For many of us, a paperless office would be a dream come true. No more money spent on printers and toner and no more time spent searching through file cabinets trying to find documents. Not to mention the positive impact on the environment. But for most of us, a completely paperless office is just not realistic. We can transition to an office that uses less paper though, and still save some time and money.
So, where to start? Here are some tips:
1. Start with daily processes first – Consider switching to electronic invoicing, bill payments and direct deposit for payroll.
2. Create searchable documents – If you are planning to scan a bunch of the documents you are currently storing, save them as searchable pdf’s. Then you can search within the documents using keywords.
3. Create a simple electronic file structure and use standard nomenclature – One benefit of going paperless should be saving time finding documents. But that has a lot to do with how the files are organized. A simple, intuitive file structure plus a simple naming device for files, like the date and a two word description, ensures that documents can be found by anyone in your company.
4. Reduce junk mail – Remove your company from distribution lists. There are several apps available like PaperKarma for instance, that can help.
5. Security and proper record retention is important – Make sure all sensitive employee or client information is being stored properly and securely. As you sort through paperwork to scan you may find that you don’t need to keep a lot of it. But make sure you keep important documents like employee, tax and financial records for the proper length of time. Tax documents should be kept for at least six years, for instance.
6. Be sure you are backing up – If your most important documents are going to be stored electronically, you definitely want to make sure you are backing them up multiple ways. An external hard drive that is stored off-site plus a cloud-based back up service ensures two layers of storage.