With the advent of modern technology, many businesses have now completely minimized their documents and are going the paperless route. Even important contracts are created as PDFs, digitally signed, and disseminated online, which is then stored as digital data that is accessible for viewing to all the parties concerned. Though it is very convenient to have all of your business paperwork in digital format, you may still want to hold off on throwing away that printer.
Storing thick stacks of physical documents may seem outdated, but this method is safer because these thick files bound together by the best binding machine cannot be easily pried apart and hacked. With plastic combs, coils, or binding wires, you can easily combine important documents together for ease of filing, better organization, and neat storage. Here are some reasons why your business should have a hard copy instead of just relying on digital data:
Retaining Hardcopies is a Legal Requirement
Retaining paper-based documents for many organizations is not a matter of preference but a legal requirement. There are certain documents that must be kept in a hardcopy for long periods of time. Examples of these are patient records, accident reports, PAYE details, business receipts associated with company expenses in case of a tax audit, or occupational health records.
Moreover, it is essential to keep any correspondence coming from the tax bureau or the government. File all of these and keep them in a safe place for future reference. This can serve as your proof and evidence should some questions arise in the future regarding your transactions.
Keep Licenses, Permits, and Documents with Seals
Businesses are required to keep paper copies, and in some cases even display these copies, of business licenses and permits. Actual documents that have an original signature and a raised or embossed seal should be kept secure.
It is critical to note that the reproduction of documents with seals do not register well and display properly in digital format. In addition to that, many business entities and/or government agencies will never consider these files as an equivalent for the original documents.
Print Those Company Values
You may be tempted to just direct your new employees or even exiting ones to the company website where the employee handbook is located. However, refrain from doing only this because there are advantages to seeing these printed. Having a tangible copy of your company manual makes it easier for your employees to read them. The ability to actually touch and feel the papers makes the contents written there appear more significant.
On top of that, printing the company mission and vision, coupled with displaying the print outs on your office walls, make them a tad more real to all your employees. Seeing a printout displayed will serve as a constant reminder of what they must aim for. It can also help keep them inspired and motivated.
Gather those Payroll Records and Promissory Notes
If a business has employees, they are required by the IRS to keep a copy of their payroll records for the past four years. An employer has to make sure that these sensitive records must not be accessed by those that don’t have the authority to view them. Keeping these on hand ensures that you have something to pull out in case tax bureau comes knocking.
Aside from keeping a hard copy of these payroll records, it is critical to keep a copy of all the promissory notes made by an employee. You need documentation of when these cash advances were made, and you also need to keep the evidence of when they were paid back.
Secure Those Contracts
All contracts should always be printed and stored online for safekeeping. These are legal and binding documents, which contain critical details of all your company’s negotiations and transactions. You may need to go back and refer to them from time to time.
Print Promotional Materials for Prospective Clients
Printing a nice, eye-catching brochure or flier is critical for drawing in new clients. These printed promotional materials will contain succinct but vital company information that they need to know and focus their attention on. When you are attending trade shows or business meetings, having these promotional materials along with your printed calling card will work wonders in sealing that deal.
Display Those Emergency Plans
Last but not least, it is crucial to have a physical copy of your emergency plan. This could be a thick binder that contains evacuation plans, emergency details, contact information, evacuation procedures, fire safety info, and business continuity plans. Apart from that, it is critical to have a printed copy of the evacuation plan with all the corresponding exits printed on the walls. Remember, computers are often rendered useless during emergencies, so having these backup plans matter.