7 Reasons to Declare Your Independence from Paper Forms

By katie simpson on July 2, 2014

Photo credit: Lel4nd via photopin cc

The fourth of July is tomorrow. For most businesses, you’ll take the day off, and enjoy that time with your family and friends. Perhaps fire up the barbeque or some sparklers.

American businesses may no longer pay heavy British taxes, but there’s a new silent drain on your time and money. Paper forms are costing you time, causing errors, and draining your bottom line. It’s time to declare your independence from this menace and let your business get back to work.

This Independence day, declare your freedom from paper forms and replace them with mobile apps. Here are 7 reasons why:

1. Faster information in real time

Business works at a much faster pace today than it did in 1776. While previously it could take over 4 days to travel from Philadelphia to Boston. Today, an email can be exchanged in seconds!

While we work at a faster pace, paper forms haven’t gotten faster. Employees write down the information once on paper, then they have to enter into your database. If you have employees visiting various locations, this process can take hours or days to get back to your database for your boss to work with.  

Getting a mobile app can help you rediscover hundreds of hours of time. Why? With a mobile app you can use features such as:


  • drop down lists
  • barcode scanning to populate fields with one click
  • automatic time/date entry
  • one click photos to provide visuals



These create an easier and faster experience for employees. Many smartphones and tablets also have speech to text features, allowing your employees to quickly speak and take all the important information down.

More than faster information gathering, mobile apps streamlines the process further. Every form that is finished is sent immediately to the cloud. There you can view all the information in an organized PDF.

With bulk downloads as Excel or CSV files, your boss no longer has to waste time waiting for forms to return to the office. With all forms already in a streamlined format, they can easily look at multiple inspections together, saving time and energy in reporting. And data entry? That’s no longer necessary too.  

We don’t have the luxury they did in the 18th century to wait days for information. Switching to a mobile app will help the same employees do more work in the same amount of time, a major productivity boost for your business.

2. Mobile apps return with fewer errors

Britain made many miscalculations leading up to war with limited information. They assumed that there was no way that the American colonies, with no standing army, could successfully fight a professional army and the greatest navy in the world. This mistake cost them not only years of war, but also 12 million pounds a year.

Errors might not be so costly for your business, but inaccuracies do cost your business. Perhaps you have inspections where half the fields are blank, or you find out that an inventory occurred at the wrong location! With the decline in handwriting, even being able to understand the information can be difficult! These issues often require more work in the long run, or weaken your information.

Switching to a mobile app can make your life easier. In a mobile app, you can make fields required, that way employees will always submit important information. Even if they skip the required field, they won’t be able to submit the mobile app.

Imagine: forms return with clear typed text. Barcode scanning will pre-populate fields, ensuring that employees are inspecting the correct equipment. Photos will come attached to the form, always with the proper form.

Worried that an employee could mix up locations? You can ensure an accurate location with one click for GPS. Not only will you get the right address, but also have external validation that your employees inspected the right place too.

3. Easily find and organize your information

Disorganization can be deadly. 

Our founding fathers knew an important fact: disorganized forces and colonies could mean certain defeat against the British. Only as a united front could they have any hope to separate from the most powerful empire in the world.

Anyone who has been in management knows, paper documents tend towards chaos and disorganization. They get in the wrong file, become huge piles, and can become a mess. This headache is also costing your business: PWC found that 7.5 % of documents are lost and another 3.5% are misfiled, never to be found. That means that 10% of the time and energy spent on gathering information will become lost. That’s a huge loss in time, money, and information.

Ditching paper for mobile apps can help you retain your information in one united system. All forms go immediately to the cloud. There you can find any inspection, checklist, or waiver with a simple search.

You can even have your forms named after entries in the form, such as by date, or location name. Never again spend hours looking for the right document. Just type in your search and get back to work.

Not only will you spend less time finding information, you’ll have a stronger body of information. No matter what decision you make, you’ll make it with a better understanding than before.

