Back Office Automation

Going Paperless: Legal, Software & Security Challenges

March 11, 2021
Author
Inkit Team

In our previous posts, we have already mentioned how switching to paperless communications pays off. Briefly speaking, digital invoicing is more cost-effective than paper documents, optimizes document management, and increases your team’s efficiency. You can find the full list of 11 paperless communication benefits here.

Despite them, just a few years ago, in 2018, the paperless adoption rate was 25% only. It has slightly increased since then but remains relatively low.

Why don’t all businesses use paperless payment processing if its advantages are so impressive?

The challenges associated with a paperless office are the key reason.

It’s not so easy to adopt paperless payment processing and communications as it may seem. You will need to consider legal aspects, pick the right software, and ensure the necessary security level.

Find out more about the paperless office issues and how to deal with them below.

  • Legal issues related to paperless payment processing and communications
  • Rendering software issues in paperless payment processing and paperless communications
  • Storage and software security problems
  • How Inkit Render helps to solve critical paperless communication challenges

Challenge #1. Legal Issues Related to Paperless Payment Processing and Communications

Although paperless payment processing and communications greatly simplify compliance, you will have to meet regulations anyway, especially if you run a business that requires regular audits and detailed reporting (e.g., healthcare, utilities, or a financial organization). That’s why local and global regulations remain one of the paperless communication challenges.

Speaking of global regulations, you will need to follow the GDPR (Yes, it also affects paperless payment processing just like many other fields). In particular, GDPR’s Article 5.1. (e) stating that companies shouldn’t keep personal data after it’s no longer used and Recital 39. Besides, it’s important to inform customers how you process their data and enable them to edit, change, access, and delete it.

Local laws are versatile and, additionally, vary by industry. For example, if you implement electronic invoicing and paperless payment processing in Germany, you will need to meet the E-Rechnungsgesetz law provisions and the XRechnung format. NACHA Operating Rules, anti-laundering regulations, PCI Data Security Standards, and other standards will govern paperless payment processing in the US.

payment process

How to deal with this challenge?

To make paperless payment processing and paperless communications compliant, you will need to take two steps. First of all, you must talk to a local legal counsel to determine which limitations apply to your case. Only this way will you be sure that invoice processing and other processes happen lawfully.

Besides, while choosing document management software, you need to check whether it is WORM compliant and offers a detailed audit trail. It also must have a robust retention policy, role-based security, and support data encryption. All other services, including rendering software, must meet the same security standards.

#2. Rendering Software Issues in Paperless Payment Processing and Paperless Communications

For some businesses, paperless payment processing and paperless communications still require a lot of manual effort. If they do, something is very wrong. Most probably, these companies have failed to automate certain stages of paperless communication.

Whereas data collection and recording usually go smoothly, document rendering may be problematic. It’s challenging to find software that easily integrates with your current systems and AP automation solutions to generate personalized customer communications. As a result, you cannot build a sustainable cycle where everything happens automatically without your control.

The accuracy of rendered paperless communications and invoices is another problem. If not verified and standardized, customer data can be omitted or used in the wrong fields. This will considerably damage the quality of paperless messages and your customer relationships.

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How to deal with this challenge?

When it comes to rendering issues, it’s all about choosing software. You can either invest in a custom rendering solution or pick a ready-made digital invoicing tool. Custom development will require hiring software developers and considerable investment. Thus, make sure to estimate your budget and consider the related expenses beforehand. Ready-made solutions are more cost-effective. With a tool like Inkit, you can quickly add rendering capabilities to your system.

Selecting a rendering tool, you should pay attention to additional features that can optimize paperless payment processing. In particular, to make rendered documents accurate, you will need data verification and standardization. The standardization process is a must for proper information formatting and further data processing, while verification ensures the accuracy of the records. As a result, you will reduce the number of inaccurate communications and related claims.

#3. Storage and Software Security Problems

Overall, paperless payment processing and paperless communications are more secure than paper invoices. No one can take them from your mailbox or filing cabinets.

Nevertheless, even with online invoice processing, data breach risks remain high. Software security problems and sophisticated attacks make confidential data vulnerable and easily compromised. Besides, when online data is compromised, the leakage scope is usually much higher than in the case of offline attacks.

Apart from software security problems, a paperless office also entails storage issues. You will have to arrange in-house servers, outsource storage to a third-party, or store data in the cloud. It’s also essential to back up all the data. That’s the only way to survive system crushes and service interruptions.

Software Security Problems

How to deal with software security problems?

First of all, you should hire someone who can evaluate possible software security problems and risks. The information security specialist will manage paperless web application security, advise you on the best storage option, and monitor threats.

In general, large and small businesses should follow the next security best practices:

  • Sign confidentiality agreements with third-party vendors and employees to prevent unauthorized access to confidential data and resulting security issues.
  • Run regular risk assessments of software security and network to detect weaknesses and security vulnerability.
  • Schedule data backups of critical business files to be able to recover data in case of force majeure.
  • Limit access to sensitive data with passwords and other security measures to allow only relevant employees to check it.
  • Install firewall and software security updates of all the AP automation services, rendering tools, and other paperless payment processing solutions.
  • Change passwords to computers and networks quarterly or bi-annually.
  • Always integrate the software with data encryption and a high level of security.
  • Develop a disaster-recovery and data leakage plan to quickly respond to any data breaches and have clear instructions in place.
  • Run data-security training to teach employees and managers how to access and use personal information (e.g., names, tax codes, credit cards, contact information, etc.).

These simple steps should help you avoid software security problems and make invoice processing more reliable. It’s always better to prevent security issues than to cope with their consequences.

invoice receipt

How Inkit Render Helps to Solve Key Paperless Communication Challenges

Inkit is a unique tool that combines several products for paperless communication. It ensures top-notch security, meets core regulatory requirements, and has a handy functionality for going paperless. Inkit’s products complement each other, so you will be able to solve several problems at once.

Inkit Render converts HTML to PDF documents with an easy-to-use API. Inkit Render API easily integrates into existing triggers or applications. The rendered communications are securely stored in the cloud. You can both deliver them by email or print them out for physical mailing. 

Inkit also enhances the accuracy of paperless documents. Inkit Verify autocompletes and validates address data to record full information about customers. Later on, Inkit Send will use these details to deliver documents to specific destinations.

Have any other questions about Inkit’s paperless capabilities? Contact us for a demo.

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
Start for free