Governmental organizations considering a switch to paperless office practices can realize some unique benefits beyond significant cost and time savings – they can create easier access to information for citizens as well.
The institution of an electronic document management system for government bodies can drive down the time spent creating physical copies of agendas, reports and other informational sources by clerks and administrators. By making publicly available documents available online, board members, workers and members of the general public can all access information without a municipality having to track printing costs and collect payment or simply foot the bill for providing copies.
A three-municipality school board in eastern New York recently made the switch to paperless documents, according to local news source the Leader-Herald. Members of the group cited a variety of benefits, including reduced environmental impact, financial savings and the increased accessibility of documents.
Mailing is another cost obligation to consider
Many school boards mail documents to parents, teachers and other staff members as part of general operations. The additional price of envelopes and postage will further increase the already-significant costs of creating duplicates. Physically sending items through the mail also requires an additional time commitment from administrative staff because they need to both stuff envelopes and deliver the items to a post office or shipper.
Reducing mailing costs spurred the use of electronic forms by the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services, according to the Herald-Standard. District superintendent Patrick Michel specifically cited savings in that area, along with the freeing of clerks to perform more high-level work, as a reason for the switch.
Another advantage for the board going paperless: Documents are accessible anywhere, allowing interested parties to keep up on news and board members to prepare for meetings without having to physically pick up a stack of paper.
Increase compliance without much additional effort
Whether dealing with strict regulatory compliance statutes or internal tracking and recordkeeping policies, electronic storage means having an easily accessible and permanent set of records. The growth of an overall library won’t create physical storage complications or increase the time spent by employees searching for important records.
The Forum of Private Business points out that unique identification numbers can be used to specifically track documents, increasing search and retrieval efficiency. Additionally, duplicates can be created, worked with and changed depending on business need without compromising the integrity of the original.