Print Isn’t Dead — Yet: Are There Documents You Should Still Keep Around in Physical Form?

Print Isn't Dead -- Yet: Physical Copies of Documents Make Sense in Certain Cases

When it comes to process documentation, no detail is too small for onboarding procedures or employee expectations. But when does it help to see certain regulations in print? We asked nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

“What documents do you make sure to have physical copies of always handy around the office and why?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say.

Physical Copies of Documents Make Sense For:

1. Our Mission Statement and Corporate Values

“Our team defined our culture into eight tenants called ‘The Modify Way,’ and they have been on the wall ever since. This document describes how fans, investors, business partners and employees can expect the Modify team to act. By posting it, we’re able to stay focused and true to ourselves. Making it public and prominent also forces us to evaluate and update as our culture grows.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

2. Design Proofs

“As a branding and design agency, we spend most of our time working on screens for mobile and web. But often looking at screens for endless hours also results in feeling like you’re in a vortex. We print any work we do for clients including logos, color palettes, wireframes, mobile app screens, etc. so that we can get better context and tangible experience for the work beyond the screen.” ~ Sunny Bonnell, Motto

3. Expense Receipts

“Believe it or not, a lot of organizations still require physical copies of receipts for reimbursement, and scanning a receipt and emailing it simply will not do. For this reason, I keep all hard copy receipts in a folder until I’ve received payment, and if a receipt is emailed, I make a habit of printing it out and putting it in the folder as well.” ~ Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

4. Insurance Documents

“Keeping paper copies of insurance documents, even if you have a digital copy, is especially important when problems come up. For instance, if you save your insurance documents to an office hard drive that later becomes corrupt, it may be challenging to access another copy in a timely matter. Having a paper copy of important insurance documents provides immediate access during a power outage.” ~ Kristopher

5. Our Company’s Strategic Plan

“Your strategic plan is your company’s guide to growing and succeeding in the future. Every employee should be able to access and consult the strategic plan to ensure that what they’re doing is moving your company forward. When employees know how to tie in their tasks with your strategic vision, your company is on much more solid ground.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

6. Vision Boards

“At this time, all company documents are virtual, sitting on the cloud between various platforms including Google Drive, Dropbox, Adobe Echosign, and Podio. The only physical documents that any of us have handy is the vision boards created at the beginning of the year. These help remind employees of both their business and personal goals. Everything else can be easily accessed on the cloud.” ~ Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

7. Nothing

“We try to make everything electronic and put into our dashboard. That way our local and remote employees can all access everything. We do have some required posters for workplace compliance, backups of key online documents in case of disaster, and receipts in storage. But overall, we put all our core ideas, materials and documents online for the team to access.” ~ Peter BoydPaperStreet Web Design

8. Anything Tax Related

“I put pretty much everything onto encrypted hard drives and the cloud, but the one thing I refuse to shred or sacrifice physical copies of is anything tax-related. This means receipts, invoices, contracts, tax returns, statements, notifications, etc. I store copies at home and at my office in secure locations and keep it all tightly organized so it’s easy to maintain. Don’t mess with the IRS!” ~ Robby Berthume, Bull & Beard

9. Legally Required Posters

“Labor law posters aren’t the most exciting documents, but the U.S. Department of Labor and state department of labor legally require employers to conspicuously post them in the office. You can use the Department of Labor Poster Advisor tool to identify the posters you need, or use a compliance poster company.” ~ Roger LeeCaptain401

Printing Press Photo via Shutterstock

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The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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  1. It is important to keep them in physical and digital form. This way, you always have a copy online in case something goes wrong.