Going Paperless – can you do it?

Paperless – a word you associate with saving the trees, reducing clutter, streamlining processes. But how easy is it to go paperless, and can you do it?

Paper is everywhere, and it is not something that you always think about because it’s there with everything we do, especially with businesses. As a small business there are so many benefits of going paperless, have you thought about converting to a paperless system?

The Benefits of a Paperless Office

Here’s some positives about cutting down paper usage:

Cost Reduction

Along with the cost of purchasing the paper (not cheap right!), there is also the associated costs of ink, printer maintenance, postage etc. Reducing paper usage would help to reduce all of these costs, not just the purchasing of paper! You could potentially reduce the amount of room needed in your office for storage of paper and all that brings, which in turn could save on rental costs.

Reduced Clutter

Having paperwork can cause clutter on desks, on shelves, and in cupboards full of dust that never sees the light of day. Reducing clutter can help keeps minds clear and sharp, and if you ever had to move offices – less things to move!

Improved Collaboration & Communication

With having information stored digitally, it’s much simpler and quicker to be able to share documents and information with employee’s, bookkeepers and accountants and banks/insurance companies.

Disaster Recovery

If you ever experienced a disaster such as a fire, earthquakes or a flood (knock on wood that never happens to anyone!) having documents stored digitally or in cloud-based software ensures you don’t run the risk of losing important information. (You do need to make sure you are doing cloud based backups of your data).

The Environmental Impact

According to The World Counts, 25% of landfill waste, 33% of municipal waste and 50% of the waste of businesses is composed of paper. It also takes 10 litres of water to make one piece of A4 paper, if one small business converted to a paperless office, imagine how much water that could save?

How to transition to a paperless business

Moving to a paperless office is not going to happen with a click of your fingers, but here are a few tips to get you started on creating a paperless filing cabinet

  • Have a look at what you currently are printing each day, is it necessary to have a physical copy? If not just keep a copy on your computer.
  • Create a digital filing cabinet – think about where you would logically file your paperwork and plan out your filing cabinets or folders so you can file your digital papers in a way you can find them.
  • Do you receive paper statements from your bank, letters from your insurance companies or credit card companies – consider changing to electronic statements that get emailed to you. Some of them have the facilities where you can log into their website and download statements when you need to.
  • Move to online cloud based applications, for example if you have to get clients to sign documents there are a huge amount of online options giving you the ability to be able to sign documents securely online. There are also the applications like Google Docs or Dropbox to store and share documents securely.
  • Use an application like Hubdoc or Receiptbank to scan receipts / invoices to bring into your accounting software, then get rid of them! There is no longer a need to store boxes of old receipts when you can store them digitally and make them available to your bookkeepers and accountants.

Final Thoughts

Obviously as with anything there may be some challenges with going paperless, it all depends on your mindset, but a great place to start is with just one thing.

You may feel a bit vulnerable knowing there you don’t have a physical copy you can go and grab from the filing cabinet, but it’s a good step in the right direction. If you need a piece of mind also have an external hard drive where you save backups of what you have stored in the cloud.

Let us know if you decide to go paperless and the steps you are going to take. If you need help with deciding what cloud-based platforms will work for you and your business, contact us and we can help you out.

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