Going Paperless and Maintaining Security

Stephen Habel

We are frequently asked if Avanti Software supports a paperless environment and our answer is always yes. Usually the reason for the question is based on an organization's policy to be green (no paper copies).

Paperless People Management Processes

Going paperless is much more than that. Let’s take a closer look at some other factors that come into play.

4 Benefits of Going Paperless with Your Employee Documents

Document Security

1. Improved Document Security

The number one reason to go paperless is the security that goes along with it. The documents that HR, Payroll, and Finance work with contain information that by its nature needs to be secure, with only authorized people having access.

Paper documents are not as secure as you may think, as explained in the Microsoft for Work blog post, Security in a Paperless Office. By storing documents electronically you can better secure access to those documents through access controls and password protection. You can also maintain an audit of who has accessed those documents as well as what changes have been made to them.

Disaster Recovery

2. Better Disaster Recovery Strategy

If your organization maintains mostly paper files then the threat of fire or water damage should be a concern. Electronic documents can be easily backed up and stored offsite or in the cloud, keeping documents safe if a disaster occurs and allowing for quick recovery.

Also, paper files can get lost or go missing permanently but in an electronic storage environment you will have the ability to recover any accidentally deleted documents.

Document Approval

3. A More Efficient Document Sign-Off Process

A feature that is gaining more acceptance in our digital world is accepting electronic signatures in place of handwritten signatures. By being able to immediately present employees with documents that require sign-off you will ensure your employees have a fast, easy way to complete this task.

You can upload and send documents in a few clicks to one or all of your employees. By doing so you’ll reduce the time it takes to collect signatures as they can take care of it anytime, anywhere from any device.

Cost Savings

4. Cost Savings

Managing paper is time consuming in terms of organizing and retrieving paper files. Moving to a paperless solution will result in labour savings, freeing up your team to work on more meaningful tasks.

Going paperless will also save printing and photocopier costs. By managing documents electronically, employees and managers will have access to the documents they need without having to request a hard copy from HR or Payroll. Paperless employee documents will allow you to free up office space by getting rid of the filing cabinets and boxes that contain all of your paper documents.

How to Plan for Paperless People Management

We often hear from potential (and current) clients that converting from paper-based to paperless can be intimidating but with the right plan, concerns and fears about going paperless can easily be overcome.

Important Consideration for IT
One IT concern we often address is regarding the amount of disk space required to go paperless. In Avanti’s case we store the documents in our database, so there is no need to keep a copy anywhere else after the document has been saved. The disk space required to store the document in Avanti would be the same amount as you are currently using on your own servers. To determine how much space you will need for electronic documents we recommend an assessment of the document sizes that you plan to upload. And remember to take the increase in disk space into account when you back up your software.

Let’s look at two examples of how we help our clients go paperless with Avanti.

Example #1 - Securing Employee Documents
Within Avanti's Human Capital Management solution, each employee related document that is stored takes on the security applied to that employee and only people with the right permissions can access the documents. The document file, once loaded into the employee profile, is saved into the Avanti database encrypted, providing additional security from anyone that might have access to the database outside of Avanti. Once the document is saved, the source document can be discarded as it is no longer needed. It should be noted that an organization would typically have their own network security to manage documents, which is one less process for your IT team to manage and also helps to mitigate the risk of document exposure.

Example #2 - Simplified Employee Onboarding
During the Avanti Onboarding process, the employee fills out the Federal and Provincial TD1 forms on-line. When the form is presented to the employee, we already have their name and address from their original application information so it does not have to be re-entered by the employee. After the employee has completed the forms and agreed to the electronic signature, the form is saved in a PDF format for approval. Once approved the TD1 forms are automatically saved into the employee profile. The employee also has the option to view the TD1s at any time using Avanti Self-Service Portal. This paperless workflow not only improves efficiency but it also pre-populates existing data, making it even quicker and easier for the new employee to complete their paperwork.

In Summary

As our clients evaluate going paperless they soon realize the potential risks with their current filing cabinet based document management system and welcome the change to implementing a paperless people management process within Avanti.

I hope this information helps inspire you to review your technology and see how it can help you reduce your reliance on paper and improve the security of your employee documents.

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About the Author

Stephen Habel

Stephen is a Senior Advisor of Avanti Software Inc., a people management solution that includes Payroll, HR, and Time & Attendance. As a CMA, CPA, Stephen is passionate about integration and providing companies with software that helps them manage their people from hire to retirement. He believes that having unlimited access to people data provides workforce insights that allow companies to remain competitive and make informed business decisions.

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