Update: This article was last updated on 26th June 2019 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.

Across the world, the accounting industry is known to consume a large chunk of papers. It is because accountants have to deal with accounting data of their clients, create reports, file taxes, etc., all of which involves the use of paper.

In the contemporary world, one can easily hear the waves of ‘Go Green’ movement spreading amongst the masses. Not just individuals, but diverse businesses are coming forward to do their bit in saving the environment by going paperless. They want to reduce the usage of paper for various operations.

The best part – they want to benefit themselves alongside as well.

A Practical Guide to Paperless Accounting

Another advantage of going paperless is that they can avoid piling of paper within their office premises, which makes the place look cluttered and messy.

Indeed, maintaining the accounting data on paper-based documents for years is not the right move. Doing this usually results in several challenges, along with inefficiency and lack of productivity at work.

With the recent advancements happening in the field of technology, CPAs and accounting firms are adopting ways to improve work efficiency and productivity. They are doing this to ensure that the minimum quantity of paper gets used within their offices.

Whether it is about wastage of food, money or paper, no one likes to waste things unnecessarily. If you, as a CPA or an accounting firm owner, feels that the use of paper at your workplace should be minimized, here is a practical guide you can follow to switch to paperless accounting –

Start with Using Accounting Software to Manage Bills

An accounting business can’t run without financial transactions, which don’t go without bills for legitimate operations. Hence, of all the accounting papers, bills make the biggest contribution.

One of the possible ways to reduce the use of paper in your accounting firm is to make use of advanced accounting software. They can help you keep track of bills for as long as you want them to. You can even create e-bills by using the software and send it to your clients for payment processing. Not just that, you will have all the records of paid bills, pending bills, etc. saved inside the software.

It minimizes the need to have a separate paper-based bill for each of your clients kept saved within your office.

To be precise, accounting software makes the work of accounting professionals easier to some extent, and that too, with minimum paper usage.

Promote Emails Among Vendors, Customers, Partners, and Staff

In the processes of handling the accounting data, the paper gets used in a variety of ways. You need payroll slips for the hired staff, printed invoices for the customers, payment receipts for vendors, etc.

To save paper and ultimately, save the environment, you can start sending all these types of document in an electronic format over emails, and not physical copies.

Making this transition from paper-based accounting to email-based accounting won’t be a tough task for you.

Not only will it save paper, but also the time and cost of transporting the document to a specific destination.

Since email services offer delivery reports and ensure end-to-end security, the documents you send over emails will be saved electronically over the web. So, you won’t need a cupboard or a case to keep the important documents within your work premises.

You should not stop at sending important documents through emails to save paper. Interact with the mail recipients and tell them to do the same as well.

Use Cloud Technology to Save Accounting Data

One can argue that when using the accounting software, the data gets stored on the local device and not on paper-based documents. Then why cloud storage is needed at all?

Well, you can save the accounting data in the local computers in digital formats. But you cannot access the saved data when you are not in the office.

It often happens that accountants need to access the work-related data outside their working hours to work upon specific urgent tasks. Leaving the tasks to the next day at work may cause troubles.

But with the help of cloud accounting solutions, you can access the stored data on the cloud anytime and from anywhere on any internet-connected device using secure login access.

It ensures that the accounting files you worked on at your office workstation can be accessed remotely on the go.

Moreover, multiple users can collaborate and work on the same file with the cloud-hosted accounting software.

Cloud technology does not just imply “work from home” but “work from anywhere.” It helps in saving the paper as you do not need to create multiple physical copies of the same documents when you need to work remotely. You can work on the same digital data file saved on the cloud without the need to get it printed multiple times.

Go for e-filing of Taxes

Filing taxes via papers are not in trend anymore. In 2014, 91% of the taxes were filed digitally, and the number has only grown since then. If you are still relying on the paper filing, you are not doing your part to step ahead of your competitors in the accounting industry.

E-filing has several advantages over the paper filing.

It saves paper and saves time.  You can file taxes from anywhere digitally. Even the risk of human errors gets minimized when the taxes are filed electronically.

Conclusion

Being a part of the accounting industry in which a lot of paper gets used and wasted, you should do your bit to save paper and save the environment. You can follow the above-mentioned ways to make it come true.

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