Going paperless

Five tools for creating a paper-free office

By Keshia McEntire

While technology has all but rendered phonebooks and paper maps antiques, the usage of paper products has actually increased 126% in the past 20 years. According to the Paperlessproject.com, Americans consume more paper per capita than anyone else on earth. With the goal of benefiting both our environment and our pocketbooks, many companies are starting to “go paperless” by moving all documentation, files and records into a digital format. These five products will help you get in on the game.

Start with a document scanner

Digitizing company files is often the biggest and most time-consuming part of the process of going paperless, but after that initial investment your files will be accessible anywhere and can never be lost or damaged. Some document scanning software, such as Neat and Readiris Pro, can interact with Outlook and similar programs to maintain document layout.

Collaborate with Google Drive

Before you print out that PowerPoint presentation or put a copy of your company’s newsletter in each employee’s mailbox, consider using Google Drive.  From creating spreadsheets and presentations to giving feedback on a co-worker’s presentation, Google drive makes collaboration easy. Drive offers 15 GB of free Google storage for photos, stories, designs, drawings, recordings and videos. The files can be reached from any smartphone, tablet or computer, and any individual with a Google account may view, download and interact with the documents. Drive syncs to the cloud so everyone’s always accessing the most up-to-date content.

Make use of E-Signature tools

When sending official documents electronically, you don’t have to print, sign and scan. Utilize E-signature tools to add a personal touch. With some e-signature tools, there’s an option to use pen and paper to create your signature and then snap a picture of it to upload for future use. Adobe Reader, Adobe Acrobat, Hightail and Preview are all examples of software that includes include e-signature tools.

Bank Online

Making use of an online bank account will not only reduce paper at your company, it will allow you to pay bills and transfer funds without the restrictions of needing to check in at a brick-and-mortar bank. Many banks also offer special services for business accounts. 

Streamline bookkeeping online

Managing records is a task for all businesses, but it is especially burdensome for small business owners who don’t have assigned staff members keeping your books. Online bookkeeping services, such as Bookkeeper.com or Bench, provide cost-effective services for all of your bookkeeping, tax and payroll needs. I