Why all Important Financial Documents Should Be Digital

Robots are taking over. Yes, technology has evolved to such a point that digital consistently beats physical.

The ‘high-tech’ way of doing things has, up until recently, been the novelty way of getting things done. Sure, everyone found technology intriguing but it was rarely the default way of doing things. But that is not true today.

Technology has advanced so much recently that digital replacements beat physical alternatives consistently. It’s to the point where if a person has the option to have a robot do a small task (such as document handling) or a human, the obvious choice is the robot. Even autonomous vehicles are proving to be safer than humans.

With this said, no longer is it true that someone should, “Print a copy just in case.” Printing documents should be done as seldom as possible. Sorry, companies that sell printers.

But saying something should be done a certain way is useless information by itself. After all, knowledge without application is akin to knowing nothing at all. Read on to see why exactly all important financial documents should be digital.

shredder-779850_640

The Dangers of Physical Documents and Why Your Documents should be Digital

Let’s say you go ahead and print a document. At this point, bad things may begin to happen. First, you used resources in order to print the document. You’ve used money, paper, toner, time, emitted noise pollution into the office and caused wear and tear costs on the printer (which printers always seem to have short life-spans) and of course these things are the antithesis of going green.

After it’s printed, the document begins to deteriorate. Though the negative impacts of this are minimal, it’ll start to show creases, retain hand oils and lotion and begin to lose its professional appearance. It makes the overall project appear neglected.

And what if it needs edited? True, liquid paper can be used but not even the best brand of liquid paper actually looks very professional. Plus, what if multiple people need to make edits to the document after it’s been printed? Do you pass it around the office one by one and then having to ask for it back in order to make sure the revisions are suitable to you?

Passing around papers may also lead to confidentiality issues. Yes, those who’ve worked in the industry long enough can get numb to the term ‘confidentiality’ but it’s extremely important. If one person sees a paper on your desk that they shouldn’t have seen, you will have violated your ethics and your clients well-being. Is that a risk you really want to take? Are you always able to watch your papers closely and lock your filing cabinets when away from your desk? For me, it’s a lot easier to hit ‘Win + L’ as I walk away from my machine. Always do what you can to protect confidentiality whether dealing with papers at work or home.

Physical documents also carry the danger going out of date without your knowledge. If the document was printed and then later revised digitally, your physical document will remain unchanged. This can be extremely dangerous in many situations. You or a financial advisor may sign an outdated document, making it null and void and still leaving you exposed to the pre-signature risks.

Physical documents can also fall into the wrong hands. It could be as easy as dropping a signed contract in the hallway and having someone else use it to gather confidential information such as social security numbers.

Simply forgetting the paper(s) can be an issue. A physical document can only be in one place at any given time. If you drive to your financial advisor’s firm and forget the paper at home, that’s it. That’s where the paper is at. There’s no emailing it to your financial advisor from your phone.

However, let’s not dwell on the past. Here are the positive reasons for keeping your financial documents digital…

The Benefits of Keeping All Financial Documents Digital

Cloud computing. If you’re thinking that keeping documents in digital format is just as risky as using paper, you must not know about cloud computing. ‘The cloud’ as it’s often referred to is often misunderstood even for those who use the technology. Allow me to demystify cloud computing for you.

There’s not just one cloud ran by one company – such as Apple. There are hundreds of companies using different cloud platforms. Telling someone you put a document in the cloud doesn’t really tell them anything.

When a file is stored on your computer, your computer is where it lives. When you upload a file to the cloud, it lives on many, many forms of computers called servers. These servers are typically placed all over the globe. This way, if a hurricane takes out the server in Florida and a volcano takes out another in Montana – your data is still safe. It will remain on the surviving servers and likely the destroyed servers will be automatically replaced with other servers. So unless the entire planet gets destroyed, your financial documents will be safe.

Digital documents also require few resources: no printer, no paper, no toner, etc. It’s a very quiet, green, low cost, minimalistic way of quickly doing business. Even Xerox tells its customers that printing can be wasteful.