4. Information is safer in the cloud

Keeping information secure isn’t new. During the revolution, there were various methods America used to keep information out of the British hands. They had secret ink, as well as codes and cyphers. Even if information fell into the wrong hands, the British would see an innocuous letter, not information on troop movements!

Information security is still a concern today. At GoCanvas, for instance, we take security issues seriously. These are the ways we ensure your information is carefully safeguarded:


  • Included is a 256-bit SSL certificate for device communication
  • Username/password verification of all data record (DR) submissions
  • A signature is inputted by the DR submitter or in person with the DR submitter
  • A photo may be permanently recorded as additional validation of signatory
  • The system produces a non-editable, routable permanent DR
  • Signatures are electronically and permanently bound to the DR
  • All activity performed is logged to the DR
  • A secure archive of all DRs is maintained for 45 days
  • Connector software uses 256-bit encryption to retrieve all DRs, including signature



Requiring HIPAA compliance? We also provide additional security measures for those with sensitive information, especially in the medical field. This includes


  • Auto log offs of all users
  • Disabled email capability at the end of forms
  • Increase use of logic and check sums to ensure the data has not been manipulated in any shape or form.



Want to know more about our HIPAA compliance? Check out the details of our security measures in this white paper.

No matter what you choose a mobile app will keep your data encrypted and protected from prying eyes.

5. No Internet? No Problem

We may be in the 21st century, but many industries like mining, forestry, and field service take your employees into areas as disconnected as the 18th century. A mobile app is useless for your organization if internet is required.

This is a common requirement for some mobile apps. However, GoCanvas understands this concern. With GoCanvas, you don’t need to be connected to the internet to fill out forms. Your workers could be a mile underground and they can still fill out a GoCanvas mobile app.

While they won’t be able to submit the information as quickly, they can still gather the same information quickly and easily. Once employees have access to the internet again, all your forms will be automatically submitted to the cloud.

6. You can customize, update, or change your apps without IT support  

Outside support requires a lot of time and money. It took 3 years before France committed to supporting the American cause, ultimately shifting massive resources in our fledgling country’s favor.

Having to rely on IT support for any change or update on a tech system can be just as maddening and slow. In a rapidly changing business environment, you don’t have the time or money to constantly bringing in IT staff for any small update or change. .

With a mobile app subscription service you don’t need IT support for creating or updating your mobile apps. Some, like GoCanvas, have drag and drop interfaces, allowing you to easily build or edit your own app in minutes. No coding needed, and no IT support required. Plumbers, contractors, even a Girl Scout troop have created and used our mobile apps.

You can enjoy powerful, custom mobile apps, without constantly calling your IT staff.

7.  Use the technology employees already own

With limited supplies, the militias during the revolution brought their own equipment. Muskets, gunpowder, and other materials were expensive and hard for the Americans to acquire.

Freeing your business from paper does have many benefits, but this transition also requires technology like smartphones, or tablets. And that can become expensive, especially compared to the initial cost of paper.

On the surface, paper may seem cheaper, but it can cost you in the long run. Weaker information, slower processes are soft costs that prevent you from innovating. Even storing paper can be costly: Paper records cost between 20 and 100 times more to store than electronic documents. Silently, paper is draining precious resources from your business.

Still worried about upfront technology costs? GoCanvas, like the revolutionary militias, allows you to use a variety of different devices. Our platform works on Android, iOS, Blackberry, even Windows. Many companies find that employees can bring and use their own devices with GoCanvas. Not only do employees get devices that they are familiar with, but companies reduce the upfront cost of this transition.

This Independence Day, take back your time and money. You can save hundreds of hours this year with a simple switch to mobile apps. The end result? You’ll get more critical tasks done, reduce your overhead costs, and enjoy less time in front of the computer screen, and more with friends and family.

Discover how you can save hundreds of hours this year

Learn more in our free ebook: