Government Agencies’ Interest in Digitizing Paper Records Grows

by DeeDee Kato, VP, Corporate Marketing

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State and local government workers transitioning into remote work throughout the coronavirus pandemic has underscored the requirement for access to digital records instead of paper ones, according to a recent poll of government leaders.

Paper records make up over 50% of stored records in 52% of government agencies, according to poll

Many government offices nevertheless depend on paper records, which makes it hard for employees to work at home. A poll of 82 state and local government leaders discovered that in 52% of government agencies, paper records make up almost half of the records stored on file.

Agencies that rely upon paper Records the most comprise general administration services, human resources, including, taxation, licensing and also the courts, based on this survey published Monday by Foxit Software, a business that offers PDF services and products, along with the Center for Digital Government.

“Government is pretty paper intensive” in comparison to other industries, stated DeeDee Kato, vice president of corporate marketing for Foxit.

But throughout the pandemic, Kato said there’s been a “rising need” for government agencies to get rid of the dependence on paper. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said eliminating paper proved to be a moderate to very urgent need, according to the survey that was conducted in September.

Some state and local government agencies have undertaken initiatives throughout the pandemic to promote digital record keeping and submission.

Government agencies take on initiatives to use digital records

The Missouri Department of Revenue declared recently it will discontinue printing paper income tax forms for taxpayers in a move designed to promote more individuals to file their taxes electronically. The shift is predicted to decrease bureau spending on paper and postage and will probably even shorten the amount of time that it requires to process tax refunds.

Washington, D.C.’s Department Of Human Services published an internet portal and mobile app over the summer which enables food stamp recipients to submit applications, paperwork and documentation remotely.

Unemployment benefit specialists have also advised that state agencies employ more electronic tools to help keep up with the substantial growth in unemployment claims filed during the pandemic.

Transitioning away from paper to digital records won’t just increase efficiency, but also transparency, Kato explained. For example, reliance on electronic records may make it much easier to compile information and respond to public records requests, she added.

However, the expense of moving to digital and training issues have prevented some local government agencies from moving to electronic records, according to the questionnaire. In the same poll, 52% of respondents said that high costs prevented them from making use of a PDF editing program, and 42% mentioned training difficulties.

There are many reasons, however, that the benefits of standardizing on PDF software may outweigh those costs for government organizations. That includes improved accessibility, courtroom integrity, file safety and security, reduced cost of document management, and increased speed of workflows. This is particularly true when organizations like Foxit Software that specialize in digital solutions for government and are known for affordable and flexible PDF software licensing and world-class training and support, are considered.


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