How to Successfully Digitize Your Documents

We show you how you can digitize documents in everyday office life.


Digitizing documents is often the first step in companies to start the digital transformation. Work becomes more flexible, interconnected, digital thanks to new technology. With this first step of digitization, workflows and business processes are already more efficient and cost-effective. Most companies can't do without paper at all. The initial workload and open questions about implementation deter many from undertaking this project.

What exactly does digitization of documents mean? How do you digitize documents? What are the benefits of digitizing documents in everyday office life? Which legal requirements have to be met? And: Which system supports you in document management? We answer all this in this article.

Table of contents

1. What is understood by the digitization of documents?

2. What should be considered in GoBD-compliant digitization?

3. What are the advantages of digitizing documents?

4. Which software is suitable for digitizing documents?

5. Conclusion


What is meant by the digitization of documents?

Digitizing documents refers to the conversion of documents in paper form to digital form. Basically, all paper documents can be digitized: purchase receipts, contracts, invoices, annual financial statements, personnel files and more. These digitized documents are then stored on the company's server or in the cloud. However, scanning and saving is not enough. Digitizing documents requires modern technical devices and special software.

In the first step, you need a very good scanner, preferably with automatic feed. The scanner should be able to send the scanned documents to a device of your choice. Then it goes on from this device. Modern scanners are quite expensive, but you don't necessarily have to buy them. They can be rented.

After the scanned document has been sent to the desired device, it may need to be edited: trim, rotate, assign metadata, regulate access rights. This process is time-consuming and can be outsourced to external service providers.

With the so-called OCR technique, which is offered by and among others, texts from scanned documents can be read out. This creates a PDF with text recognition. This allows you to efficiently search your digitized files or use the information for further processing. The process is completed with the storage and filing of the digitized document. Here you have to decide whether to save the documents on your own server or use cloud solutions.

When digitizing your documents, you must consider a few things to ensure that the procedure is legally compliant. The digitized documents must be archived securely and in a traceable manner. The GoBD (Principles for the proper management and storage of books, records and documents in electronic form and for data access) specifies which rules must be followed. You can read which ones in the next section.

Recommended document management software

On our comparison platform OMR Reviews you can find more recommended document management software. There we have listed over 150 DMS for small and medium-sized companies, start-ups and large corporations that will help you in all areas of document management processes. So take a look and compare the software with the help of authentic and verified user reviews:

What should be considered in GoBD-compliant digitization?

The GoBD is the legal basis for creating and archiving business documents that must be digitized by companies. These principles were developed by the Federal Ministry of Finance, the administrations of the federal and state governments, business associations, and tax consultants.

The GoB (Principles of orderly accounting) forms the basis for the GoBD. This only stipulates how companies can design digital accounting in a legally secure manner. The GoBD prescribes six criteria for how digital business documents are created and archived.


Your document filing must be logical and comprehensible. If an auditor registers, he must be able to find his way quickly. Your digital documents must be able to be queried with a full text search. It is also expected that you will archive your documents for longer than legally required.


Capture your documents promptly. Timely means, within ten days. Your data must be captured in a good, legible manner. In addition, you have to ensure that all data is taken over during a system change. The designation of your digitized receipts must be done with a comprehensible index.


Your documents must not be able to be changed afterwards. Documents that are further processed must always be saved as a copy beforehand and clearly named. Even an incorrect document that you have sent may no longer be edited. If you need to make adjustments, you also copy the original document here, mark it with a clear identification and place it easily observable.


All digitized receipts are recorded unchanged. All documents are transferred truthfully into your system.


For your documents to be GoBD-compliant, they must contain all data that is important for the document. Without complete data, the document is not valid. In addition, you have to clearly mark originals and copies and store them correctly.


Certain facts must be recorded. You are obliged to document exactly how you implement the GoBD requirements. The documentation must also be easily understandable for outsiders. This implementation documentation of digitization must also be properly filed and archived.

