How to go paperless as a small business

It’s no secret that businesses are adopting more sustainable solutions to operate their business, especially when it comes to using the wonders of digital technologies within the workplace.

There’s never been a better time than now for your business to take the plunge and go paperless. From clouds to e-signatures, our guide is a handpicked selection of easy tips and action items that any business can start doing in their workplace.

1. Get your head in the cloud

When it comes to cloud-based technologies there’s an endless array of programs to choose from to suit your business and its needs, and no we’re not talking about a weather app! Cloud-based technologies are online programs created for storing and accessing data and programs over the internet, replacing the need to save them on your computer hard-drive.

Cloud-based applications make the process of sharing files with your employees and clients a seamless process, eliminating the need for hard-copy printed versions or worrying about files being in a compatible format. The instant nature of the internet means communication times are faster than ever, improving processing times for businesses and the capacity for employees to work remotely.

Time to say goodbye to snail mail and fax machines folks.

Some of the most popular cloud-based applications used by businesses include:

  • Dropbox: a sharing and storage solution for business with free and paid plans available to suit businesses and their cloud storage requirements
  • G Suite: the G Suite is Google’s business version of Google Drive. It allows businesses to connect, control, access and create through suite cloud-based programs like shared calendars and spreadsheets that allow for real-time comments among approved users.

2. Don’t give a sheet

For your next meeting why not bring a laptop or use the whiteboard instead of a notebook? Capturing your brainstorming ideas from the board is easy, just take a photo with your smartphone and share it among your team. With a little help from cloud-based programs, meetings can be made paperless. Presentations can be done via slide shows and supporting handout documents emailed to the participants.

3. A system you can bank on

Banking is an essential part of being a business and it’s a task that can easily be transformed into a paperless one. Instead of printing off bills, receipts and statements choose to do your banking online.

Most financial institutions offer the ability to set up reminders for bills that can be all paid online, saving you time and the hassle of having to queue up at the branch and fill out forms.

Important financial statements and documents can also be exported, saved and integrated, to yes, you guessed it, cloud-based applications.

4. Paperless proof of purchases

If your business provides receipts to customers, this is another area of the business that can easily become paperless by introducing digital receipts. Not only will it help cut paper and printing costs, but digital receipts will last longer too. Sending and storing them digitally means they won’t fade, get misplaced or accidentally encounter a tumble through the washing machine

5. A sign of the times

Gone are the traditional days of pen to paper signatures! More businesses are opting for a digital method with programs like DocuSign that allow for documents like contracts to be securely signed for online with an e-signature.

This online process helps cut down the time involved with posting out documents and waiting for them to be signed and returned. This technology allows businesses to track when the documents are accessed using advanced security measures, restricting who can access the documents. It can be integrated with cloud-based programs like DropBox, G Suite etc.

6. Starting the paperless journey

Like most things involving change, the path to going paperless can be a tricky one. Make a start by researching what applications and processes will help your business to become paperless. It’s important to always keep your employees, clients and suppliers in the loop by communicating any changes that may impact the way you do business with them.

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