Finance & Accounting Articles

How to Reduce Office Paper Usage and Cost With 5 Simple Steps

by Kevin Moore
Published on 15 July 2011

If you have an office, chances are you see paper all the time; on your desk, in your filing cabinet, and even in your car. We know all this paper is a hassle to organize and maintain. By cutting down on the amount of paper you use, you can save cost, time, and a lot of trees.

Here are 5 simple ways to convert your document filing system to a paperless one. Step 1 - First of all, before you go scanning every document in your office, think of using an efficient and straightforward electronic organizational system. Come up with a system to efficiently archive and organize your files so that they are easily searchable.

Implement these simple rules; use clear and comprehensible names for your files, utilize folders and subfolders, limit your folder size, and use a software that enables advanced search capabilities for titles and file content. In planning your system, consider the document format you'll be using (editable word file or image) and make sure to have a backup in place, just in case anything happens to your files. Have a look at the software Scansnap to scan and convert your document to PDF files and Evernote to store and archive your digital documents.

Step 2 -If you deal with invoices, you can transition to digital invoices. Replace your ancient snail-mail paper invoice with a digital version to send to your clients. You can keep money coming in and speed up the process with digital invoices. Customers can use their PayPal accounts, credit cards, debit cards, and e-checks to pay online. There are many invoicing software options, you can use Outright for this as it can simplify your transactions and increase your profits. Freshbooks or Zoho Invoice are other good tools for invoicing.

Step 3 - When receiving faxes, you can forward them to your e-mail and wipe out waste by using internet fax services. Using the fax number given to you by this service, any documents you receive will be e-mailed straight to you and you can send an e-mail that the receiving company will get on their fax machine. Efax and MaxEmail are both good internet fax service providers, with eFax being the only provider that can provide local fax numbers in up to 46 countries.

Step 4 - You can also eliminate paper contracts and substitute them with e-contracts. The upside is you'll save time, paper, and postage costs. Digital contracts are just as legally binding as paper contracts thanks to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act. To ensure that your e-contracts follow the required standards, you can use RightSignature. Research e-signatures and the law to ensure you understand everything. Consulting a lawyer is a good idea if you have any questions.

Step 5 - Your phone can come in handy by using apps that can snap pictures of receipts or other important documents and store them. Cloud storage is really helpful because you can access it from any computer, anywhere, as long as you have internet. You can use DocScanner or ScannerPro. These apps can be synced with online backup and archival storage services such as Evernote and Dropbox. If you want a free alternative, check out Genius Scan.