Paperless offices are a growing trend across many industries. At its core, this means that a company is moving away from traditional paper filing, storage and sharing, while instead embracing digital technology and mobile devices.
Any financial plan could benefit from a paperless office. Many small businesses spend a large sum each month on obtaining documents, as well as printing and other storage costs. Owners who embrace the new trend may see expenses drop rather quickly.
Why a paperless business could make sense
Paperless offices are a smart choice for several reasons. Primarily, cutting back on printing, information storage and sharing should reduce costs and increase efficiency. These positives could be felt throughout a small business.
Instead of stacks of paper covering each and every desk, a small business could opt for digital versions of all those documents, according to BusinessNewsDaily. There are a number of digital solutions available, at little to no cost for users, which can help facilitate the switch.
These software products make the changes easier to undertake, which might mean they are sound financial tips for any small business. Products can capture documents from nearly anywhere, and a business can scan, email, fax or text important information instead of printing it out and carrying it to the destination.
Additionally, going paperless will allow a small business to operate from anywhere. For instance, mobile banking is a great way to stay connected on the go, and crucial files can be shared electronically. Now, signatures can be filled out via software. That means small business owners and employees don't have to travel in order to sign – which saves time, gas and money.
"A great benefit for paperless offices is that electronic documents can be found virtually from anywhere," Cathy Sexton, a productivity strategist and coach, told the news source. "So if you have a VPN or somebody who works from home, they can access documents too."
Paperless offices generally take advantage of cloud computing, where documents are stored in a private, online database and can be shared with any number of users on multiple devices. A financial plan could be bolstered if printing and storage costs are reduced in favor of more tech-friendly trends.
Tips for a small business to go paperless
Thanks to new technology, devices and software being released on a regular basis, small business owners have a wealth of methods to head toward a more paperless office.
This trend can be a positive for consumers as well, some of whom might view the company as "green" or "cutting-edge," according to Forbes. That means becoming paperless might save money and be a public relations boost.
For starters, a firm can convert all internal documents to digital, the news source noted. Files can be passed from one employee to another without heading over to the printer. That equals less ink and paper – savings that could add up big in the long run. Paperless solutions such as Google Docs – which is free – are a great way for any small business owner to begin.
Moreover, business banking could improve with online bill payments. These strategies will save employees time mailing checks, organizing finances and scheduling payments. Instead, the Internet is a great tool to streamline the process while reducing paperwork at the same time. A majority of banks and other financial services are willing to provide paperless options, like online statements.
Data sharing and storage is also an ideal method for a small business to capitalize on the paperless trend, Forbes reported. Large documents can be shared online through solutions like Dropbox. On this site, users can build folders and send files from one person to another.
Overall, paperless offices are gaining popularity across multiple industries. A small business can benefit greatly – saving money and time – by making a few simple switches, and monthly income could soon start going up.