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How paperless is your office?

  • 1.  How paperless is your office?

    TEAM CAYUSE
    Posted 19 days ago
    Just yesterday I had to print out, sign, and snail mail a contract and it got me wondering: How paperless is your office? Are there still things you like to print out just to have it be tangible? Things that you have to keep in some print form? No judgement if you still like some things on paper!

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    Simon Helton
    He/him
    Community Manager
    Cayuse
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  • 2.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 18 days ago
    We have moved to 99% paperless and we use Docusign to move it through the signing chain and return the document.  There are some contracts that still require a "wet" signature but last year took care of most of our stragglers that didn't want to move to paperless.  We are paperless between our OSP office and our Contract & Grant Accounting Office as well which has been a huge help!

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    Jennifer Mills
    Senior Grants and Contract Specialist/ERA Administrator
    University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa
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  • 3.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 18 days ago
    We still generate a lot of paper but we are definitely taking small steps toward eliminating some of that.   For me personally, I used to print a lot of instructional information and policies but we revised those into some more appealing looking handouts that we send electronically and we added the relevant information to our Intranet site - requires a password to access.

    We've been able to reduce paper for some of the things that we now use Cayuse for:   animal orders, Protocol Submissions, and sick animal write ups.    Hopefully at some point we can transition to using a lot more electronic forms but it's definitely a difficult journey.

    I did try to eliminate printing one of the forms I get but I quickly learned I just wasn't ready to not be able to put my hands on those forms.   Hopefully when I retire, the person who takes over is better able to manage those forms without needing to print them.

    Thanks,
    Lorraine

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    Lorraine Bell
    Training Program Coordinator
    University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
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  • 4.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 14 days ago

    When I first started here, my goal was a paperless office - but I figured it was a 10-year curve.  Then, COVID, and the University pivoted to paperless literally over a weekend.  It turns out it could be done - she said with her tongue firmly in her cheek.

    Here's the thing.  About a month ago, we received an email from Purchasing saying "all those paper purchase orders (etc....) that you've been scanning and saving, get ready to send them to us."  A) We didn't scan them and save them.  They were born digital.  If you need a paper copy, YOU print it.  B)  Do not take us backwards.  Just no.

    It is remotely possible..... just a tiny bit possible..... that I had a little hissy fit about this. And there has been radio silence about returning to paper-based processes ;)

    But I do think this transition period back to campus has some risks in it.  Heaven knows I don't want to say that good things came from COVID.  But we did learn that we could do things that seemed impossible before.  Let's not go backwards!

    A



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    Andrea Buford
    Director, Office of Sponsored Programs
    Oakland University
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  • 5.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 14 days ago
    I agree with you Andrea, I hope you can stand your ground.  Going backward in this environment is a mistake.  Certainly, there are organizations struggling with the changes to working environments with many departments deciding to work on either a remote basis or a flexible remote basis, but this should further emphasize the need to have a more digital profile for the documents process.  

    This is not the time to be looking back to older styles of filing systems, we have secure in-house digital systems at our disposal.  It is time to utilize them.  

    In my experience Universities are always looking for space.  Filing cabinets take up a lot of space. -jmo

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    Michelle Davis, M.Ed.
    Research Administrator, Office of Research
    College of Health Sciences, Boise State University
    michelledavis3@boisestate.edu
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  • 6.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 18 days ago

    In 1983 when I started working in finance and business, I would have never imagined a world without paper,  a world without signatures, mimeographs, carbon copies, typewriters, face-to-face meetings, shoeboxes full of receipts when you file your tax returns.  In 1995 the US government initiated the PRA.  The Paperwork Reduction Act.  My father, a CPA, said, "It will never happen."

    Today, my office is in my home.  I work 100% remotely.  I will often go for a week or more without picking up a pen to write down anything.  The implement almost feels foreign in my hand. 

    We submit all of our contracts digitally; all of our documents are online.  I was amazed when I was required to obtain an actual signature for a medical procedure and have it physically 'faxed' to a provider. 

    I have one small box for personal legal documents that I keep in a fire safe in my home.  That's it.  We live in extraordinary times.




     



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    Michelle Davis
    Sr. Research Administrator
    Boise State University
    michelledavis3@boisestate.edu
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  • 7.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    TEAM CAYUSE
    Posted 18 days ago
    This sounds familiar to me, Michelle! Over the holidays last year, I went through a few banker's boxes of documents to see what I needed to keep. I ended up just scanning most of it and only have a few key documents in print that are in a fire safe. I found it very satisfying doing a physical downsizing like that!