When the document needs revised or signed, that too is easy. The revising is simple since documents can transition from a word processor to a PDF rather easily nowadays. Documents can be passed around easily (yet securely) as well. Word processors such as Google Docs allows you to share documents with other individuals using their name or email address. You can change permissions at any time in case you only want them to view the document, be unable to save the document, etc. Signing is finally simple as well. What most software does is allow you to sign a white sheet of paper, take a picture of it with your phone and then use that image as a verified signature. Or you can sign using your mouse if you don’t mind a somewhat shaky signature.

Digital documents are also very secure. They can be password protected and available for your eyes only. You can have a password to your computer, a password to your word processor and a password to each specific document. Talk about protection.

Digital documents can also be securely accessed from many devices at any time. Auto proof of insurance, for instance, never needs to be forgotten on the kitchen counter. Because once you need to renew, the company will send your proof of insurance electronically and as long as you have your phone, your car will be ready for the road (digital documentation laws still vary from state to state so check yours before tossing out your paper proof of insurance).

Moving Forward

Some may argue that paper is still the way to go. But all documents should be digital. For your safety and for others, if for no other reason.Also, I think it’s prudent to point out that you’re reading this on a computer screen. Pretty soon, paper will only be found in novelty stores.

Join our newsletter

If you like Critical Financial, subscribe and get our latest content via email.

Powered by ConvertKit

Share this post:

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

*

Eat for free for a whole month via the meal kit companies discounts for new customers.

How To Get a Month of Free Food: 9 Meal Kit Companies Offering Discounts to New Customers

Play your cards right and you might be able to line up a month’s worth of free meals if you were to try out all nine of the meal... more →
Generate extra cashflow -- here are 97 ways.

96 Awesome Ways to Generate Extra Cashflow

Who doesn’t want more money nowadays? We’ve got you covered on that front. Here comes a long list of different ideas on... more →
Valentine's Day gifts that won't destroy your budget

Valentine’s Day Crafts Are Romantic Rescue from Crazy Inflation

Fall for the hype this week and you’re out an average of $143.56 for Valentine’s Day. Crafts and other do-it-yourself tactics... more →

Ultimate Guide to Bitcoin — FREE Ebook!

Have we got something for you: a free ebook about bitcoin! more →
Get a flu vaccine.

Why You Need To Get a Flu Vaccine Right Now

Flu vaccines aren’t just for the elderly  anymore. Here are 25 reasons you should go get vaccinated. more →
Financially successful

Acquire the Trait All Financially Successful People Have

Financially successful people tend to all have a lot of self-discipline. Improving your discipline in one area of your life often spills... more →

What’s the Best Free Recipe App?

The Apple Store and Google Play together offer more digital cookbooks than you probably have room for on your mobile device. So which... more →
New tax law might slow down housing market.

What Will the New Tax Law Do to the Housing Market?

The new tax law will have a profound impact on the housing market, although in ways that go beyond the deductibility of mortgage interest... more →

4 in 5 Households Will Get a Tax Cut in 2018

Four out of five U.S. households will get a tax cut as a result of the legislation that President Donald Trump signed into law today. more →
Will bitcoin reach $100,000?

When Will Bitcoin Reach $100,000?

Bitcoin has accelerated its pace of appreciation in recent months, and if the current levels between $15,000 and $19,000 make you itch... more →
The Dow Jones topped 24,000 -- now what?

The Dow Jones Crossed the 24,000 Threshold. Now What?

Stocks appear to be increasing in volatility, yet the markets closed on Monday, December 4 with the Dow Jones Industrial Average is... more →
Peer mortgage

Should You Get a Peer-to-Peer Mortgage?

If you can’t get approved for a home loan from a bank, you might want to look into applying for a peer-to-peer mortgage. more →
Investment gifting is awesome.

4 Things To Know Before You Donate an Investment

While donations of any kind are appreciated, gifting investments benefits both the giver and the receiver. Here are four key things... more →
Are you wondering: What's the Relationship Between the Stock Market and Federal Debt?

What’s the Relationship Between the Stock Market and Federal Debt?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if gains in the stock market could actually reduce U.S. government indebtedness? If that were true,... more →
save money in college, college tips, college life

Save Money in College on Trips Back Home

College is expensive! Tuition, room and board, books, lab fees, and even trips back home! Even if you drive, this can be expensive.... more →