It’s the business tax incentive pot of gold that keeps on giving. Section 179 of the IRS tax code pays your business to invest in itself. In 2021 the deduction limit is higher than ever: $1,050,000. The full purchase price of equipment bought and put in service by December 31 can be deducted under Sec. 179. Moreover, businesses can take advantage of a 100% depreciation bonus on both new and used equipment, if costs exceed $1,050,000 but are less than $2,620,000.
This generous deduction covers a broad range of equipment, including:
- Computers, hardware peripherals, and software, including RFID systems
- Office furnishings, including file storage systems and lockers
- Office equipment
- Tangible personal property used in business
- Property attached to your building that is not part of your building, such as a warehouse rack system
And there’s more good news. If you lease or finance the equipment, the full price is deductible immediately. You may stretch payments over several years, but you get the deduction in Year 1.
Take a look at this example:
There are a few restrictions under Sec. 179. Real estate does not qualify, nor does equipment acquired by gift or from a relative. And the equipment, whether new or used, must be new to you.
Most important: The equipment must be put in service, not just purchased, by December 31.
If you have been considering an equipment purchase, now is the time to act. Vendors with a quick-ship program (like NOS) can deliver and set up new equipment in time for you to put your new purchase into use ahead of the deadline. Grab the Sec. 179 gold and enjoy the tax deduction as well as the benefits of the new equipment.
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If you’re using paper documents in your business, it’s inevitable that one day, a vital document will go missing. Maybe you’ve already discovered just how much it costs when you misplace or lose a paper document. The well-known Pricewaterhouse Coopers study on paper in the workplace showed some expensive consequences:
- The average labor cost to find a missing document is $120.
- The average cost of reproducing a single lost or destroyed document is $220.
- The average professional spends 5-15% of their time reading documents, but up to 50% of their time looking for documents. (What’s your time worth?)
Those costs are just the tip of the paper-document iceberg. Consider the cost of space to file paper documents, the security issues that come with the loss of confidential documents, the less tangible but very real cost of lost brand trust when you can’t find documents a client has entrusted to you.
Here are two proven technologies that change the negative math associated with paper documents.
Converting paper documents via imaging (scanning) creates digital files from physical documents. The files are secure, remotely accessible, and searchable. No longer are documents accidentally destroyed or thrown out. They don’t get misfiled, or fall into the wrong hands. They are “findable” – specific documents or content can be located, accessed, and used with electronic speed.
And once your business converts its paper documents, it can convert the former storage space into more productive space.
RFID is best known as an inventory tool for warehousing and retail. Now it is used to keep track of everything from artworks to medications, from books to personnel. Doorway readers register the movement of RFID-tagged items in and out of rooms, showing their whereabouts in real time. Paper manufacturers have started producing printer paper with embedded RFID tags, allowing original paper documents to be tracked from office to office, from desk to file cabinet, or from an office into a client’s hands.
Very few businesses can operate without some paper documents. With RFID-embedded paper, keeping track of a document is simple, secure, and accurate.
Add these two technologies – imaging and RFID – to your business operations, and save the high cost of lost paper documents.
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Decision math is something business managers use every day. There’s nothing like cold, hard, inarguable math to help decision-makers who are faced with multiple solutions. Decision math lets you analyze and compare the costs associated with each solution, and choose accordingly. Straightforward, right? But it can be trickier than it seems, especially when comparing in-house processes versus outsourcing. When it comes to highly complex processes like document imaging, the equation factors are far-ranging.
First, take a look at your resources:
- Office space – Do you have sufficient room for the imaging equipment, the personnel, and the workflow? Or will you need to spend money on extra space?
- Materials – Do you already have scanners, servers, and software license subscriptions, or will you have to procure those?
- Labor – Do you have trained personnel you can deploy for a major imaging project, or will you need to hire and train additional staff? If it’s the latter, what is the current labor market?
- Time – Do you have an unlimited time horizon for your imaging project, or is there a need to complete it sooner rather than later?
If there are resources lacking in any area, calculate the costs of eliminating the deficiencies. Add those costs up.
Then consider your utilization. Is this a quarterly archiving project? A project to convert a warehouse of old documents? A high-volume every-work-day process? And what is the likelihood of relatively quick equipment and software obsolescence?
Continuous full-time utilization is, of course, the most cost-efficient. Idle resources cost money. Most imaging projects, however, are infrequent.
And finally, your mission. Unless you’re in the document business, your business mission is something other than piles of paper. Distractions slow down achievement. What does it cost your business to lose focus, even temporarily?
So… is it a good decision to pay for everything above — additional space, increased head count, expensive equipment and software licenses, and loss of focus – for an infrequent project?
That’s a rhetorical question, of course. Every enterprise is different, and each one has its own unique volume of documents for imaging. But for the great majority of businesses, outsourcing your document imaging is always the right answer.
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It’s no secret that the nature of office work has been permanently changed by the covid pandemic. WFH has been confirmed as a viable alternative to large, expensive in-person offices. Hybrid offices have evolved into a productive balance of part-time WFH and well-scheduled in-office work. And for workers and managers who rely on in-person collaboration, new office designs are making it safe to work together again.
