Why file at home?

We make a lot of assumptions that people understand why they would use electronic filing in the home. But we’ve quickly realised that this isn’t necessarily true. So without further ado, here are what we feel to be the three key reasons why:

1. Space Saving
With post (general correspondence, bills, statements etc) still arriving daily to almost every household there will come a point when a decision needs to be made on what to keep and what not to keep because space in the home filing system is at a premium. Naturally, we make the assumption that the newest documents will have the most relevant information on so a cull will begin on older documents, but at what point should the cull begin? By scanning and keeping an electronic copy of each document on your computer would it matter where in your filing system the cull occurred, as long as you had the information you needed and saved space?

2. Easy Access
A common response to the idea of space saving is “I have a loft/garage/shed/some space in a mates flat…” which is a perfectly fair response that can certainly overcome any immediate storage issues . But what happens if you need information from one of the documents that you’ve put out of the way? Is it readily accessible when you need it? You could be on the phone arranging car insurance in need of accident history to complete the process – you’ll have to go in search of the information and call back later – time consuming and cumbersome; You could be talking to your utilities provider – now what was your account number from the previous supplier? Is that really better than having the information you need only a keypress or three away?

3. Peace of Mind
As compelling as the first two points are, for some people, the idea of recording ever bit of paper, every document, receipt etc provides a peace of mind that can’t be ignored. We can pretend that bad things don’t happen (such as floods, fire etc) or we can do our very best to ensure that any disruption caused by such events is as minimal as it can be. Now no one is saying that myhomefiling can prevent your house from flooding – but, it could prevent you losing valuable information should your original documents be totally destroyed. Thankfully, many of us won’t experience such disasters – but the duplication of documents and the information which they contain does afford some comfort in that the information will not be lost forever. It could be considered a modern day equivalent of photocopying documents and placing the original in the firesafe “just in case”.

So that’s what we believe to be the three key reasons why you would adopt a system such as myhomefiling for home filing; (we’d have to point out here that these aren’t mutually exclusive either, our experience shows that people will generally cite two or even all three reasons for their personal decision to use myhomefiling)

Paperless Billing

There’s been a big push over the last 18 – 24 months by many companies (banks, utility providers etc) to move (consumers) to paperless billing; with people embracing online account access, this seems a sensible move by these companies as it gives you instant access to records where and when you’ll typically need them.  Ignoring the cynic in me that say’s this saves these companies a fortune in postage costs, it’s still great news from an environmental perspective given the billions of bills that must be printed on a monthly basis.

Me personally, I’m slowly transitioning to the paperless billing, but I’m still using  myhomefiling to store the PDFs where before I’d have scanned the paper copy.  It’s certainly easier to manage than paper billing, especially when a multi page document comes as a single PDF.  Where a paper document and a flat bed scanner could take a couple of minutes to file, the PDF takes seconds.  Using the watch folder as a default download location for PDFs makes it even easier.
But what are you doing with them?  Are you leaving them online and accessing them when you want?  Do you know how long you can access the information for before they’re purged from companies systems?  What happens if you switch service provider, can you still access your old information, or does your account get closed down?  Just as importantly, do you care?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject, so please leave your comments below.