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How and Why to Move Your Business to Digital Record Keeping

A majority of businesses are using digital record keeping in some form or another. There are a number of benefits to this, both to your practical, everyday operations, and your long-term, and even legal obligations. The transition to digital record keeping has been underway for a long time, but increased accessibility to storage and the resultant lowering of costs has continued to drive it forward.

Here are some of the advantages of maintaining digital record keeping within your company, and how to best go about it — including tips on recommended file formats and document conversion software to make it happen.

Advantages of maintaining digital records:

digital record keeping
  • Easier information retrieval
    One of the main benefits of maintaining a digital filing system is the time and organizational resources saved by being able to easily search and access files on the computer. We will touch more on this later in the piece, but the searchability of files (some formats handle it better than other) is crucial to free up employee time and resources, allowing for a more efficient overall operational structure.
  • Cost savings from storage space
    You are limited only by the cost of virtual storage space, which can scale up in quite a cost-effective manner, in comparison to adding more physical square footage for your office or document storage facility. The growth of cloud storage solutions for enterprise level businesses in recent years has made digital record keeping an even more cost-effective option.
  • Protection against frivolous claims
    Maintaining digital records of your dealings with customers and clients can safeguard your company in the event of a dispute. For example, you may want to retrieve copies of pertinent emails years later, in which case a digital document management system is ideal. Peernet offers a number of software solutions that make email to PDF or email to TIFF as easy as printing a document, as well as automated batch document conversion solutions.
  • Simplify your accounting
    Maintaining digital records of sales, customer information and business details can be especially efficient in conjunction with business accounting software. This can cut down on time and resources that otherwise would be put towards the actions that drive your business forward.
  • Allow for easier collaboration
    If documentation needs to be continually updated, this can be easily achieved through digital records. Ease of access opens up new collaboration opportunities, and with a solid security safety net in place, this allows for increased efficiency in maintaining the accuracy of client information.
  • Easily backup files and reduce threat of losing information
    What happens if you have physical, paper copies of all your important records, and your office faces a flood, or a fire? The resulting loss of information could be devastating.
    With digital records, and a regular backup schedule, there’s much less concern about that. There are many cloud-based backup services out there, and an IT professional in your organization can set up a regularly scheduled backing up of files, so that even if something happens to your onsite digital storage, you’ll still have backups that you can easily restore.
  • Reduce costs related to document distribution
    With digital records, disseminating information is as easy as clicking a button on your mouse. The old method of information distribution seems quite antiquated these days: requesting a record, printing them out, and sending them via mail incurs all sorts of costs that you can get around or altogether eliminate by moving to a digital based document management system.
  • If you’re setting up a new system now, it’s the logical route to go.
    Building a relatively new business? You probably wouldn’t fill the offices with typewriters, right? Well, that’s essentially what you’re doing if you’re setting up a new business and relying on paper documentation. In the near future, storage costs for digital record keeping will likely continue to decline, making it a financially prudent investment to make now. Plus, with the entrenchment of common record-keeping file formats such as TIFF and PDF, you can use the formats with the comfort of knowing that they will stand the test of time.

What are the key features for an efficient digital record keeping system?

  • A reasonable cost. One of the main ideas behind the shift to digital record keeping (beyond simply keeping up with the times) is that, over the long term, the costs of maintaining digital records should be less than the cost of maintaining paper records. While there is the initial investment in file conversion software and perhaps additional physical storage or cloud space, many digital filing systems can make use of the computer and IT infrastructure already in place.
  • Easy searchability. Just like in the physical world of paper records, a huge feature of an efficient digital filing system is organization to ensure easy document retrieval. There are several methods you can use to help organize your business’s digital record keeping, but keep searchability in mind when determining file formats to use as well; PDF, in particular, is ideal for many businesses in this regard. For example, if you need to look up references to certain clients or customers, digital records streamline this process far more than physical paper records ever good. Not only will good organization free up your office staff’s time and resources, it will potentially allow your business to provide better and quicker service to its customers.
  • A good plan to manage future growth. The beauty of digital document storage is that unlike with physical paper storage, where you have to simply buy more square footage as your company grows, your digital records can nicely scale as your organization takes on more clients and customers. Getting a good organizational structure in place early (see our guide to file name structure for business, to start) ensures that your company will be well-equipped to maintain easy storage and retrieval for many years down the line.

What formats are best for record keeping?

TIFF

The TIFF file format is commonly used as a record keeping file format of choice for industries and institutions that require absolute confidence in the security and quality of their digital record keeping. As a format, it offers a feature set that makes it ideal for some industries. Here’s why many businesses in critical industries make use of TIFF as part of their digital record keeping.

  • A high-quality format that does not suffer from degradation when saving.
  • Is also capable of lossy compression to reduce file sizes.
  • Widespread usage, ensuring that it can be read on nearly all modern devices and operating systems.
  • Ideal format for scanned documents (it was originally created for just that purpose).
  • A great deal of support for file conversions.
  • Being an image format by nature, document formatting is maintained from one screen to the next.
  • A secure document format that cannot be embedded with malicious code or files.
  • A well-established document format that will be used for many years to come.