Flexibility is the new standard for the post-covid office. And that flexibility includes a variety of technologies, with employers providing:
- High speed internet and home office furnishings, for the WFH work model;
- Collaboration and scheduling software to manage work time and location, for the hybrid workplace;
- Safety-conscious touchless technology controlling entry, lighting, and climate, for the fulltime in-person office.
Some of these technologies overlap workstyles. For example, both WFH tech and in-person office tech fit well in the hybrid office. But there is one technology that is common to every workplace model: document imaging.
Document imaging supports productivity in any workplace.
- In the in-person office, imaged documents save valuable space, letting managers convert document storage space into additional room for safely-spaced workstations.
- In the WFH office, imaged documents can be accessed from anywhere, keeping productivity high even when physical documents aren’t accessible.
- In the hybrid workplace, imaged documents support collaboration whether in person or remotely.
As employers seek to fill post-pandemic jobs, workers have a new-found leverage to state their preference for WFH, hybrid, or fulltime office work. The Harvard Business Review states that today’s recruiting challenges won’t be solved by the solutions of the past. Adjusting salaries to the cost of living, recruiting overlooked talent like older workers, and setting up satellite offices to reduce commutes all make it easier to recruit and retain top talent.
But for employees and employers to be successful, the workplace technology should be matched to the preferred workplace model. And for all workplace models, document imaging technology is a productive match.
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NFTs are the hot ticket for the digitally-savvy investor. A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is essentially a certificate of authenticity for a digital file, ensuring that the owner of the digital file possesses the genuine asset. The technology behind NFTs and their underlying blockchain systems may be confusing to the average layperson, but the concept of asset management, buying and selling, is something we can all understand.
NFTs hold the potential for leveraging the monetary value of almost any digital file, from artworks to archived documents. Digital assets, like physical assets, have value for any enterprise. Like physical assets, digital assets are managed and maintained for the benefit of the enterprise (digital asset management or DAM). NFTs intersect with DAM when the monetary value of a digital file is determined, and an NFT is issued for it.
Digital art has been prominently featured in the NFT market, but UC Berkeley recently sold an NFT of some digitized documents for $55,000. The university owned imaged files of some Nobel Prize-related research documents. An NFT was created of these imaged documents, and it was auctioned to the highest bidder. Berkeley received a lump sum, plus a 10% royalty of any subsequent sales of the NTF.
What does this mean for other organizations’ digital assets? Every business, non-profit, and governmental body has documents that could be valuable to collectors, historians, or researchers:
- Vintage logo artwork
- Historic contracts with signatures
- Founding documents
- Historic correspondence or writings
- Archived photographs of significant events
Selling NFTs of some of these digital assets could yield significant funds for an organization. Keep in mind that an NFT can be structured in many ways – a royalty structure such as UC Berkeley did, or perhaps an ownership reversion under certain conditions. And there can be multiple NFTs of a single digital document, under a limited-edition structure.
But before you can profit from the sale of your digital assets, your paper documents have to be converted to digital files. That’s where document imaging comes into play. A well-designed and professionally executed imaging program gives you all the benefits of document conversion – security, accessibility, reduced storage space – along with the potential for additional income. Image your documents, and mine the value of your digital assets.
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Even the federal government is getting in on the hybrid office trend. There are many good reasons to continue the combination of in-office work and remote work: high productivity, happy employees, and lower facilities overhead.
But there’s a security downside. It’s easy to lose track of the whereabouts of assets. Workers move documents, office equipment, even furnishings between home and office. Without a comprehensive check-out check-in system, business assets can fall through the cracks.
And missing assets are costly. Currently, the average office chair is $400. The average laptop computer is $1600. A single missing document is valued at an average of $120, and the cost could be far higher if the data contained in that document cannot be replicated. The cost of lost assets can easily outweigh the cost savings of a hybrid workplace.
This is where RFID can make a difference. You may think of RFID as a tool to manage your product inventory or secure your building’s entrances. In fact, the technology can be extended into other areas of asset management:
- Office furnishings – Doorway-mounted RFID readers monitor the movements of furniture in and out of a room, or out of the building if you’re supplying furniture for your employees’ home offices.
- Office equipment – The same doorway readers track RFID-tagged laptops, tablets, and cell phones. Paired with RFID personnel tags, you’ll know which employee has which electronic equipment.
- Documents – Sensitive documents can be printed on paper with embedded RFID, and file folders can be RFID-tagged. Like furnishings and equipment, the documents are monitored as they are moved around the office, and tracked if they are taken out of the office.
Can you manually track the ins and outs of assets between home and office, the way it’s always been done? Of course. But a paper and pencil sign-out system is astonishingly error-prone.
RFID is accurate. It doesn’t count on people remembering to sign out a file folder or a computer. It doesn’t mistakenly transpose a chair’s asset management ID number. You can rely on the asset data an RFID system delivers.
The hybrid office trend is here to stay. Manage your office assets with RFID and ensure your operation is getting all the benefits of the hybrid workplace.
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