Could You Go Completely Paperless?
For years I’ve been toying with the idea of going paperless. When I started my business three years ago, I fell in love with the idea and simplicity of a virtual business. Being an organizer at heart, I saved and organized everything. My filing cabinet was neat. My folders were labeled. I even had a system for filing the massive amounts of paper I received and held on to. I should have taken a clue when major companies were switching and even offering discounts for switching to paperless bills and receipts.
When you look at the piles of paper you’ve stored for years, going paperless feels daunting. But I put it on my 2019 Goals list and as we are in Q4, I thought I’d a better look into what it would take to finally go paperless. The benefits of a paperless business go beyond environmental implications. For me, going paperless meant one step toward streamlining my business. It meant that in my virtual world, I could access my information anywhere and anytime. As I am building a team, going paperless and the need to share certain documents is very efficient.
Tools for Success
I knew in order to be successful for going paperless, I had to have some tools in my arsenal. After doing a little research, I invested in the scanning system Neat ®. Neat ® simplifies accounting and bookkeeping by accurately capturing, categorizing, and syncing financial data to accounting software. In addition to helping me organize all my receipts, I was also able to take all of my paper, statements, vital documents and scan them. Now, what makes Neat ® unique is all of the integrations that I was able to utilize. Which leads me to the second tool needed for my paperless office success. I store all my business files in Dropbox. The Neat ® software connects with my Dropbox account which allowed me to easily scan any document, label it and store it into the Dropbox folder of my choice.
As with anything in business, you need a system. Having a paperless office is no different. Here are my tips for a paperless system:
I have 2 wire baskets one for shredding and the other for scanning. You could also use stackable letter trays depending on the volume of paper you receive. I personally love the Poppin brand for its minimal and colorful products. Now my kiddos are a little older (14), so if they ever want to make some extra money, they are always the first ones to jump in and help with my paperless system. Here is my system for keeping a paperless office:
- Open mail next to the trash or recycle bin
- Sort mail in 4 piles: Recycle, Toss, Shred, and Scan
- File mail into appropriate bins
- Once a week: Scan everything that you think could eventually be important. Scan to PDF.
- Once a week: Make sure every digitized file is named or tagged correctly
- Once a week: Once items have been scanned, move to the shred bin
- Once a month: Shred everything in the shred bin – this may need to be done more often depending on the volume of paper you receive.
- Once a week: Move all digital invoices/statements into the To File bin in Dropbox
- Create a To File folder in your Dropbox or Google Drive account.
- Create an individual folder for items you want to store.
- Sort all unsorted files into their appropriate folders
- Opt for digital versions of any invoices and statements you receive.
When I had all my ducks in a row and my system down, it actually only took me less than one weekend to fully go paperless. Now, I decided only to start with the current year, so my paper volume was pretty low. I also had some help from the kids scanning and shredding. Join me next week for my workshop, I’m giving you a sneak peek into my Dropbox system. Register for my Steal my Dropbox workshop. I will be restructuring one of my client’s Dropbox account and create a system for her.