The use of eForms is on the rise. Organisations are turning to their use more and more.Last month the Ministry of Justice announced that they were introducing crime eForms- that from 1 April 2013 they would no longer be accepting paper versions.UCAS, the organisation which manages applications to higher education courses in the UK, has been using eForms for student applications for years, and will only now send out paper application packs in ‘exceptional circumstances’.When was the last time you filled in a paper-based application form for a job?The number of online shoppers is growing year by year.eForms are part of everyday life – and everyday business life. What is an eForm?An eForm offers a simple, cost-effective way for an organisation to capture data, data which can be accessed, retrieved and processed to aid the organisation in carrying out business and meeting targets.In essence an eForm is a document with blank spaces to be filled in online – and can be as simple or as complex as the information required.Online validation ensures greater data accuracy than via paper-counterparts. Prompts help with form-filling and controlled options – drop-down lists, tick boxes, etc., – reduce input time as well as improve data relevance and validation.An employee completing an expense eForm can have his individual data automatically input -address, department, car registration number, for example, – and with the widespread use of post code address finder applications it’s rare now to have to completely input your address online.eForms eliminate the mis-keying risks associated with multiple application entry as the data is available instantly online and the need to have to return incorrectly and half-completed forms – validation processing sees to that.The eForm can link to other documents and ‘grow’ as it travels through processing.And eForms also remove that struggle with the handwriting that is just not going to be deciphered…Benefits for the business As well as receiving fully completed, legible, accurate and validated data, the use of eForms means for a business eliminating paper forms – reducing stationery and associated printing costs.In the current ecological drive for the paperless office, using eForms will also help a company meet its corporate responsibility and green targets.Plus with data input quicker, more efficient and cheaper (no envelopes, stamps required) introducing eForms into a business also makes for an enhanced customer/client experience – which can only be good.So how does your business use eForms? Or how could your business use eForms?An eForm can be used regardless of the type of data to be captured, the applications subsequently processing the data, or the market or the industry of the business, and organisations use eForms in many different ways.For example, making a simple internal purchase requisition online is often via an eForm.A supplier portal can form part of a client’s Invoice Management Solution (IMS). Suppliers can use the portal to create their own invoices online and track their progress through the payment process. This is particularly useful for the smaller suppliers who do not have their own electronic invoice generation capability – and for the IMS client it means the invoice has been coded directly into their system, accurately and with online validation. Invoice processing for this supplier has therefore become faster and more efficient.In manufacturing companies, eForms are often used when creating a new product. Input from the various departments from research through to marketing can be supplemented as appropriate, the form retrieved, accessed and added to easily and efficiently.An HR solution with a recruitment model can see the recruitment process begin with an eForm. A department wanting to fill a post completes the initial eForm. This is then passed to HR for on-line authorisation and on to marketing who will use the information to create ads for external promotion. The process continues through the interviewing and offer process to on-boarding – all the relevant documents stored centrally and accessible online. And it all began with that first department’s eForm.