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Can We Really Go “Paperless?”

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – MARCH 12: A bank employee counts U.S. dollars banknotes at the headquarters of the Korea Exchange Bank March 12, 2003 in Seoul, South Korea. The dollar began stronger against the won amid a bleak economic outlook and the growing concerns over the North Korean nuclear crisis, closing at 1,245 won per dollar, up 15.10 won. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

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Paper. Forms, receipts, financial records, tax returns, and medical records are all slowly being transferred to electronic versions. Can we really operate efficiently with all those things stored in some computer file? Shouldn’t there be some kind of “hard copy” somewhere?

Banks and Robo Signings

Many people in this nation have no record of owning their own homes. Banks have passed mortgages around through so many banks many people have no idea where ownership lies. Trying to sell a home, or to even prove you are the owner, without a clear deed and title has become almost impossible because there is no actual paper that the owner can lay their hands on. Even loan papers were electronically, or “robo signed.”

Corruption and Social Media

Is there any chance that computers and social media might be the answer to reducing corruption in both public and private organizations? We’ve seen how the VA avoids the computer by creating “secret waiting lists” hand written.

Bloggers, social media sites are the new method of news reporting. Many stories show up in blogs long before mainstream media catches up. Do these stories surface because of electronic record keeping?

IRS and The Tea Party

There are allegations before Congress that the IRS targeted certain groups and denied their nonprofit status based on their politics. Was this action discovered because of computer files and records? Would this have been more easily hidden had everything been kept strictly on paper?

But will going paperless just create other ways of hiding transactions or transferring information much like the VA did? If there is a way to be corrupt someone will usually find it.

Customs

US Customs has set a goal to be completely paperless by 2015. They feel that running everything through computer will help analyze imports and close loopholes. They also feel that computers would reduce human error and increase revenues.

IRS

More and more people are filing their yearly tax returns electronically. Even though I have my return processed by a CPA they still file it for me over the Internet. This supposedly allows computers to process and find “red flags” much faster and more efficiently than human examiners can. At least I still get a hard copy of my tax returns.

Debit Cards

Debit cards are the new checks. Where I used to write checks to businesses and have a paper trail, now my debit card is my paper trail — only it’s paperless. I have to admit it is a lot easier at tax time to print and electronic file for my accountant rather than go through reams of checks.

Some Final Thoughts

We’ve seen that social media can affect consumers buying habits. Good and bad reviews of companies appear regularly on Facebook, and Twitter.

More and more information is being passed electronically. Our computers, iPhones, tablets, are all placing more information at our fingertips. Newspapers and magazines are all moving to electronic versions. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Only time will tell.

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