Embracing Efficiency: How Electronic Forms Revolutionize Office Workflow
Doing paperwork online became a necessity during the pandemic. However, many businesses have recognized the advantages of working with online forms rather than never-ending piles of paper. The document filing processes have become much faster and more automated, allowing workers to spend their time more productively.
As a smaller business, you might not have that many files that require your clients’ input, but using electronic forms instead of paper-based ones has other benefits for your business. By the end of this article, you’ll become familiar with what electronic forms are, how they work, and the numerous benefits they bring you and your clients.
What Are Electronic Forms?
Considering that 86% of people fill out at least one form during the week, it’s safe to say that forms are part of our daily lives. If you’ve ever completed an online survey or had to provide some information to access your online bank account or reserve a flight, you’ve done it through electronic forms.
Thus, electronic forms, also called eForms or e-forms, are digital versions of paper forms you used to complete, and probably still do, when visiting various institutions or requesting a particular service.
In terms of business, eForms present a streamlined and more efficient way of acquiring your clients’ data. In addition, they can provide feedback and present your customers with records of their actions and job completion.
Where Are Electronic Forms Used?
Electronic forms can be applied to and play a significant role within various branches of your business that require data collection and processing. Any aspect of your business involving interaction with your customers or employees is a potential place for implementing electronic forms.
Out of all the departments within your business, Human Resources (HR) is likely the one that utilizes them the most. Think of new employees. Before onboarding, they need to go through several stages that tell them more about the job and tell you more about them as a potential hire. Even before you get in touch with them, they’re presented with an application form, which nowadays usually comes in an online format.
Apart from onboarding, HR also uses forms for current employees. They use them for timesheets, when there’s a position change, when someone asks for time off, for employee reviews, and even simply to keep employee records updated.
Another crucial field in business that requires electronic forms is Customer Service. You can’t learn about your customers unless you ask them — and that’s done through forms. Clients are more likely to agree to a quick online survey with a few simple questions that means the world to your business.
Besides input that benefits you, you should also have forms that allow your customers peace of mind. You should provide them with request forms regarding warranty, customer service help, and incident reports.
Forms in accounting help you keep track of your most valuable asset. You can use them for purchase orders, expense reports, and capital expenditure requests. If your business isn’t based online, you might also need forms for mileage reimbursement for your employees.
In the Engineering Department, plenty of aspects require filling out forms. You can use them for defect tracking, demand product enhancements, change engineering orders, etc.
The Manufacturing Department also benefits from electronic forms in multiple ways. They’re used for employee training certifications to motivate your workers to develop specific skills and train for certain roles. Inspection firms also use forms to ensure that a workplace meets all the necessary criteria and safety standards. In the Manufacturing Department, forms are also used for product quality assurance, document change requests, etc.
What Are the Benefits of eForms?
Electronic forms carry multiple benefits with them, both for small and large businesses.
On average, businesses spend about 3% of their revenue on paper printing, storing, and failing. That might not seem much, but if you’re a small company, that could be a significant loss — not to mention that it’s also unnecessary. With electronic forms, you’ll save money, time, and space.
Productivity and Workflow
eForms enable the automation of numerous processes inside your office, contributing to the productivity and efficiency of your business. You can capture data more quickly and easily move it to your core business systems. Once all the departments in your business have the necessary data, they can begin their operations and provide results much sooner than with paper-based documents.
With paper forms, there can be unfilled questions, misspelled words, etc. In electronic forms, there’s no space for such errors. You can assure response accuracy with drop-down lists, mandatory fields that don’t allow the individual to move on until they’ve filled the field, etc. eForms also have an auto-populate or auto-complete options, which automatically fill out fields based on the customer’s previous answers and saves them the trouble of inputting all the information again and making mistakes.
Design and Creation
The internet offers a plethora of eForm software solutions today. You won’t have to spend hours thinking of all the possible ways to inquire about something. Electronic forms display these options for you, and you just need to choose the most fitting one. eForms also come with different visually pleasing layouts and designs that will appeal to your customers and might increase the completion rate. Around 90% of surveyed participants preferred forms with progress bars, inline validation, and password strength checkers.
The environmental impact of using electronic forms rather than paper is obvious. You’ll contribute to the planet’s sustainability and seem more environmentally aware to customers who care about the planet’s well-being. Using eForms might make you appear more professional in the eyes of potential business partners and land you favorable deals.
The best part is that you don’t need any advanced skills to create an electronic form. They’re user-friendly and easy to make.
Transform Your Office Into a More Productive Environment
Although many businesses still rely on paper, paperless offices are the future. They’re more efficient, enable lower costs, and contribute to reducing the environmental impact. Electronic forms are among the easiest and most productive ways to begin digital transformation. Stargel Office Solutions offers secure and accurate electronic forms that’ll give your Houston business the edge over other companies in the area.