With the fulfillment of these six criteria, the GoBD is not yet completely implemented. There are additional requirements, for example, your word processing program must also meet specified requirements. On the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance, you can download the GoBD..

What are the advantages of digitizing documents?

Scanning documents and storing or archiving them in a DMS provides companies with many benefits. All processes in which documents play a role become easier and faster. Let's take a look at specific advantages:

  • Quick data access: You don't have to flip through a folder or go to an archive to find the desired document. With a quick search query, you can find the right document.
  • Location-independent access: No matter where you are - if you can log in, you can access the required documents from anywhere. This is particularly practical if you are on a business trip or on site with customers.
  • Save time: Thanks to automation, filing runs much faster. You also save time through quick data access. Clearly defined and set-up processes regulate responsibilities.
  • Always up to date: Thanks to central storage, you always have the latest document available.
  • Fast filing: Thanks to automatic full-text recognition of the content, documents can be filed directly according to self-created rules without further action. This saves you manual effort.
  • Digital vs. Paper: Does not fade, does not tear, does not burn - is safely stored on a server. With the right precautions, digital documents are safer than the paper version.
  • High transparency: Every change to the document is stored and can be traced. This makes digital documents automatically revision-proof.
  • Working more efficiently: The digital filing speeds up and simplifies collaboration - also across locations and departments.
  • More space: The filing cabinets disappear from the office rooms. This creates space for more workplaces. In addition, storage space becomes free, which saves cash.
  • Higher data protection: Data is best protected in the system through access restrictions. Gone are the days when confidential documents are forgotten on desks.
  • Save costs: Less storage space is needed, employees work faster, workflows can be automated. Employees who are only responsible for archiving are eliminated. Digitization reduces your expenses at many points.

The initial effort to digitize your documents is not to be underestimated. The advantages, however, clearly outweigh the long term.

Which software is suitable for digitizing documents?

To successfully digitize your documents, you need the right document management software. DMS is available in different versions with different functions. Which one is right for you depends on your requirements.

Here are a few tips on what to look for when choosing a document management system:

  1. Automatic text recognition: Whether through AI or OCR technology. Only in this way can your documents be completely searched and therefore quickly tagged.
  2. Simple handling: Every employee should be able to quickly familiarize themselves and find their way around.
  3. Document types: PDF files, emails with attachments, digitized documents, company-specific documents - different letters should be able to be processed by the document management software. Otherwise, you will have to get additional tools.
  4. Easy connection to existing systems: If you want to automate processes that are related to other tools, you must check the integration options. Many DMS have e.g. a connection to Microsoft Office.
  5. Security with cloud solutions: Are your data stored in compliance with GDPR and are there regular backups?
  6. Range of functions: What functions do you need? Include employees from different departments who will work with the system.
  7. Automated workflows: Can your workflows be mapped and automated with the tool?
  8. Check search function: DMS offers different precise search settings. Check beforehand whether the search parameters are enough for you or whether you need a more complex search function.
  9. Legal requirements: Does the DMS cover legal requirements such as the GoBD?
  10. Expansion of the system: Does the system grow with you? Your requirements can change over time. Your DMS should be able to grow with you or guarantee an easy and secure transfer to another system.

OMR Reviews already lists many document management tools and some OCR softwares with ratings for you.

You should take a closer look at these 10 DMS:

The selection of DMS is diverse - in price and function. For even more document management tools, you can look directly under the category for document management software & tools at OMR Reviews. The right DMS is certainly already there.


There is no getting around the digitization of work processes today. Companies that do not recognize this will soon be left behind by their competitors. The paperless office not only relieves employees. Many resources are saved, the document structure and security are improved. The question should therefore not be whether you digitize your documents, but when.

Katharina-Maria Röder
Katharina-Maria Röder

Katharina-Maria Röder ist freie Redakteurin bei OMR Reviews und schreibt zu den Themen Software und Co.

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