Throughout our lives, we normally have to prepare, fill out, or simply sign a huge pile of various legal forms and documents. Until quite recently, people had to store plenty of papers because, in most cases, documents are accepted or issued in paper format.
However, today, technologies are more developed than ever, and there is a brilliant option to fill out PDF forms online and move a massive part of the paperwork to the Internet. It has made the lives of many individuals and entities much easier, and lots of papers are now stored on our laptops or computers. Also, it is a rather eco-friendly way of keeping documents because you have to waste less paper than ever.
Although this opportunity seems perfect, it has its pros and cons like almost any other thing in the world. In our review, we will describe the strong and weak sides of moving your paperwork to the online world and explain some details about the procedure in general.
Is It Even Possible?
You probably imagined your drawer full of various important papers when you started to read this review. Yes, many of us have such drawers and also have a dream to empty them and throw them away for good.
For starters, begin to clean out your document storage. Some forms have a certain expiration period; maybe you have many papers that you can eliminate because keeping them no longer makes any sense.
Now that you have cleaned everything out and left only valuable items, think of all the future forms you have to fill out and sign. This is the second step that will help you to go paperless and avoid filling your drawer with new papers. Anytime you need to deliver any document anywhere, always check if there is an option to file it digitally.
Bear in mind that you can fill out plenty of forms online and get them in PDF format. If they do not require your physical signature with a pen, you can effortlessly send it via email or special websites. Electronic signatures are also available and widely used today, and maybe it is a problem-solving way for you to sign all the forms you need.
Going Paperless: Pros
There are many advantages of going paperless with all your forms and documents. Here are some of them:
You will become more eco-friendly
Our environment suffers from damage and pollution, and nowadays, the trend is to do our best to save nature. Using less paper can help to improve the current situation significantly and save millions of trees. We will also throw fewer papers away, which will help to reduce the amount of trash. Sounds idealistic, but if we can do at least a tiny little thing, we have to do it to save the world and our future, right?
You will save a lot of time
You will not have to look for a printer or visit a post office to deliver documents. Finding a printer can be a hard task sometimes, especially if you have time to sort things with the documents out only after hours. In 2020, when people left their offices and started working remotely, printing became a problem for some individuals because not all of us have a printer at home. Besides, with digital paperwork, you will not need to spend time going to some places and signing documents physically.
You will save money
This is a logical continuation of the previous point. You will not buy that much paper anymore or pay to the copy places that can print your forms.
You will have more free space
Imagine there is no need to store papers anymore. You can free all your drawers from tons of documents and make everything around you more neat and clean. This seems to be a little thing but, believe us, it will make your life better, and you will feel better.
Your papers will be secured from physical harm
If you prefer to store your documents in a place like a garage, for example, heavy rain may destroy all of them along with your roof one day. Or, unfortunately, some people may lost all their precious papers in an unexpected fire. Lastly, it is possible to simply lose or forget a bag with important documents somewhere and never get them back.
Going Paperless: Cons
Although all the pros we have described above sound optimistic and promising, there are still disadvantages of going paperless, and some of them logically follow from the advantages. Documents are still documents, even if they are fully digital, and some peculiarities arise.
You will invest money in storage and equipment maintenance
While you will save money on paper and printing, you will still have things to pay for. Your digital forms must be stored somewhere, either online or on a piece of hardware equipment where you keep all the files. Both storage types have their limits, so you will need to buy more space (if keeping forms online) or more equipment (if your forms are stored offline but on a disk or something).
Your data might be hacked
Almost everything placed on the Internet today can be stolen easily because hackers are way too smart. So, if you keep all important details and forms online, you should always be on guard. Try to protect your forms with strong passwords and ensure that you have other storage spots (like hardware) where you keep all of the vital documents. The Internet today is full of scams and fraud, and we warn you that you have to be extremely careful not only with your forms but also with your credit and debit cards and bank accounts.
Your equipment might break down
This is another way to lose all your documents if you store them on a piece of hardware. Unfortunately, machines can break down unexpectedly, and you may not have any options to save your data. This is why you should keep the documents of the highest importance in three different sources (paper format, online, and hardware).
Some organizations require sending documents in paper format only
There are still tons of organizations that insist on delivering documents only as papers. Normally, you also have to visit a post office to send the forms, which happens all the time when you intend to deliver forms in another city or country. Most of the forms you should deliver as papers must be signed with ink, not digitally.
You cannot do anything with it because these organizations have their own rules and requirements, and you should bear with them. So, papers cannot leave us that easily.
Having your forms and documents paperless is a smart move because of all the pros: being eco-friendly, saving time and money, and so on. However, even if you think that all your forms are safe online, sometimes things can go wrong, and you can lose important things after a hackers’ attack or equipment breakage.
Therefore, we would love to share only one recommendation: consider having all your “high priority” documents in all possible formats. Keep them online in a safe spot; have them on your hardware; print them out, and put them in your drawer. Less important papers can go to digital storage, but you always have to remember about the risk of losing them accidentally. Always pay attention to all the forms you keep to ensure that they are still secure and not destroyed.