Easy Steps Your Government Can Take to Go Paperless

Paper-based systems are expensive, slow, and complicated. Paper applications require physical storage space, and at high risk of loss or damage. Searching for related project documents takes time and personnel. It is difficult to quickly identify project status in a paper-based system, and the workflow process itself is manual.

Why Should Governments go Paperless?

Moving to a paperless system:

  • increases government employee efficiency,
  • creates faster turnaround times,
  • provides greater transparency to customers
  • adds costs savings for paper, toner, envelopes, postage, and employee processing time.

Here are easy steps your government office can take to go paperless:

1. Use the Digital Tools You Already Have and Know

It's easy to shift some paper-based processes into digital forms, using tools you may already have access to. And many additional tools are available at no or low cost. Here are some digital tools you may already be using:

Leverage E-mail
Move internal communications from paper-based memos to office-wide email notices. Email records are easily searched and can be stored indefinitely - check with your email system administrator to confirm your email records retention policy and setup.

Digital File Sharing
File sharing platforms such as Dropbox and google docs offer a central location to store documents, while also offering collaboration for colleagues. Discuss with your team the benefits of moving files from each person's computer to an inter-office location for ease of access.

Digital Meeting Platforms & Records
The last few years have shown a widespread increase in the use of digital meeting platforms. Broadcasting a meeting through a digital platform provides many benefits, from creating a digital recording, to expanding the number of meeting participants.

2. Digitize Your Paper Processes

Turn incoming paper applications into electronic submissions. An integrated electronic government software solution such as Citizenserve Community Development Software, will provide digital building permit applications, for example, as well as electronic workflow routing, reports, metrics, and other tools for staff and customers alike. Look for a solution that offers training, to help bring your staff and citizens up to speed on how to use the online system.

3. Move Paper Records to the Cloud

Adding historical records to a digital system provides quicker access to records by staff and citizens, and helps provide a holistic record of changes on a property. work with your software vendor to ensure scanned data is titled appropriately so that it can be associated with the correct property record. Ensure that your digital software provider provides access to imported scanned data, and check the data to ensure it lands in the correct location.

4. Offer Online Payment Processing

Moving from cash and checks to credit card payments provides an additional service to customers while providing digital security over the cashiering process. Credit card funds are automatically verified, and receipts are sent through email. Online payment processors can also process e-checks.

5. Provide an Online Customer Portal

Select a software provider that offers an online citizen portal to provide your citizens easy access to their project records. A good online portal will also offer your citizens information about your online processes, the ability to submit online applications and complaints, access to check status, send messages, and re-submit forms, plus the ability to print out certificates, all from the comfort of their own home.

6. De-Emphasize Printing

By emailing information, providing access to electronic reports, and offering an online portal, municipalities like yours can move away from printing documents like contractor licenses, building permits, health inspections, and more. Moving to a software provider that offers electronic plan review, and tracks reviewer comments online, your office can save money in paper, ink, and electricity, while increasing efficiency, transparency, and review turnaround times.

How Your Government Office Can Go Paperless with Citizenserve

Citizenserve offers cloud-based, integrated e-government building permit software, business licensing software, planning & zoning software, code enforcement software, and request tracking software. We meet with you in an agile, iterative process during your implementation to show you the work we've completed and get your feedback. You go live when you are satisfied with your build, and we continue to support you with our complete customer care program after you are live. See how citizenserve can help you easily go paperless overnight.

Ready to go paperless? Scroll down and send us your info to schedule your live demonstration, or Contact Us to see how citizenserve can help your municipal government go paperless. And don't miss this article: Why Government Software Saves Time & Money.