Busy offices can generate a lot of paperwork. However, too much paper can reduce the efficiency of your business and cost you a lot of money. What steps can you take to cut the amount of paper your business uses?
Going paperless can’t be done overnight, so plan your strategy carefully. Here are a few steps to think about to get you started on the road to going paper-free.
Find Out What You Print Now
It can be hard to keep track of who is printing what in a business. Use print audit software to start tracking where all the print jobs are coming from. When you know what you’re printing, you can start to see where changes can be made.
Calculate Potential Cost Savings
Use accounting software to track your print expenses. Include printers, ink, toner, paper, service contracts, storage, and technical support. Take off any revenue you earn from using paper unless you could match this by using digital documents. For example, a printed newsletter could be replaced with an email without losing revenue.
Move To Online Applications
Cloud-based applications can be used to share data with clients and suppliers. You won’t have to worry about different file formats. See if your key clients and suppliers are willing to move to the cloud. You can use Google Docs to collaborate, Dropbox to share files, Basecamp for project management, Evernote to take notes and PayPal to transfer funds. You can even sign contracts online if you know how to sign a pdf. The more parts of your business you can move onto the cloud, the less you will need to worry about file format issues.
Don’t Forget Training
Work with your staff to make sure that they can handle and process electronic documents, such as invoices.
Incentivize Your Employees
Give your staff a budget for printing, and reward those who print the least.
Scan Any Paperwork Your Recieve
Document scanners are cheap and can be used to turn paperwork into a PDF format. Use a data capture tool to capture bills and receipts by email, mobile, desktop, or scanner, and extract any important data automatically into your accounting software.
Sign Documents Digitally
In most countries, contracts that have been signed electronically are just as legal and valid as those that were signed with pen and paper.
Use Online Banking
Ask your bank for paperless statements or arrange direct bank feeds to your accounting software. If you’re worried about missing something, set up alerts in your accounting software to warn you when a bill is due. Pay your bills online.
Update Your Office
If you need less space for storing documents, you can make your office a nicer place to work. Use the extra room to put in larger monitors, or dual-monitor set-ups, for example.
Phase Out Old Technology
Some companies still use a fax machine. However, you can cut down on paper use here too. Fax software allows you to send and receive faxes as electronic documents, so you use less paper and spend less.