Commonly used in:

  • The medical industry – clinics, hospitals, patient records.
  • Law offices – client records.
  • Municipal offices – permits, public records, etc.
  • Publishing – high quality images ensure good quality on the printed page.

PDF

The PDF file format is extremely widely used in everyday business communications. It also offers a number of features that make it ideal for record-keeping purposes, such as the following:

  • Easily searchable; its mix of text and images make it a versatile file format.
  • Widely used and understood; supported by every operating system used in the modern business environment.
  • Centralized storage, naming conventions and rich document text allows for simple document retrieval.
  • Relatively small file size keeps storage costs down while maintaining good quality document copies.
  • Password-protection built in to the format to ensure documents are only read by the intended recipients.
  • Like TIFF, document formatting is always maintained from one computer or device to the next, giving it a huge advantage over popular office document formats such as Microsoft Word.
  • Like TIFF, it’s a well-established document format that will be used for many years to come.

Commonly used in:

  • Organizations that require a good level of searchability within the actual documents;
  • Retail – bill of sales
  • A wide range of businesses across many industries.

Get started today.

The overall business trend of a transition towards digital records continues to march along. Peernet offers a variety of software that can help facilitate the transition for your own company, or improve your processes with our file conversion software. Check out our document conversion products to get started, which includes software specifically built for enterprise level automated file conversion (as well as products designed for single users, and virtually everything between those two.)

And of course, if you or your business requires any assistance or guidance in determining the right software solutions for transitioning to digital record keeping, be sure to contact us.

PDF for Business

7 Big Benefits of Using PDF for Business

PDF for Business

Portable Document Format, or PDF for short, was developed in the early 1990s. At that point in time, sharing documents between different computers and operating systems could be highly problematic, so the idea was to create a file format that would maintain fixed formatting.

Over time, it’s grown into one of the most widely-used document formats in the world.

PDFs are particularly useful for many companies in the business world. Whether you’re invoicing clients, maintaining customer records in a consistent format, or sending important memos, you can be sure with PDFs that the person viewing the document will see it as it was intended to be.

Here are 7 big benefits to making the PDF format a part of your business operations, and some options for how to create PDFs.

  1. Document format is maintained. One of the problems with sharing documents made in Microsoft Word or other word processors is that when you share a file from one computer to the next, the formatting can prove to be very different. This can cause confusion, or make you look bad to your clients or colleagues. You can rest easier with the PDF format, that your document will be presented exactly how you layed it out. It’s also ideal for sending documents that are intended to be printed out.
  2. The format is ubiquitous. Because it’s so good for what it sets out to do, PDF has been widely adopted all around the world. The format is easy to view and share, so whether you’re sharing a document with someone down the street, or on the other side of the world, PDF is a safe choice to send it in.
  3. They tend to have a small file size in comparison to other formats. The TIFF file format has many benefits beyond PDF, but the PDF format has the big advantage of compressing high-quality files to a relatively small file size. That’s ideal for saving hard drive space, particularly if you’re working with limited storage resources.
  4. The files can be protected by password. If you’re a business of any size, it’s possible, or even likely, that you’re handling some of your customers’ sensitive information. PDF files can be password-protected, giving you the ability make sure prying eyes are kept away from your important business documents.
  5. It works on any operating system. PDF works on all the major operating systems currently in use. So whether the viewer is on a PC or a Mac, or even on a newer mobile operating system like iOS and Android, there’s almost no worry about the receiver being unable to view the document.
  6. Easily integrate non-text elements (e.g. images, hyperlinks, etc.) PDFs allow you to maintain visually-pleasing layouts, and make use of links that will open up in the viewer’s web browser when viewing the documents on a computer or mobile device.
  7. It’s not likely to go away. Technology moves quickly, but PDFs are probably here to stay for the long-haul. The format is so widespread and has so much history behind it that it would take a fundamental shift in computing for everyone to adopt a different standard. An investment in PDF software now is sure to stand up in the long run, and give your company an excellent return on investment.

What Program Should I Use to Create PDF?

PEERNET offers a variety of software which is designed to suit your needs. Whether you’re a home user or part of a large corporation, we have a PDF Converter or creator that’s right for you.

PDF Image Printer: PDF Image Printer functions as a virtual printer, so you can “print” any Windows document to PDF format. It’s perfect for people who need to archive and share files in a secure PDF format, and allows for password protection and encryption.

PDF Creator Plus: A cost-effective alternative to Adobe Acrobat, which allows you to create PDF files by combining and editing other files. Convert from any Windows document to PDF. Ideal for home use or at the office.

Document Conversion Service: Our enterprise-level software which allows for around-the-clock batch document conversion. Ideal for converting a variety of document types to TIFF, JPG, PDF and other image formats automatically, often as part of a workflow.

If you have any further questions about converting files to PDF, feel free to contact us.