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Scanning incoming post

Scanning incoming post

I am keen to reduce the use of paper in the office but dont quite have the resources to use one of the all singing all dancing paperless packages.

At the moment we scan then destroy all of our old files and the ability to access old data quickly and easily is just fantastic, but at the moment we keep current files in good old paper format.

I bought a very good high quality scanner which we could also use to scan incoming correspondence easily - my question is if others do this hows the best way to file the documents. Our old files are simply saved as PDF documents in a file for each year eg
Fred Bloggs correspondence - 2007 with all letters re 2007 in that file in date order.

I cant quite see how we can easily scan and put each clients correspondence in a file but am probably missing the obvious.
LJ

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04th Feb 2008 08:43

Electronic files
Your approach is absolutely fine. A few extra points I'd make...

Reviewing data-files like this can be a bit of a trial compared to flicking through a paper file with your thumb. Have a look at:

QuickView Plus ( http://www.quickviewplus.com )
Directory Opus ( http://www.gpsoft.com.au )

They both offer a 'Windows Explorer' style tool, with the added benefit of high speed 'thumbnails' of the scanned documents.

Secondly - If you haven't done so already, try to apply a degree of security over the filing directories (limit deletion rights, and only allow a few people the option to add new dcuments).

This isn't about disaster recovery (I'm assuming it's all backed up!) but about the credibility of the electronic files in the event of disputes or investigations. Almost all documents can be scanned and still retain legal admissibility in a court, but you could save yourself some hassle if you can demonstrate that your electronic filing system cannot easily be altered. (Note: Your PII Insurers may have an opinion on acceptable levels of security for scanned/shredded files).

Finally, scanning old files obviously offers huge advantages in terms of convenience, portablity, etc, but don't forget to implement a basic records management policy to ensure that (for example) you don't fall foul of the Data Protection Act by keeping files longer than you need them. Maintain an index of the old files (on Excel, a piece of paper, whatever), and make a note of when they can legally be permanently destroyed. If you have a genuine reason for keeping the files after that date, then fine - the key point is that you can show a formal process is taking place. Disk space is getting so cheap that its tempting to keep everything, but you're not supposed to!

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02nd Feb 2008 12:31

paperless office
try Paperport by Nuance.. use in 350 client practice..effective
price usa $199..
they have uk office in edinburgh. no detail sorry
but cheaper to buy US...(usual problem in Uk everything cost twice as mcuh ?)

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02nd Feb 2008 09:20

Scan to a folder seems like a good idea.
I do exactly the same as you - scan to PDF and then place in a folder with the client's name. All files are named with the date at the front in reverse order - eg. 20071225 (for Christmas day last year) plus the client name, in case the file gets lost on the computer.

I use a piece of software called "DevonthinkPro" to keep all the files in check - it scans the PDF files using OCR which means that the database of scans is searchable; it also manages folders and groups of files so that I can search for any particular piece of information very quickly. For less than £100 it is one of the best bit of software I have ever made. Unfortunately it is for Apple Mac only but I am sure that there are cheap options for a paperless office out there in the Windows community...try Google.

By the way it seems that all of the best solutions say that you should start your paperless system with your current stuff before trying to put your archive into a paperless system so perhaps you have it the wrong way around?

Good luck

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