Like many other business professionals, broker-dealers rely heavily on paper. But it doesn't have to be that way. Brokers across the country are going paperless or reducing their paper waste, and you can too. The journey to becoming reducing your paper waste 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:
Smart phones and tablet computers are great resources for broker-dealers wanting to go paperless. Not only do productivity apps reduce waste, many of them are a lot more versatile than their paper counterparts. A calendar app doesn’t just record your meetings, but it also alerts you about appointments coming up. A business card app doesn’t just hold your business cards, but 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 there’s an app for that.
You may think that scanning old documents is an unnecessary step in going digital. After all, can’t you just keep storing your old documents in that dusty filing cabinet? Though 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 50-75 times more than electronic records
- The expenses connected with maintaining the records in a standard filling cabinet have been estimated at $2,000 each year
Finding a digital signature product is a major key to getting rid of paper waste. Broker-dealers rely on signatures for all major transactions, and using handwritten signatures can be a huge barrier to 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 handwritten 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.