Paper may not seem like a big expense, but when you add up all the money spent on the reams of paper, manila folders to hold paper, filing cabinets to store the paper, and the hours spent by employees sorting through paper, you might realize that paper can be costly.
Today many companies, big and small, are going paperless, but you rarely hear the details about how they do it. Here are a few tips to get you started on a completely paperless office.
Email memos – Interoffice memos are a big paper hog in many offices. Every time a company president or department head has something to announce or a report to share, it goes out in the form of a memo to everyone. Instead, determine that memos will be composed onto email and sent virtually to all recipients. Email is easy to save and organize on hard disks, and it will help eliminate interoffice paper waste.
Send invoices via email attachment – The invoices you create also generate a lot of paper, not to mention the postage you pay. Rather, when you generate a customer invoice, create a PDF file of your invoices and send it via email attachment. You save paper and postage and have a direct tracking of an invoice to a destination so it can never be “lost in the mail.”
Pay company bills online – Another paperless accounting method is to pay your bills online. Open a bank account that allows online bill payment. Rather than a weekly check printing, simply enter your bills in the online forms provided by your bank and have them send a check or pay via ACH. You still have a permanent record of your accounts payable, and no paper was generated in your office.
Scan everything – Although you can eliminate paper generated in your office, you can’t stop paper from coming into your office. Scanning technology has dropped considerably in price. You can get one or two scanners that are able to scan single and double-sided images quickly and efficiently. Use scanners to make a digital image of your accounts payable invoices from vendors, customer correspondence, proposals, and anything that can be saved as a digital file. It is cheaper in the long run to store images on hard disk than in files stored in precious office space.
Going paperless can be a chore, and it can take a while to make a complete transition. However, taking it step by step you can switch your small business operation to a paperless operation that is certainly worth the effort.