and improved audit preparedness among other benefits.

    Paper validation challenges

  • Hand-collected data is vulnerable to hard-to-catch mistakes
  • Potential for human error grows as data collection scales
  • Coordinating tasks across multiple teams increases the chance for errors
  • Data security and integrity are hard to guarantee with paper constantly in motion

Key advantages of paperless validation

Instant collaboration

Validation requires sending the same documents and data back and forth between teams. Moving physical documents so often takes more time than we realize. Digital documents can be created, shared, and collaborated on instantaneously. They're also easily organized. With metadata, keywords, and tags, they're even searchable. That saves time.

Automated reporting

Validating with paper requires finding the right data, recording it correctly, sharing it, and getting signatures of approval. Each step is a chance for human error. Automation allows you to pull relevant data without human input. It also lets you send documents through their lifecycle promptly.

Audit preparedness

When auditors inspect your business, they expect you'll have the necessary materials available. With paper, that's not always a given. And if finding those materials takes too long, you may fall short of compliance. That means potential fines. With paperless validation, retrieving materials takes little time or effort. Many systems even generate automatic audit trails. These can make audits easier to field.

Read more about paperless validation in "Why Paperless Validation is the Key to Compliance."

Did You Know? PCMag described fi-8270 as “a fast, accurate document scanner with a multitude of high-end features.” Click here to read the full review and learn why it earned an “excellent” 4 out of 5 rating.

Tools for going paperless

If you're preparing to go paperless, you'll need the right tools for the job. That means ways to convert physical paper to digital files. It also means infrastructure for handling digital files, including storage, editing, and archiving. These solutions must restrict access only to the employees who need it, keeping data secure.

    Essential scanner features

  • Rapid scanning and a large automatic document feeder to accelerate digital conversions
  • Optical character recognition to facilitate data extraction from digital scans
  • Manual feed mode for awkward documents such as ID cards
  • Feature-rich and intuitive accompanying software

Getting the most of going paperless

Data collection

Paper forms work well for gathering info from customers, clients, or patients, but keeping them in a digital workflow creates unnecessary drag. Instead, consider using digital forms. Many digital form software solutions use no-code, drag-and-drop controls. These make it easy to create dynamic forms that can take in more than text.

Electronic signature platform

Signatures are a critical indication of acknowledgment and consent. By using a digital substitute, your business can more quickly gather signatures for contracts and other agreements. Many platforms integrate with other systems, and they're just as legally sound as handwritten signatures.

Automation tools

When documents must move through several stages (writing, editing, revision, approval, and so on), each presents a chance for inefficiency. A workflow automation platform can expedite the process. Project templates can automatically cascade due dates. Collaborators can receive instant notification when prior tasks are complete. These tools and more can shrink project timelines.

Read more about tools that power a digital transition in "5 Paperless Solutions & Systems That Work in 2023."

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Our recommendation: fi Series Scanners

Those wondering what tools to use when going paperless have no shortage of options. We take great pride in having spent the last 50+ years researching, designing, and developing some of the most advanced and powerful electronics in the world, including our professional grade fi Series scanners.

Built to purpose for the most demanding document handling jobs, fi Series scanners are capable of processing tens of thousands of pages per day at the highest levels of accuracy. Their intuitive integration capabilities with all existing work suites minimize time-to-value for businesses looking to invest in tools that will pay dividends for years to come.

The fi-8170 balances compact size with industrial scanning strength. It's capable of scanning up to 70 double-sided pages per minute, with a 100-page automatic document feeder. It also uses intelligent paper protection to prevent paper jams, incorporates a manual feed mode for unusual documents, and is easy to use. Click here to learn more or shop the rest of our production scanner line.



Note: Information and external links are provided for your convenience and for educational purposes only, and shall not be construed, or relied upon, as financial or legal advice. PFU America, Inc. makes no representations about the contents, features, or specifications on such third-party sites, software, and/or offerings (collectively “Third-Party Offerings”) and shall not be responsible for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of such Third-Party Offerings. Please consult with a licensed professional regarding your specific situation as regulations may be subject to change.