Tim Loshe 4m 544
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
In the grand scheme of things, ditching your current documentation methods in favor of going paperless is a small change to make that will immensely benefit the environment and your wallet. After going paperless, many companies even say that they would never go back because it’s so much more time-efficient and organized.
Statistics show that paper-related costs, like photocopying, mailing, and recycling, cost 31 times as much as paper itself. Not only that, but the average office worker uses about a hundred pounds’ worth of paper in a year. Think of all the money you’re throwing out the window on ink and stamps; all the waste you’re creating; all the space you’re consuming. Have we convinced you to go paperless yet? Good. Now here’s how.
Most of us have already started paying the majority of our bills online. It’s just more convenient and there’s less of a risk of late fees. If you’re going to make that option available (which you probably already have), why not stop sending out bills altogether? It’s fairly easy to develop a part of your website where customers can look into their payment histories and other financial documentation. Any necessary notifications can be sent by e-mail. Since online payments are becoming so popular, many of those bills go right in the garbage anyway.
Admittedly, this is the part that’s time-consuming. Scanning all your old documents into a system and finding a database that works for you takes a bit of work. But once you get all your old files into the computer, putting new ones in there will be a breeze. Not to mention, you’ll have saved space and a searchable system so documents don’t get lost. You’re streamlining the processes of your office while reducing waste – you can’t beat it! There are auto-feed scanners that can help you to quickly digitize files, and while they’re a bit of an up-front investment, they’ll pay for themselves in the long run.
You’re probably most worried about what will happen to your legal documents and proofs of payment. Needing signatures is what most companies don’t think they can get around. Lucky for you, electronic signature technology is becoming very highly developed and easy to use. When you’ve got the option to sign things electronically, you can also cut down on postage for documents that need to be signed and mailed, since they can now be emailed.
A lot of companies still insist on using fax machines, but that doesn’t mean you have to be one of them. Fax machines are one of the biggest paper-consuming culprits in the office, so it’s a great target if you’re looking for a specific place to start cutting back. You can still have a fax number, but instead of scanning and printing a document, you can do it with an electronic document. It’s sort of like e-mail, but you can still communicate with other people who insist on faxing documents or having documents faxed to them.
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Tim Loshe is a small business owner with over twenty years in the service based industry. In his free time, Tim enjoys blogging about business tips and ways to make the work place more efficient.