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Paperless doesn’t have to be science fiction, you can turn your office into one of those futuristic, minimalist spaces with very little effort and cost. And there really isn’t any reason not to do so: going paperless is Economical, Environmentally friendly and Efficient.

a)    Economical
According to www. reduce.org, an office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year – which will add up to almost half a million sheets during an average working life.

You might think that this figure only applies to large corporations and you don’t use anywhere near that much paper. Perhaps you even print on both sides and feel virtuous! But have you ever thought about the hidden costs of using paper? That only makes it an excellent reason to go paperless:
–    You will save staff time, yours or your employees’, whether printing, copying or filing
–    No printing means no printer and no ink so you will be saving money
–    You will save office space once you don’t need to store stationery

b)    Environmentally friendly
From production to disposal, the life cycle of paper consumes valuable resources. Producing a single sheet of A4 paper, for example, uses the equivalent of a typical soda can worth of water, i.e. about 150 litres for one 500-page ream of A4 paper.

In addition, paper needlessly creates greenhouse gases: it takes 1.25 acres of forest and an entire year to absorb the greenhouse gases produced by 400 reams of paper. A compelling statistic.

Then, there is fuel consumption as trucks transport paper from factories to wholesale storage units, stationery stores and offices, then later as paper waste is collected for recycling, and last the recycling itself.

All in all, it is calculated that using paper costs an astonishing 13 to 31 times more than its purchase price.

c)    Efficient
Switching to a paperless office will greatly increase your efficiency.

Searching for and retrieving information is done in a matter of seconds; sales people can go to meetings with the confidence of knowing that they will be prepared for all eventualities as they will have access to absolutely everything they may need stored either on a portable device or on the Cloud; and from a legal and accounting point of view, you can decrease risk by making sure that all information that can be requested by the IRD is archived safely for the required 7 years, with no danger of being “tidied” and destroyed by mistake .

How to become a paperless office
The first step in successfully switching to a paperless office is a mindset change. You must aspire to a clutter-free environment. From here, implementation depends on the size of your business and its nature.

Unless you are a one-man (or woman) band, planning how you will transition, testing it and implementing new procedures gradually can save you a lot of headaches down the line. It also gives you the opportunity to involve your staff who will be more committed to carry your plan through if they are engaged early on.

Once you have selected an area you want to make paperless, research which tools can help you do so. Traditionally, expenses and invoice management are area that generate a lot of paperwork so starting there could be a good idea, but start small, for example a couple of clients, to make sure that all bugs have been fixed before you roll it out to the whole department.

There are many cloud-based accounting applications available, such as Xero, which is what we use. It is user friendly, and once you are used to it, you will wonder how you ever lived without it!

You shouldn’t need to keep receipts and invoices from then on, but it is important to have an electronic back-up system in place, so you will need to check that your existing computer hardware is capable of handling extra files and applications.

Sales departments will benefit from storing presentations, product sheets and sales material on the cloud for instant access on the go, and Google Drive provides an efficient solution for free.

If you need official documents signed, use an electronic signature package such as Adobe echo or Docusign, which are recognised worldwide.

Now, there is only one problem with going paperless: what on earth are you going to do with yourself now that you don’t need to print documents, file them or look for them? Here are a few crazy ideas: go on holiday, spend time with your friends and family, go out!

If you are looking for accountants in Auckland who embrace the paperless lifestyle and provide outstanding services, refer to our Contact page to request a meeting.