Are you feeling overwhelmed with paper documents?

Does your office have a file room filled with filing cabinets? If so, do you wish you could do away with them?

Paperless office

Many utility offices are striving to eliminate, or at least reduce, the amount of paper they generate and file. Let’s take a look at some easy ways to decrease the amount of paper kept in filing cabinets.

Billing software

Does your billing software allow you to file attachments with each customer’s account record? If so, are you taking advantage of it?

Many billing software applications offer a way to add electronic attachments, including scanned documents and digital photographs, to customer records. This can include customer correspondence, copies of service applications, scanned driver’s licenses, and completed service orders.

Document imaging system

If the volume of paper your office handles is too large to file with each individual utility account, a document imaging system may be for you.

Most document imaging systems are capable of automatically indexing scanned documents. These indexes can be built around commonly accessed data, such as account numbers or customer names. Once a document has been indexed, it can be easily retrieved via a search on one of the indexes.

Some document imaging systems can be integrated with billing software applications to facilitate document retrieval from within the billing system.

Create your own electronic filing cabinet

So, if your billing software doesn’t allow for attachments and you can’t afford a document imaging system, does that mean you are stuck with filing cabinets forever?

Of course not! Create your own electronic filing system!

To do this, if you have a local server, simply use a shared network drive that is accessible to all your users. If you don’t have a local server, you can use a cloud service such as Google Docs. Create a folder structure that makes sense, similar to how you would organize file drawers in a filing cabinet. For example, if you currently file paper documents by account number, create a folder for each account, scan the documents, and copy them to the appropriate folder.