Like many other businesses, brokerage firms rely heavily on paper. But it doesn't have to be that way. Firms across the country are going paperless or reducing their paper waste, and you can too. The journey to becoming a paperless brokerage firm isn’t easy, but the benefits are completely worth it:
- More convenient transactions
- Better protection against fraud
- Less time spent filing and retrieving documents
- Less money spent on printing and mailing documents
But before you start, you need to have the technologies to make the transition as smooth as possible. Here are the top three tools you’ll need:
Finding a digital signature product is key to getting rid of paper waste. Brokerage firms rely on signatures for a lot of transactions, and using handwritten signatures has stopped many businesses from going completely paperless. The good news is that digital signature technology has advanced leaps and bounds in the past few years. These days, digital signatures are even more secure than traditional ink signatures.
But don’t be fooled into thinking every online signature service is secure. There’s a difference between electronic signatures and digital signatures that you should be aware of before choosing an electronic signature vendor.
Smart phones and tablets are great resources for businesses wanting to go paperless. Not only do productivity apps reduce waste, many of them are more versatile than their paper counterparts. A calendar app doesn’t just record your meetings. It also alerts you about appointments coming up. A business card app doesn’t just hold your business cards. It also adds them to your phone’s address book. These days the possibilities are pretty much limitless. What paper process do you need to replace? Odds are, (to borrow the cliché) there’s an app for that.
You may think that scanning old documents is an unnecessary step in helping your brokerage firm go digital. After all, can’t you just keep storing those old documents in that dusty filing cabinet? While scanning old documents might not be an immediate need, you should make it a long-term goal to scan all of your paper documents. Storing old documents is a drain on resources that many brokerage firms don’t address. Did you know:
- Storing and managing paper records can cost 50 to 75 times more than electronic records
- The expenses associated with maintaining the records in a standard filling cabinet have been estimated at $2,000 each year