Many people now realise that using paper is a concern, particularly when discussing climate change. With a need to reduce the thousands of sheets of paper a typical worker uses every year, many businesses are embracing technology to help them go paperless. Going paperless reduces a business’s carbon footprint, but it also saves time and money while boosting productivity. Let’s explore different ways you can use technology in your business to reduce your demand for and use of paper.
Sign and Send Documents Electronically
Business leaders and employees sign thousands of documents every year. In the digital age, there is no need for these to be physical copies because numerous digital signage solutions can help with this.
It is now possible to send documents for review and signatures without leaving your computer. The best part is that the solutions that make this possible integrate with tools you likely already use, such as Google Workspace.
Apart from paper, you also save money on printing costs, and you do not have to think about creating separate storage solutions for all the documents you scan, sign and have to save.
Digitise Your Financial Transactions
As you embrace technology in your business, remember to digitise your accounts department too. Like signing documents, businesses now have access to an array of software and technological solutions that make digitising financial transactions possible and easy.
Businesses no longer need to create and send checks or paper invoices, which has the added benefit of helping them avoid the errors that stem from that process. With all invoices and transactions in one place, it is much easier to manage them or find the exact ones you need when you do.
Also, this level of organisation can be very helpful when filing your tax returns. Some of these solutions also come with free tax evaluations to help when tax season rolls around, but those that do are often more expensive than those that do not.
Another benefit of digitising your accounts department is getting paid faster. Every electronic invoice you send can include payment information and options clients can use to send payments easily and quickly. You can also send email reminders if invoices are due and you are not sure if your clients have seen them.
Embrace Cloud-based and Digital Document Storage
In addition to being expensive, paper and filing cabinets take up a lot of space. This option is also inefficient when retrieving specific documents. Recent research shows employees can spend up to a few hours every month storing, retrieving, and managing different documents.
The first major and obvious benefit of cloud-based storage is that it saves you space. Since the servers are hosted elsewhere, you get extra real estate for a new employee or kitchen. If you do not want to expand like this, you can always leverage cloud storage to reduce your office space, which can reduce your expenses significantly.
Second of all, cloud-based and digital document storage makes documents accessible to your employees regardless of where they are in the world. With remote and hybrid work arrangements remaining popular in numerous companies, the level of collaboration this opens up is always welcome.
Employees can also store files in the formats they work with the most to save time on retrieval. For example, converting the templates they work most with from PDF to Word and storing them like that means they always have a template to work with so they can get started and complete their tasks faster. With an online PDF to Word conversion tool such as SmallPDF‘s conversion tool that does not require additional resources from the business, creating repositories of templates employees use the most in the preferred formats is possible.
Businesses that embrace this system should also ensure a robust IT department and server security. Although the cloud hosting provider will ensure this, it is always best to have your safeguards in place to protect yourself. Numerous high-profile data breaches in the recent past show that this is the best thing to do for your business.
Make Your Meetings Paperless
Paperless meetings are becoming more common as the technology for holding them becomes widespread. In the modern age, there is no need for printing materials like slides or presentations. Instead, those hosting the meeting or presenting can create the documents they need on their computer or using online tools. They can then connect their computers to a projector or screen and use that instead.
If they need to share data or information, they can send a PDF file to the attendees instead of printing documents for each. Doing this saves time and money and ensures everyone has a copy they can reference later. If they have the right cloud software available, they can also place the files in a central repository and have attendees access that instead of sending individual copies.
Embrace Online Marketing
Traditional marketing is not dead, but many businesses have ditched it and turned to digital marketing. This decision is often the best because online platforms and websites are becoming the best way to reach potential customers. The reason is that the number of hours the average user spends online is increasing. Targeting these people allows a business to increase exposure, boost conversions and attract new customers or users. All of this is possible without using paper at any point.
If you think there will be a drop-off in reach or revenue by going completely digital, you can also embrace paid ads. Although your spend will increase, you don’t have to keep it that high forever as you can halt online ads once you hit your marketing goals.
Send Digital Receipts
People have long preferred paper receipts for their purchases. In the age where digital receipts have become the norm for online transactions, you can also transition your business to digital receipts. You can tell your customers about the benefits of going paperless, such as having a digital record of all their purchases for easier record keeping. If you mainly deal with other businesses, you could also explain such records could be very useful when filing their taxes.
If you have decided to forego paper receipts, create folders within your email program or account to store receipts in their respective folders according to the categories you set up. It might require an hour or two of your time every month organising everything, but the headache and time this saves you will be worth it. When the time comes, you can forward everything in neatly organised files to an accountant or upload them to management software.
Change How You Purchase and Use Office Supplies
Paper products like coffee cups are incredibly wasteful because you can once. They are just one of the many paper products you can eliminate from your business. As you do this, source recycled, durable, high-quality, and reusable materials to reduce your impact on the environment. You can also set policies to ease your employees into this transition. However, take your time and do not force them into anything because that will only make it harder for you to complete the transition.
Going paperless is an excellent decision for businesses concerned about the environment and their carbon footprint. The transition does not have to be difficult because numerous tools and solutions are available to help with it. Businesses might also need to train their employees on using new software and systems, but the change will be beneficial for everyone involved.