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    Simon Helton
    He/him
    Community Manager
    Cayuse
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  • 8.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    Posted 17 days ago
    We just thought about this recently when interacting with an international foundation that required applications to be sent via mail. A team member almost missed this detail because everyone is so used to submitting applications electronically, and our office is 100% paperless. However, I will admit that sometimes, when I edit large documents multiple times, I prefer to print them out to edit the final copy and then shred the document.

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    Nichelle Edwards
    Director, Office Sponsored Programs
    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
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  • 9.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    TEAM CAYUSE
    Posted 17 days ago
    I get that desire to print out some documents for editing. It can be a bit like looking at it with fresh eyes and you might catch some things you don't notice on screen.

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    Simon Helton
    He/him
    Community Manager
    Cayuse
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  • 10.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 18 days ago
    This is a question after my own heart these days.  While we had many things available electronically, our official files were on paper when COVID hit.  We'd made some strides in keeping things electronically, but the paper-based nature of the official files did make remote working more challenging.  I ended up getting on the list to come in to the office a couple of times a week so I could access things.

    We started running dual files for FY21, just in case, and to facilitate remote work if it came up again.  We've not scanned all of the old files, but are keeping electronic files from FY21 on, so much more will be available the next time we need it.

    We are still keeping dual files, which adds a little more work, but has also helped ease some of the transition in some ways, since we know the paper is there in case we miss something.  The primary reason for not going only electronic, though, is that the institutional policy currently does not expressly address electronic files.  We are working on that. I am hoping to only have electronic files for FY23.


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    Pamela Vargas
    Director, Research & Grant Development
    Southeast Missouri State University
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  • 11.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 14 days ago
    I just had a bad thought.  If you have a federal contract to which the FAR clauses apply, you have to keep paper.  UGH.  DOD..... do not EVEN get me started....

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    Andrea Buford
    Director, Office of Sponsored Programs
    Oakland University
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  • 12.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 13 days ago
    Thanks, everyone for chiming in--this discussion is really timely, as we've not only started the transition to paperless, but are beginning to fully adhere to our own retention policies (let's just say we've been hoarders til now...). 

    I'm not a "contracts person".  We hired someone for that, and his question is: doesn't it depend on the particular clauses in the contract, or are you referring to something more general, Andrea?  Also, the fact that we're nonprofit may enter in...?  Do you have a narrower target for him to dig deeper/learn more?

    cheers,
    -Lisa

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    Lisa Churchill
    Grants Administration Manager/Signing Official
    The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
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  • 13.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 13 days ago
    Lisa,

    Thanks for confirming that others fall into the potential "hoarders" category.  That is a concern of mine as well, and one I am working on as we move to more electronic files.

    Pam

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    Pamela Vargas
    Director, Research & Grant Development
    Southeast Missouri State University
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  • 14.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 13 days ago
    As for contracts, the paper-document requirement ONLY applies to federal contracts that have FAR clauses associated.  So, your regular industry contracts and any federal subawards are not under that restriction.

    For us, it applies to only a very small subset of our contract portfolio.

    A

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    Andrea Buford
    Director, Office of Sponsored Programs
    Oakland University
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  • 15.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 13 days ago
    Thanks.  According to the two contracts we have, there are no clauses that require paper, so we're good!

    He also cited this:  52.215-2(a) says "As used in this clause, 'records' includes books, documents, accounting procedures and practices, and other data, regardless of type and regardless of whether such items are in written form, in the form of computer data, or in any other form."

    And evidently we've taken that to mean whatever form we've stored it in!








  • 16.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 12 days ago
    We went paperless 4 years ago. We do occasionally get an agreement or proposal that requires wet-signature but besides that it is kept and signed electronically.

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    Vibeke Svensson
    Director, Office of Sponsored Programs
    American University
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  • 17.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 4 days ago
    We have been talking about going paperless for years.  The pandemic has actually helped make it happen.  All documentation is housed in Cayuse.  As projects expire the paper files are going away.  Yay!  This has been a goal of mine for over 20 years.

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    Colette Solpietro
    Senior Assistant Director, Office of Research Services
    Texas Tech University
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  • 18.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    TEAM CAYUSE
    Posted 4 days ago
    That must feel so satisfying to watch that paper dwindle over time, Colette! I love any sort of spring cleaning and clutter removal!

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    Simon Helton
    He/him
    Community Manager
    Cayuse
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  • 19.  RE: How paperless is your office?

    CAYUSE CHAMPION
    Posted 4 days ago
    We call it the "red book room."  When awards were managed on paper, they went into these red binders.  One 40-year long NIH R01 (with a single fund number) has like 8 red books and together all these red books fill a small-ish office.  But everything since 2019 is in Cayuse, and the red books with the pre-Cayuse awards are slowly by slowly aging out.  We have to keep them for the prescribed time, but after close-out they go away to live in archival retirement until we can pitch them.  We're going to, very soon, get a whole room back!

    A