As a cloud-based bookkeeping firm, we have already made the transition to (almost) 100% paperless. We do still have to wrestle with the printer/scanner every once in a while, but, by and large, Accountix avoids paper. Going paperless has streamlined processes and has reduced our environmental footprint.
If you are also a paperless business, congrats! If you are not, here are some reasons you might consider making that transition a priority.
Benefits of a Paperless Business
1. Efficient Time Management – Those days that we have to spend scanning or faxing the occasional document are far less time efficient than when we already have digital documents at the ready. They are easier to store and take less time to manage. This means that the team is able to focus on more high-level tasks without being bogged down in the weeds.
2. Effective Sharing of Documents – With digital storage options like Box, DropBox, and others, digital documents are able to be made available to all relevant parties in just seconds. They cannot be misplaced or forgotten behind at the office, at home, on a train, etc. This means that the minute you need a certain document – you have it!
3. Safe Storage – Investing in good cybersecurity is a must and it means that documents are far more safe than they once were taking up all that office space. Not only are cloud-based document storage services resistant to burglary, they also cannot be damaged by natural disasters or building problems.
4. Save Money on Supplies – We were shocked by how quickly we began to save money once we stopped needing to order the endless office supplies of a non-paperless office! We’re a business too, so we care about the bottom line and going paperless was a great way to save money without compromising service (if anything we’re more effective now!)
How to Go Paperless
Hopefully, now we have you convinced. And, as business advice specialists, we hope you know we would never steer your business wrong! Here are some great tips on how to start to take your business 100% paperless:
1. Paperless Billing – We make sure that all of our clients are set up on QuickBooks or other cloud-based bookkeeping services tools and are always happy to show them how to use the simple invoicing tools (or invoice for them dependent on the level of service in our fixed-fee bookkeeping package). Online invoicing is easy, efficient, and ensures that you have a “paper” trail – e.g. records of the day that the invoice was sent, ease for the person you invoiced to find the invoice through a quick email search, and the ability to quickly resend a request if an invoice gets accidentally thrown into email trash or goes unpaid for a long time.
2. Paperless Receipt Management – In the case that you already have that pesky slip of carbon paper in your hand, we recommend using a digital receipt management service in order to store the image in the cloud. You may not be saving the paper but you sure are saving on storage!
3. Encourage Online Note-taking – We all do keep a notepad on our desks still, just in case, but also love to use Evernote to record notes. This system allows for the organization, storage, and sharing of notes so that everyone on the team can understand what happened in a meeting (even if they weren’t able to attend). It is also helpful to be able to search for certain notes you quickly jotted down rather than having to sort through stacks of papers, sticky notes, and backs of business cards.
4. Online Storage – Have an organized online storage system that is accessible and easy to use! In our office, we use Box.com because it has a high level of security but is straightforward and easy to use. We set up a Box account for every client we onboard so that we can easily share documents with CPAs, attorneys, and internally. This allows our clients easy access to their statements, bills, tax documents, etc. from anywhere in the world.
5. Stop Getting Bank Statements in the Mail – It is simple with almost any bank (large or small) to opt for paperless billing. You’re already checking your email every day! Opt for paperless billing and save the earth a little bit each day. You can even easily download the statement and then upload it to your online storage folder system so that you can reference it time and time again.
Making the Transition
There are, of course, tons of other ways to reduce your paper use (if you are a retailer, for example, you can offer to email receipts rather than print them) and you should always be sure to recycle the paper you do end up using. Try coming up with new “green” office initiatives every quarter to transition into a more sustainable and efficient office. It’s nice to be green and have a little more green in the pocket!
If you do decide to onboard with Accountix, we like to make it easier to start this transition by setting up and converting QuickBooks, setting up receipt management tools, and accessing bank and credit card statements online for you. It’s one more step in a greener and time-efficient direction!