Sustainability & Economic Development Specialist
Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce
As the new year approaches and you’re busy setting personal goals for the new year, why not set goals for your business as well? I personally just went through the process of getting rid of my paper-related problems by scanning everything away. The time you spent training yourself to go paperless will be worth it when you’re able to access all your files at any time (and especially when it comes time to file for taxes). Here are a suggestions I’ve found on going paperless:
1. Say it with me: Backup. Backup. Backup. Ensure multiple backups by having a physical external hard drive as well as taking advantage of an online cloud system. Not only will you reduce your paper waste, you’ll be able to access your documents remotely from your smartphone.
2. Download all your monthly statements from banks, etc. as far back as you can access and file them in the folders you created. Save everything in PDF format. Going forward, make it a habit to download and file statements electronically.
3. Scan everything on your desk. Short-term things can go into a digital “Delete by” folder labeled by year. For bulky items that won’t fit through the feeder, snap a photo with your phone.
4. After scanning, shred sensitive documents. If you don’t have one of your own, check our city’s website to see when the next free document shredding/recycling day is.
5. Rally your team. If you don’t get everyone on board, you’ll end up maintaining redundant paper-based and electronic systems.
6. Be mindful of regulation. If you store sensitive client data, security should be your top priority.
7. Get electronic receipts for office supply purchases. Take advantage of online ordering and have your receipt emailed to you – it’s one less piece of paper to keep track of.
8. Store business card info online. Take advantage of mobile apps such as CardMunch that converts business cards into LinkedIn contacts.
9. Document signing: digitalized. Echosign is a product that works with file formats including PDFs, Word, Excel, and others. Clients receive a “click to sign” link and they’re done in just a few minutes.
10. Use cloud accounting software. Many of these systems work with your smartphone’s camera so you’re only a photograph away from updating your books. You’ll be thanking yourself come tax time.
These solutions will hopefully not just save you time and money, but can be used as a marketing tool to advertise your sustainability efforts. Not to mention, now you can focus on making money rather than chasing paper. What tools have helped you and your business? Share your thoughts and strategies in the comment below. I’ll be writing regular posts on how to save your business time and money through sustainable practices. For more tips, follow me on Twitter @greenwaytips.