Business Records; Save Money & Time by Going Paperless
by JamieD, Former Moderator
- Created: September 22, 2009, 12:01 pm
- Updated: February 16, 2011, 2:27 pm
Traditionally, businesses have spent countless dollars, time, and space maintaining paper business records. In recent times, many business owners have cut costs and improved their operational efficiency by going paperless. If this is something you've considered or have already implemented, check out these this quick guide to going paperless.
Should your business go paperless?
Consider potential benefits and how they would affect your business
Cutting Costs - Going paperless has the potential to cut certain costs from your budget. You'll no longer need to pay for the space and equipment necessary for keeping old documents. If you've been storing a lot of files, that amount can certainly add up. Paperless companies have unlimited storage space for only a tiny fraction of the cost. You'll also reduce the amount of man power needed to maintain such documents. This means you can use less employee resources managing old documents or forego the hiring of additional employees that would do such work. In addition to these larger costs, you'll save small amounts through the use of everyday tasks like using email as opposed to mail.
Improving Your Operability - Paperless operation often means making the most out of your money. If done correctly, going paperless can speed up your business' efficiency and improve its overall operability. A paperless business has all documents in one place; they are all maintained virtually and can be pulled for viewing, comparison, or printing
very easily. If a client requests a certain record, pulling up and emailing a document is a much quicker solution than finding your hard copy and mailing it. As for management, eliminating the need for your employees to spend time and effort maintaining hard copies means that your employees will be able to spend more time focusing on other projects.
Minimize Risks - Although it may be the appropriate choice in certain situations, relying on paper records comes with certain risks. In case of an emergency, such as a fire or a burglary, having your files already backed up virtually will reduce what your overall loss. It is easier to lose paper documents for less dramatic reasons as well - filing errors or common forgetfulness can cause a business to lose time and money finding or recreating those documents. Maintaining virtual records minimizes this issue.
Going Green - The movement of businesses "going green" has certainly taken hold over the last decade. By going paperless, a business, at least in part, can join that effort. You'll be saving mass amounts of paper through electronic documentation as well as other storage equipment such as folders and storage units. Energy savings are just as important and can be found by minimizing the use of print and copy machines. Supporting the green movement helps the environment and shows clients that your business cares about affecting it in a positive way.
Fast and easy ways to start a paperless record system.
Try using these small changes and tips to get your business started
- Scan and save all paper documents as a PDF to your chosen virtual destination - management software programs allow you to save documents, link emails, and integrate calendars in one easy-to-use place.
- Use an electronic program to maintain billable time records.
- Use instant messaging programs to leave messages or communicate electronically with colleagues.
- Maintain hard copies of only what is absolutely necessary - going paperless doesn't mean that you'll no longer need to have certain documents in paper form.
- Send electronic faxes instead of paper faxes.
- Give employees or clients CDs or electronic attachments instead of bound folders or cumbersome documents.
Be sure to lookout for and avoid potential downfalls of your new electronic system
Don't go halfway - Deciding to go paperless without fully committing gets you the worst of both worlds. Instead of being able to reap the benefits of electronic files, you end up creating confusion and more work for your employees. Checking several places for records and having to maintain both types of documents decreases your business efficiency and can hurt your success in thelong run.
Make necessary investments upfront - If you plan to be successful in your paperless business, understand that you'll need to make certain monetary and time costs in the beginning. It takes more time to transfer your hard documents to
electronic files, than actually maintaining them. If you spend the money on a quality software program and take the time and effort to use it, you'll end up saving a great deal and getting your investment back.
Set clear procedures and don't stray - If your business has operated in a paper form for a long time, it may be hard to change old habits. Setting clear procedures on how to scan documents, maintain records, and utilize email will help you and your employees correct any mistakes and make an overall successful transition. Where is the Community Talking About Going Paperless?
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