Going paperless sets your business for success

Why going paperless will set your business up for success

If you are just starting your business, this blog will reinforce why you should start paperless. As a new owner, you may think that you don’t have the capital to invest in software. We will explain to you how software is not only a great investment, but it may even save you money in the long term.

If you are starting to transition from paper to paperless, it may seem like a daunting task for your business. Yet once you have taken the plunge you will find that your business runs better than you ever thought it could.

 

What going paperless can do for your business

Going paperless can improve your document organization

Even if everyone in your office does an exceptionally good job of keeping all of your files up to date, organized, and stored in the proper place, documents can still go missing.

There can be the case of someone taking a particular document out of the file, or even out of the office. This always seems to be when someone else is also looking for the document. It can lead to wasted time looking for the document, and concern over where the document may be.

Making copies of a document while leaving the original in the file can be as bad as, or worse of a problem. This is because people will be using these copies and possibly altering them. Now there may be an updated version of the document that has important information or signatures on it, yet this new copy isn’t in the file for others to reference.

When your business goes paperless, the documents will always be accessible. Whether or not you decide that you want your documents on a local server or in cloud-based software, your business documents can be accessed by your employees or team members that have permission to access them.

Even better, your documents can be accessed from nearly anywhere… And they won’t get lost.

If your business is operating on a cloud-based system, updates and signatures can even be done in ‘real-time’. This is because the documents can be created, or changed, as well as signed on a tablet, or other devices. Not only will this mean that everyone will be operating off of the latest, and only version of your document, there won’t be any concern of the documents being misplaced or unavailable when you want to access them.

Being paperless can increase your operational efficiency

As a business owner, you may not realize how many collective hours are lost with all of your employee’s printing, filing, and organizing all of the various business documents. We won’t even talk about the cost of printer ink and paper that have added up to over the years.

You also may not have thought about all of the hours that have been spent opening up and sorting stacks of mail, that you could be receiving online, or paperless. Whether you are talking about the invoices you receive from suppliers or contractors, utility bills or bank statements, most of these have gone paperless. You simply need to let them know that your business is running paperless as well.

Again, it may not seem like much on a daily basis, but over a year or longer, this could be a large amount of time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Likewise, if you are still sending out your invoices on paper, this could actually be slowing your cash flow down by days or even weeks. By going paperless, you can invoice your customers right away rather than waiting for the postal system to (hopefully) deliver your invoice to the customer.

This may even prompt your customer to send their payment sooner, especially if they can pay you electronically.

If your customer does not pay their invoice right away, there are accounting software programs on the market that will allow you to set up automated invoice reminders, which will not only save you time but remind your customers to pay your invoice.

There will be cost savings when you go paperless

We mentioned the cost of printer ink and paper above, that you will be able to save the expense of by going paperless. There is also the expense that you will save based on the demand on the printers.

This includes whether we are talking about how many printers your business may now need, or how often they need to be serviced now that they are not being used all of the time.

Another cost until you go paperless, will be the cost of storing all of your documents. Even if you are able to store your documents on-site, there is the cost of the filing cabinets and the wasted space that they take up.

If you don’t have the space to store all of your documents on-site, you have the added expense of off-site storage for your file boxes or cabinets. These are both expenses that could be dispensed with, simply by going paperless.

Going paperless can improve the security of your data.

As we mentioned above, you may not always know who has a paper document, whether it be in your office or outside of your office, if they’ve taken it to a meeting.

This could be a possible security issue because documents can be dropped, misplaced, or left behind. As well, your office could be broken into and your documents could be destroyed or taken.

When your bookkeeping is online or cloud-based, you can not only set security up for your business from outsiders, but you can also limit who has access to various documents within your business. Your documents will always be where they should be.


This is certainly easier, and more secure for anyone who is needing access to business documents that are needed to operate your business. This is also true for your bookkeeping and accounting software. By having it cloud-based, you and your bookkeeper can easily access it, even when not together. This will also streamline your operations and provide transparency if your business is ever questioned on compliance or audited.

When you are paperless, back-up and disaster recovery are easier

As with anything physical, your paper documents can easily get damaged or destroyed in a disaster. Just ask anyone who has gone through a flood or fire. A safe deposit box can’t even keep the elements out.

Years’ worth of documents can be lost in mere minutes, and that will be an added disaster for your business.

Keeping a physical backup copy of documents off-site may not be the answer either. Even though the chances may not be high that both places will be affected, there will still be the added work of trying to access and organize the backup files.

When your documents are paperless, there are cloud-based solutions to protect your business documents. You may have copies stored in different locations or they may be entirely stored on the cloud.

As well, you can set up a backup schedule to occur automatically, so the documents that are on your computer are regularly uploaded to the cloud. This will help eliminate the worry of losing business documentation.

Going paperless provides your business with the potential to grow

Once your business has gone paperless, not only does it free up time for you to grow your business, it will also make it easier for you to expand.

Many software programs available have the ability to scale, which is important when you are growing your business. This means that your software is ready to grow with you. If you were trying to expand the same way while still using paper, you would find the process not only cumbersome but slow.

 

Going paperless helps the environment

Many businesses are now taking the initiative to be more environmentally aware. This includes using less paper and leaving less of a footprint. With many customers, as well as suppliers, are taking this into consideration, it is an easy step to take.

Going paperless in this sense is a short-term pain and long-term gain.

Although you’ll have to invest in paperless accounting software today, the environmental benefits (and other benefits, as we’ve talked about above) will surpass these costs in the long run.

How can your busines make this happen

Unless you were able to start off paperless from the beginning, you will want to make gradual changes to start. This is because if you all of a sudden try to change everything in a day or two, your employees won’t be happy, people will be confused, and you’ll really just be worse off than when you started.

You can either start by changing over certain activities and then expand the list, or you may choose one individual’s tasks and have them start processing all of their work online.

For example, you may choose to start with monthly bills that you are receiving from just one or two vendors by mail and begin to transition them to online invoices. Or you may decide that the person who is in charge of opening all of the mail is the one that starts the transition to paperless.

It may be that everyone in the office isn’t thrilled with going paperless, but with the right software program, they will get on board sooner than later. Whether it be scheduling, estimating, bookkeeping or simply communication, the options are becoming endless when it comes to software programs available.

Again… It’s not going to happen overnight, and you need to expect that it will take some time to implement fully. But once you have everyone on board, and everyone slowly starts to get used to paperless, you’ll be better off.

Another suggestion is to look for opportunities as to the ideal time for switching over.

For example, if your business is at a year-end and you carry an inventory, starting the new year off on a cloud-based system may be the way to go.

In the last couple of years, many businesses have found themselves with their employees working remotely, and though it hasn’t been ideal, it has presented an opportunity for businesses to transition over.

Make sure that you keep your bookkeeper or accountant involved. They may have tips as to which programs are best suited to your business.

Need help from an expert?

Figuring out which software program is right for your business can seem like a daunting task. Let one of our experts at Valley Business Centre help. For over 30 years, Valley Business Centre has been providing comprehensive bookkeeping, payroll, and tax services to our clients in Whistler, Squamish, the Sea to Sky Corridor, and metro Vancouver B.C. areas. Valley Business Centre provides reliable and effective services to all clients.

Disclaimer

This article is written for informational purposes only. It is current at the date of posting and changes to laws and regulations may result in the information becoming outdated. It is not intended to provide legal, tax, or financial advice. It is recommended that readers get advice from a tax professional before making any final decisions.

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