Resource Page: Paperless Bliss for Financial Advisors

by Bill Good Marketing on September 20, 2011

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500

Note: It’s still not too late to take my “Best Practices 2011″ Survey. Participants will receive the final report, and (when published) my “enhanced eBook” Making Referrals Happen. If you have had experience with this or other equipment, your comments are welcome below.

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500This is an AWESOME machine.

Put a 20-page document in the paper feed, press the button, and it’s at work. If it’s a double sided doc, it’s chewing them up at 40 ppm. An unbelievable machine.

If someone could get completely organized so that all you did was feed the thing, you could theoretically scan 48,000 pages in a 40-hour work week.

You would think a machine with this kind of power needs its own room and attendant. Not so. With the top and bottom paper handling trays extended, you need about a square foot.

Here’s a review from Amazon:

The speed is absolutely blinding – an incredible 20 pages per minute but, because it scans both sides of a page at the same time, double sided documents scan at 40 PAGES PER MINUTE! Wow! As with previous models, this scanner is very small and appears to be well built: it’s quite heavy for its small size and fits very nicely on my small computer desk. The scanning quality is equally spectacular – it scans up to 600 dpi in color, grayscale, and black and white and mine came with a good assortment of software (Adobe Acrobat 9, Rack2-Filer, and ABBYY FineReader). It scans documents beautifully! While I’ve been too busy scanning the billions of pieces of paper that have cluttered my life for years (this scanner will actually do that quickly and efficiently – something I’ve always just dreamed would be possible), I haven’t yet tried to scan photos; I suspect that this scanner will do a good job but that another type of scanner would probably do better for archival purposes).

Check it out on Amazon.

The Gotcha: Documentation

The documentation is as awful as the machine is great.

I decided to take it home this past weekend and tackle some of my own filing projects. For about an hour, I wandered aimlessly through a thicket of impenetrable documentation. It’s possibly the worst I have seen.

But if I were lost, I am now found.

I poked around on Google® and found “The Unofficial ScanSnap Setup Guide” by Brooks Duncan. It is a fabulous piece of technical writing. It’s well illustrated, well written, well designed and accurate. You should also poke around his website for other tips and training on going paperless.

Within an hour of downloading my guide, I was almost ready to go.

File Naming: Key to Finding What You Filed.

What a vital, if boring topic.

With the s1500, you can enable character recognition to search an entire scanned file. You can also highlight certain text and create searchable keywords. But that takes computer processing time. Your scanner speed is perhaps cut in half. In my case, we will be scanning thousands of identical contracts. I certainly do not want these indexed. (Windows 7 will do it automatically; you can search you entire hard drive in seconds.) If had had thousands of identical contracts, I could never find anything else. So I needed a way to find documents. I suspected the key is in the name of the scanned document. And I devoutly hoped some kind soul had already figured this out.

So I fired up Google again and voila! I found a pretty simple document that taught me quite a few “dos and don’ts” about naming files–“Folder and File Naming Convention—10 Rules for Best Practice”. The company that prepared the article is Exadox. They offer “paperless office solutions.”

So there you have it—the scanner, the documentation, and how to name the files.

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