When you run a business, you are probably looking for every possible way to streamline operations, cut costs, and save precious time. Have you tried moving toward a paperless business? The benefits of going paperless in the office could surprise you.
Benefits Of Going Paperless In The Office
The benefits of a paperless business go beyond environmental implications. Here are some reasons you might pursue paperless office solutions.
1. Reduce The Influx Of Mail
Sorting through stacks of mail might not take hours out of your day, but it’s nonetheless time-consuming. And when you’re done sorting through your mail, you have to either throw it away, shred it, or file it.
Wouldn’t you rather reduce the amount of mail you get in the first place?
You can opt out of receiving paper copies of important documents like bank statements, bills, and even invoices. Instead, you can ask to receive statements via email or through an online account.
Reducing the amount of mail you receive also adds another layer of security. You don’t need to worry about mail being intercepted or misplacing important documents.
2. Clean Up Clutter
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I don’t think anyone likes clutter. That’s why we have spring cleaning, right? When you go paperless, you can alleviate some of the disorganization and chaos that come with paper files.
Digital files take up less room than having filing cabinets stretch across your office space. And once you eliminate some of the space devoted to paper records, you might find yourself more able to access information.
3. Have Access To Everything At Your Fingertips
“When’s my invoice due?” your customer asks. If you need to look through shoe boxes full of crumpled up documents to find the answer, it might be time to use a paperless filing system.
With paperless business systems, you don’t need to sort through mountains of paperwork to find documents. If you use a cloud-based filing system, you can access data from any device with an internet connection. For example, if you use online accounting software, you can update your books any time you want, from any location you want.
Paperless systems can make pulling up customer information faster and more accessible. And, you can send tailored email campaigns to customers instead of mailing out promotions.
When you bank online, you aren’t limited by bank hours. You have 24/7 access to your accounts, giving you the freedom to view account balances and pay bills at any time you need. This also saves you time because you don’t need to call in every time you need to verify funds.
4. Transfer Knowledge Among Employees
Sharing knowledge among your staff is a key part of having a successful business. But when everything is scribbled out on notecards, transferring knowledge can be difficult.
Using digital collaboration tools not only reduces paper in the office, but they can make it easier to share knowledge and circulate information. This can improve teamwork, encourage innovation, and prevent knowledge hoarding.
Online tools let employees share documents, folders, and projects using an efficient system. Employees can collaborate in the cloud instead of waiting for co-workers to hand them paper files.
5. Receive Customer Payments Faster
If you extend credit to customers, you’re going to need to invoice them at one point or another. Instead of sending paper invoices, you can switch to electronic invoices, saving you money on paper, envelopes, and postage. Aside from the cost savings of supplies, there is also the chance you could expedite payment.
When you send an email invoice, your customer will likely receive it immediately, which could speed up how soon they pay. If you use software that lets you create and track invoices, you can handle unpaid invoices more efficiently by sending out follow-up requests for payment, when appropriate.
Keep in mind that invoicing online might not work for every customer. Some customers prefer to receive physical invoices. You should have an option that allows customers to opt out of electronic invoicing if they prefer.
6. Streamline Business Owner Responsibilities
Withholding and remitting taxes is a task no business owner can escape. Regardless of your business structure, you owe taxes to the government. And if you have employees, you will owe even more taxes.
To simplify your tax paying responsibilities, you can register with the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Using EFTPS is free, and it streamlines your tax payments. And, you can easily access your payment history.
Look for digital alternatives to other business owner responsibilities. For example, you can apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) online instead of filing a paper Form SS-4. When you file online and are approved, the IRS immediately provides your EIN. But when you fax or mail Form SS-4, you won’t receive your EIN for days or weeks.