Taking steps to running a paperless office

By Chad Brubaker, CEO, www.emochila.com

For many accountant professionals the idea of running a paperless office is actually a "paper tiger." The belief is that too many aspects of the profession are based on "paper and pencil" techniques, and therefore, there are many accountants unwilling to make many changes in this arena. While understandable indeed, the basic ideas behind this concept are to lower costs, reduce the amount of clutter caused by papers, envelopes, and files, and generally streamline office efficiency. Here are some ideas that can get you started in helping to make your office life a little less cluttered and more organized.

A good place to start is investing in a scanner rather than a copy machine. This way, you can start to upload your incoming bills and documents into your computer system instead of continuously storing them in your file cabinet. Aside from the obvious cost and space savings of not having to purchase physical cabinets, when these documents are digitalized, they are much more readily available to your clients.  If you think about it logically, the time it takes to scan a document is basically the same time it takes to copy it anyhow!

Another fantastic contributor to the fight against unnecessary paper use is obtaining a Web site. Choose a provider that specializes in offering accounting features to help organize your practice. Some of the functions of the Web site can allow you to upload and transfer client files through the site. This eliminates the need for faxing papers or having to make many copies for record keeping. Your site provider might also offer an online storage system for archiving documents for you and your client.

You can also incorporate an online billing method to help cut back costs with mailing and to ensure payments are made on time.  People have also used their Web site to replace physical brochures and flyers.

It might seem difficult to believe all the benefits surrounding a "paperless office" truly related to the simple task of reducing paper. When you start to sift through all the layers of a functioning accounting office, you can begin to realize the payoffs: No more rummaging through piles of paper, less time spent looking for bills or client documents, no more buying unnecessary amounts of office supplies, and a much cleaner and efficient office atmosphere.