Paper is a large, but often overlooked, business expense. As a small business owner, you can take steps to reduce paper in the workplace. By reducing your company’s paper use, you could end up saving time and money on business tasks.
Paperless office tips
Thinking about going paperless in the office? Try these seven tips for creating a paperless workplace.
1. Online banking
Chances are, you keep your company earnings in a business bank account. But, are you taking advantage of online banking? Switching to digital banking offers conveniences that could save you time and money.
With online banking, you have 24-hour access to up-to-date bank records. You don’t have to wait for the bank to open or stand in a line to find out your account balance. You have instant access to your bank statement and account details.
You can make payments via the internet with online banking. You don’t need to write and mail checks to vendors and suppliers. And, there’s no need to wait on hold for an over-the-phone payment option.
Usually, you can sign up for online banking through your current bank. Just ask your bank for instructions on how to setup your online banking ID, or take a look at the bank’s website for directions.
2. Digital collaboration tools
Communication is key for a successful team. Make it easy for employees to work together by implementing digital collaboration tools.
Online collaboration tools help you and your team complete tasks on the internet. You can share documents, spreadsheets, and projects, among other information. Your employees can also share digital contact information by using contact management tools.
Some collaboration tools are free or low cost. These kinds of applications reduce the amount of paper your employees print, saving you money.
3. Tax e-filing
As a small business owner, you have to pay taxes. How you handle tax obligations can cost you more or less, depending on the method you use. You can file taxes electronically, which could be a big time saver.
To file federal taxes online, sign up for the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). EFTPS is a free service provided by the U.S. Department of the Treasury that allows you to pay all federal taxes online, including income, self-employment, and sales taxes.
To get an EFTPS account, you need your taxpayer identification number, bank account and routing numbers, and name and address. The system will walk you through a step-by-step process for filing federal taxes. By using EFTPS, you avoid the need for expensive tax filing services and paper tax forms.
4. Electronic document storage
It’s not a good idea to just keep one copy of important business documents. The document could get damaged, and the information on it could be lost. But, having backup documents doesn’t mean you need to make a ton of paper copies.
Cloud storage gives you access to your documents from anywhere with an internet connection. And, the cloud protects documents in case your computer crashes or paper copies are destroyed.
According to Statistic Brain, the average document in an office is copied about 10 times. With online cloud sharing apps, employees don’t need to print paper every time they want to share information.
5. Bookkeeping software
You need to keep track of all your company’s transactions. If you’re using paper to make records, you might be losing money in more ways than one.
Doing your small business accounting by hand requires a lot of paper. The time you spend recording business transactions is also a cost.
Bookkeeping on paper leaves your records susceptible to errors. Mistakes in your books can lead to poor business decisions and issues on your tax return.
Consider switching to paperless accounting with online software. With basic cloud accounting software, you just enter your income and expenses. Accounting software organizes your records and computes totals for you, reducing the time it takes to do your accounting.
6. Paperless invoices
Many small businesses collect payments by invoicing. Mailing out paper invoices is not the most effective way to bill customers. You spend a lot of time writing, printing, and sending invoices on paper. And, you spend money on the paper, envelopes, and postage.
When converting to a paperless office, use an electronic invoicing system. You can email invoices to customers or use software with an invoicing feature.
When you send paperless invoices, you can use a template so that you don’t have to start each bill from scratch. Customers receive invoices instantly, unlike if you were to mail a paper invoice.
7. Workplace habits
Creating a paperless office will require you to make some changes, but it could be worth the effort. The Statistic Brain data reported that of office paper printed, 45 percent ends up in the trash by the end of the day. That means 45 percent of the money you spend on paper goes in the garbage.
A paperless workplace doesn’t mean you need to completely overhaul your operations. A few adjustments to your processes could save you money on overhead expenses.
Simple changes to the environment can make a huge impact, such as switching to cloud sharing applications and documenting paperwork online. Set up recycle bins and encourage employees to get involved in the paperless efforts. By setting a goal to reduce paper in the workplace, you can save time and money on document management.
Amanda Cameron is a content writer for Patriot Software, a provider of SaaS accounting and payroll software. At Patriot, she explains difficult small business payroll, accounting, and recruiting strategy topics.