Dematerialisation of administrative documents. Important information in 2021

The digital transition is a growing challenge for companies as well as public bodies. Securing data, strengthening traceability, saving time and money… Dematerialization of documents can bring a lot of benefits to your business. Are you interested in digital transformation? We explain everything about dematerialization of administrative documents!

What is dematerialisation of administrative documents?

Be careful not to confuse dematerialization and digitization! These two words are part of the same process of digitizing documents, but their nature is different.

  • digitize : Involves converting original paper documents into digital documents (for example, by scanning).
  • dematerialization : Here, the idea is to use specialized software from the beginning of the process. These allow you to create, write, sign and store electronic documents.

Hence dematerialization of administrative documents involves complete digitization of the life cycle of a document in a company. It allows you, for example, to edit, share and sign your invoices, accounting documents, purchase orders, payment slips… a definite benefit to your company!

Dematerialisation of administrative documents: what are the rules?

The main challenge to successful dematerialization is compliance with French and European regulations in this area. Legally, all documents can be dematerialized. We can think for example:

  • invoice;
  • accounting documents ;
  • Citation ;
  • contracts;
  • payment slip ;
  • Mandate (direct debit, management, etc.).

Please note that a digitized document (signed by hand and then scanned) has no legal value. Only the original is authentic.


Today, an electronically signed document can have the same legal value as a handwritten signature. Here is what Article 1367 of the Civil Code says about the signature: “When it is electronic, it uses a reliable identification process that guarantees its link to the act to which it is linked. The reliability of this procedure is assumed unless there is evidence to the contrary that, when the electronic signature is created, the identity of the signer is ensured and the integrity of the work guaranteed, under the conditions set by the Decree of the State Council”.

For a non-material document, there is a European security standard called eIDAS, which aims to regulate electronic signatures. Software providing online signing solutions must guarantee the identity of the signers and the integrity of the document. This includes, for example, time-stamping of signatures and electronic seals.

Start-ups, VSEs, SMEs… all companies can be digital. We tell you about its benefits!

What are the benefits of dematerialisation of documents in a company?

Dematerialization of documents in companies brings many benefits.

First from an economic point of view: there is no need to invest so much in stocks of paper, inks, binders, plastic sleeves and other supplies needed for editing, printing and printing. Collection of your administrative documents. Investing once and for all in software that is recognized by the EIDAS standard can make you valuable financial savings.

Again, dematerialization represents a considerable saving of time. You will be able to edit your documents very quickly and related parties can sign contracts with just a few clicks. Now you don’t even need to spend time printing and scanning your documents. You will be able to store them digitally. Furthermore, communication is fluid within and between you teams but also with third parties (customers, suppliers, partners), information is shared more easily and quickly. Teamwork improves and your employees are more efficient and can focus on their core business.

Lastly, digital storage of dematerialized documents saves space. Say goodbye to the dozens or even hundreds of filing cabinets sometimes stored in entire rooms devoted to collections! Digital storage allows you to search for documents directly from your computer, or from a shared server. Take advantage of all this space for your employees, while ensuring the secure collection of your documents.

The document dematerialization process is generally done in stages. A company will choose to go from the first paper version to one type of document, before moving to another type of document. Invoices or accounts are often the first documents to be processed digitally.

More precisely, you need to be able to create, store, share and sign documents. To do this, you will therefore resort to:

  • Electronic signature: This ensures the identity of the signer and the integrity of the document, it must comply with the EIDAS standard and there are three levels of electronic signature (“simple”, “advanced” or “qualified”).
  • Electronic Seal: This is the digital version of your company’s seal that you can affix to guarantee the integrity of your documents.
  • Time Stamping: This comes in addition to the signature or electronic seal and indicates the time and date.
  • Collection: This occurs after the documents have been signed, collects the evidence (signature, seal, time stamp) and makes it possible to comply with the legal obligations to keep the documents. Usually a digital safe is used.

What are the tools to achieve dematerialization of documents?

There are many softwares out there to go ahead with the dematerialization of your documents according to your needs, your budget, the size of your company.

You can first equip yourself with invoicing and/or accounting software. You will be able to process all the business part of your activity in a dematerialized manner. In addition, CRM or ERP software provides additional functionality in customer and supplier relationships, inventory management or even marketing.

To deal with the HR part, HRMS software allows you to manage all documents related to employees: contracts, payment slips, certificates, expense reports, etc. Most HRMS have a dedicated digital safe.

Obviously, you will not be able to do without electronic signature software. They do not allow you to print documents and then scan them in order to sign them (they will also lose their legal value if you do so!) Here you sign the document online and send it to the recipient. send electronically. Online solutions like Yousign and its affordable price or Universign suitable for all types of businesses are recommended. Find other electronic signature software in our comparison engine.

We can cite other tools dedicated to archiving and electronic signatures such as the French solution oodrive_sign, Green GED and its intuitive use or Youdoc for large companies.

general question

What is the purpose of dematerializing administrative documents?

Dematerialization allows companies to make their digital and digital transition a reality. Dematerialized documents have the same legal importance as paper documents, and have many additional benefits.

How to dematerialize documents?

To dematerialize your documents, use software that complies with the eIDAS standard (DocSign, oDrive, UniSign, etc.).

What is interested in dematerializing administrative documents for a company?

This has several advantages: Dematerialization of administrative documents saves time, money and space, while guaranteeing traceability and complete data collection.

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