Cloud technologies allow small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to easily turn overfilled filing cabinets into elegantly organized and effortlessly searchable digital databases. When you cut paper out of your organization, you’re not only clearing clutter from the office but also saving yourself time, money, and the environment.
It’s not hard to do. Here are some simple tools you can use to establish a paperless office in the new year.
Statements from banks and insurers can turn into massive paper mountains in no time at all. But most institutions are capable of and happy to switch your statements over to an electronic version. It saves them money too, after all.
Start requesting people you do business with to send electronic documents to you via email. You may be surprised how many are already set up to do just that. Now, all that information is stored digitally, in a format that is easy to search, back up, and share.
E-signatures help you send and receive business-critical documents more quickly and securely than pen and ink so you can close deals faster and with less obstacles. The leading Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platforms like DocuSign make it super simple to send, track and sign across devices, at the office or on the go. Plus, in more and more jurisdictions, e-signatures are legally valid, but it’s always good to check and make sure they are in the context you need them for.
E-billing and invoicing
Turn your invoicing and billing operation digital, sending both bills and invoices as PDF attachments to emails. Then, ask your vendors to do the same with you. In fact, modern accounting software more often than not does this by default. You cut the cost in money and man-hours required when working with paper, print, and post.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is increasingly the go-to model for delivering high-efficiency software and applications costs. Leveraging cloud technology allows organizations to automate any process that fits into a repeatable “If this, then that” formula.
For instance, an invoice can be received, categorized, and forwarded to the appropriate person based on its contents. You could automatically route invoices larger than a predetermined amount to a manager, or set automatically create reminders for invoices that aren’t completed within two to three days.
Dynamics 365 Business Central and Zoho People are powerful, cloud-based human resource management platforms offered on a SaaS basis. With these applications, you can automate time tracking, PTO, claims approvals and more from just about anywhere, all while cutting out the clutter and inefficiency of paper files.
Most of these programs can also handle digitizing and automating payroll — one of the most paper-intensive processes in human resources. Using these programs to perform your payroll duties makes getting out all your employees’ end-of-the-month paychecks a breeze, whether they entail simply hours tallied or detailed itemized lists. Just email them out on payday.
Working on the same document with distant colleagues has never been easy. Rather than printing out a dozen copies of the same file, document sharing programs allow everyone to collaboratively edit or comment on the same files in real time. Google Docs is one of the most popular, free versions, but other robust options include Microsoft Office 365. These programs increase productivity and flexibility.
Make printing a pain
One final idea to consider: simple little steps you take to disincentivize employees from printing unless absolutely necessary can go a long way in reducing your paper burden. Many office managers tasked with reducing paper waste will stock printers with less paper or charging to print beyond a certain page count.
A more passive, hands-off approach is to alter the default settings on your printers so pages always print double-sided and with narrower margins so that fewer pages are needed. And it doesn’t hurt that each of these steps also saves you money on office supplies.
For more ideas on how to go paperless or for help applying any of these tools and policies at your organization, call PaperSave today. Or schedule a free personalized demo to see how our document management solution can streamline your business.
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