Ah the paperless office. An ambition of many to finally be rid of those mass of archiving boxes, clear out that in-tray, and not to mention put an end to that dreaded filing, despised by administrators far and wide. The paperless office has been a goal for many for the past 40 years, but can it actually be achieved in today’s financial industry?
Taking a step back, a paperless office is just that; a work environment in which the use of paper is eliminated or greatly reduced, mostly through converting documents and other papers into digital form. Coming from the financial world, completely eradicating paper from the office is near impossible, however you can help to reduce the amount of paper your office does use.
First up, the actual benefits of going paperless are extensive. The obvious environmental benefit clearly tops the list, as less paper equals more trees (always a win). Along with this, having a well indexed and searchable place you can keep everything is a must to reduce strenuous searching time and sifting through layer upon layer of files. Organisation of documents is easily maintained (given you use a consistent file name system), and you can have fast access to your valuable information. Reduction in printing, postage and associated costs is another major benefit; and you could even save money on your rent as you need much less space for paper files. You can reduce clutter on your desk, and keep files to a minimum to save space, keeping things neat and simple.
The list goes on and on, but at the end of the day as businesses, we need to keep up with the technology that now runs our offices, and it is becoming more and more evident in the day to day functions of every business.
To start off; there are a couple of things you can do immediately to cut back paper consumption.
- First up; request paperless statements from your bank and service providers. Most people end up scanning these to a system now anyway so you can essentially cut the paper that just ends up in your archiving box.
- Keep all your reports to PDF only, most of the time these will just end up in the shredder bin and people can easily read your important information on the computer or even on the go, which is beneficial to everyone.
- If you have a book full of random notes and print outs, and if you’re willing to change the habit, then Evernote will become your best friend. So incredibly easy to use, you can store almost anything in a completely organized or scattered manner, which ever you prefer. You can store pictures, clippings and pdfs to take it to the next level. You will get some much beloved time back, by shortcutting your notes electronically.
For a longer term solution, XPLAN can also significantly assist to reduce your paper use. The biggest helper is the barcoding functionality through Xmerge. Documents, through the Xmerge module can be assigned a unique, system generated barcode. Each barcode can be associated with one or more actions, and when a scanned document containing a barcode is uploaded into XPLAN, the associated actions are performed automatically. Not only improving your efficiencies, but significantly reducing the amount of paper you have to keep on file.
Other items include:
- Outlook emails can be sent automatically into XPLAN Notes.
- Clients can view their portfolio and any important letters through a client access portal into your XPLAN site.
- Ability to produce Eapp application forms for investment products.
- Straight through processing for fund managers.
- Premium validation quotes for Insurance.
In XPLAN's recent release v2.21, in this space are digital signatures for client documents. Using the same technology as doing your internet banking, you can obtain Authority to Proceeds or Opt In letters signed without the need for paper. Whilst this technology is subject to AFSL holders allowing this functionality, the technology is available.
Not a bad list of options available for software that most advisers just use as their CRM.
Utilising XPLAN in order to streamline your office functions will only help put you one step closer to achieving the long term dream of the paperless office. It is important to remember, that even though it may be an ambitious goal to go completely paperless in an office, and may never actually be achievable, the small changes you make to today can only improve your situation and prepare you for the day when we do live in a world with a lot less paper based regulations.
If you’re interested in reducing paper use through XPLAN, then make sure to contact us and talk through the ways we can help get rid of that pesky filing, on 1300 720 276 or firstname.lastname@example.org