3 Simple Steps To Go Paperless
In spite of the move toward living digitally, Americans still use over 69 million tons of paper each year. Everyone nowadays seems to be reading everything online, and yet more than 2 billion books are printed each year, along with 24 billion newspapers, and 350 million magazines. Only about half the available waste paper is recycled each year, leaving the other half to end up in local dumps and waterways.
Of course, much of this wasted paper originates from commercial enterprises, such as offices, publishers, schools, colleges, and manufacturing.
Do you want to cut back on paper usage? Reducing waste isn’t the only reason to do so.
Why Should You Go Paperless?
Reducing your paper waste isn’t just about being environmentally friendly. While that’s certainly a noble cause, it’s not the only reason to do so.
Going paperless provides a number of other benefits:
- 59% of businesses going paperless achieved full ROI in less than 12 months; 84% achieved payback in less than 18 months.
- Going paperless can improve staff productivity by nearly 30%.
- Printing accounts for 10% of IT-related energy use – this can be eliminated by going paperless.
See? There plenty of reasons to go paperless. Now you just have to know how…
3 Steps To Going Paperless
1. Don’t Try To Go Paperless All At Once
Some businesses make the mistake of trying to eliminate all paper usage in one move – don’t bother trying. You may be able to eliminate all your paper, but doing so at such a scale will undoubtedly lead to continuity errors. You’ll eliminate a document without scanning it, or something similar will happen, and you’ll be left without a crucial record.
Instead, start small and pick one paper-based process to start with. Something like…
- Monthly employee cell phone bills
- Monthly office Internet bills
- Monthly office snack receipts These are some of the easiest ways to start the process. More often than not, these services offer a “paperless billing” feature, so all you have to do is opt-in, and get in the habit of accessing your documentation in a digital setting.
2. Choose The Right Software
On a small scale, you can start the process of going paperless with a number of free and readily available software tools. For example, your smartphone camera is a great tool for immediately digitizing receipts and other paper records you’re given multiple times a day.
However, once you scale up, you’ll likely need to invest in a premium software to assist with the process. For example, Hubdoc can assist by auto-fetching financial documents from over 700 banks, utilities, and telecom providers. It can then take those documents, extract the key data, and publish to cloud accounting software of your choice (QuickBooks, Xero, etc.).
When selecting your software, ask the following questions:
- Does this software fulfill or improve upon an existing process?
- Does it integrate with the other software you use?
- Is it well-reviewed?
- Does it fit your business’ size?
3. Promote Business-Wide Change
While you may have adopted the move to paperless in stride, your team has to as well. In order to migrate your entire staff over to the paperless process, again, start small. Involve 1-3 team members in the process, examine how well it works, review, seek feedback, and eventually, implement on a larger scale.
Build your way up to having these processes adopted by the entire organization. As always, don’t rush or scale too quickly.
It can really be that simple. The key here is to scale and move intentionally, without rushing any step or taking on more than you can handle. Remember, it’s better for the process of going paperless to take longer, than it is for it to be rushed and inevitably fail.
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