The concept of the ‘paperless office’ has been around for years. It’s a lofty ideal – a greener, more environmentally friendly way of doing business by minimising paper waste and cutting down on consumption. But actually achieving the truly paperless office has been fraught with difficulties along the way, including an unhealthy dose of apathy from office managers and workers.
However, modern technology has moved on since the idea was first proposed, and today there is plenty of tech available to help you go if not completely paperless, then at least a fair way along the path towards greener, less consumptive working practices. Now, there’s no excuse – it’s time to go paperless. Here are our top five tips that will cut down on the paper and make your business greener.
#1 – Card processing
Customers have become used to paying online, so why not ensure that you cut down on paper receipts by offering electronic mobile card processing facilities? Applications like the innovative Intuit Pay payment solutions mean that both in ‘real life’ and for virtual transactions, receipts can be generated electronically, cutting down on the amount of paper used. It also allows customers to pay instantly, making the transaction easier for everyone. In-person payments can be done using a chip and PIN, smart phone and a secure app, whilst online transactions can be done from a PC or mobile device like a tablet.
#2 – Email
Snail mail is dead, long live the email! But still there are those who insist on printing out emails. Is that print-out really necessary? Or could you work just as well by using an up to date operating system that can display your emails alongside any other work you may be doing at the time? In this particular example the technology already exists; it’s the attitude that needs to change.
#3 – Cloud computing
The concept of central servers that act as storage devices has been around for decades. But it’s the ‘cloud’ that has become the latest step forward in the evolution of the Internet. The cloud allows you to access stored data from anywhere and at any time, without being tethered to your office PC, for example. It also means that data such as invoicing can be accessed by anyone with permission, so you don’t need to send paper printouts of the monthly figures to your accountant – he or she can simply log on to the cloud and access them electronically.
#4 – Electronic invoicing
In the digital age, there is no reason why you should be sending out paper invoices to your customers, unless they don’t have an email account! Switching over to electronic invoicing not only cuts down on the amount of paper generated, but also allows you to integrate your invoicing with other electronic systems such as your accounting package.
#5 – Scanning it in
If you have a lot of archived paper records then a good way of reducing that pile of files is to scan them in and store the data electronically. Combine it with cloud computing and it means that your archives are accessible from anywhere in the world, and because they’re being stored on remote servers you don’t have to invest in your own electronic storage systems or clog up your hard-drives with data. A scanner is the ideal way to transfer all of your paper records over to electronic files, also making your filing system more efficient.
A greener approach to how we do business is essential if we are to make the most of the finite resources this planet has to offer. Going paperless also improves your own green ‘credentials’, making you a more attractive partner to do business with!