These days, buzzwords like ‘go green’ or ‘save the environment’ are quite popular across the globe. One can easily get to know about nation-wide movements and individual efforts aimed at saving the environment. One way to take a step forward in this regard is to minimize the use of paper.
It has been found that around twenty-four trees are cut to produce one ton of printing paper. Compare it with the total paper requirement in the United States of 85,000,000 tons as per paper-recycling facts, and you can guess the count of trees being cut.
Indeed, saving the environment is the responsibility of all of us. Especially accounting firms, which use a good quantity of paper every day, should take smaller steps towards minimizing the use of paper in the office.
If you own an accounting firm or work in one as a CPA, you would agree to the fact that the use of paper from your office can’t be eliminated. Still, it is possible to reduce the quantity of paper getting used, to some extent.
“Once you get paper out of the processes, you can begin to take advantage of the benefits of digital processes in the cloud.” – Doug Sleeter
By ‘going green’ as much as possible, you will be not only able to save paper, but also your hard-earned money. Similarly, there are many other benefits your accounting firm can get by going paperless, as detailed below –
1. Saves Your Precious Time
If you haven’t yet tried minimizing the use of paper in your accounting firm, you must be receiving a good number of mails from your clients. These mails can be related to your client’s queries regarding the handling of financial data, payment invoicing, etc.
At your end, you need to, first, sort the stacks of all mails you receive, which is a time-consuming task. Then you must decide what to do with the sorted mails – throw them away, shred them, or keep them safe in files for later use.
However, by reducing the number of mails you receive in the first place, you can take a step towards minimizing the use of paper in your firm. You can choose not to receive paper copies of certain important documents such as bills, invoices, bank statements, etc., but their electronic copies only via emails.
Physical copies of mails can be intercepted before they reach their destinations or even get misplaced. Even this can be avoided when you choose emails over the traditional mails.
2. Declutter Your Office Place
Do you feel that your office place looks cluttered with mails and other paper-based materials?
If yes, you must have thought of ways to keep it clean and clutter-free all the time, instead of just opting for spring cleaning once in a year.
Having paper files scattered on the desks is not loved by anyone. One way to eliminate the chaos that happens because of paper files is to go paperless.
When you choose digital files instead of physical ones, you can expect your office place to look less cluttered. Plus, digital files do not take up physical space as a paper file does. They get saved inside your computer.
So, if you generally feel distracted at work on seeing your cabin cluttered with files and papers, going paperless will definitely give you peace of mind.
3. Keeps Important Files Readily Accessible
If yours is a big firm, you can’t rely upon writing everything in a document and then saving it for future use.
Let’s say you have written the invoice dates for each of your clients in separate documents and kept them safe in files somewhere in your office.
Two main problems can happen with this form of bookkeeping –
- Lose the files, and you will lose the details of when to generate invoices to your clients. Simply put, it means loss of money.
- Whenever one of your clients would ask you about his/her date of invoicing, you will first have to search hard for files and then the required information in them. If the list of clients is long enough and you have put them all in multiple files, the task of finding the required details becomes even more complicated.
If you want to avoid facing any of these problems, now is the right time to use paperless filing systems. For instance, you can choose cloud technology to store your business-related data in a centralized location.
Moreover, when saved on the cloud, you do not need to worry about your data’s security. The cloud service provider will take care of it all at his end. Most of the cloud solution providers invest in implementing security measures such as firewalls, multi-factor authentication, Intrusion Detection, etc. to protect their client’s data.
Plus, the data and applications can be accessed from anywhere and at any time.
With the use of paperless accounting technology, you get to save a lot of time and have access to your data at your fingertips.
4. Make Team Collaboration Easier
As a part of your daily tasks when at work, CPAs and accounting firm owners need to interact with their team members and share knowledge with each other.
If you haven’t yet started to go paperless, you must be doing that using notecards, paper invites for meetings, etc.
Doing it all on paper is, indeed, a tough task. Transferring knowledge becomes difficult when everything is to be done on paper.
But the same is not true when you start using digital, advanced tools to improve workplace collaboration. These tools not only help you save paper, but they also make it easier to share knowledge and spread information amongst your teams.
Whether it is just about sharing documents, files or folders or sharing insights related to the work-related processes, digital tools make it easier to handle it all.
As a result, you can expect improved work productivity and team collaboration.
5. Saves Money
Yes, it is truthful enough to say that going paperless saves money along with protecting the environment that we all take care about.
Understand it with this example –
You offer your accounting services to a client, for which you send him an invoice in the form of a mail. But if you switch to paperless accounting and start sharing invoices digitally, you save money that you would otherwise spend on buying paper, envelopes and paying for postage.
Similarly, you will save the cost of buying ink, printers, and similar other expenses.
Alongside, the invoicing process can also be completed in lesser time. This increases the chances that you will get paid for your services on time.
For such needs, you can start using the software in which you can create and handle invoices and get them hosted on the cloud.
Most of the accounting firms have already made the transition to go green and do their bit in saving the environment. Alongside, they have gained several other benefits too as defined above.
Of course, not every firm can go completely paperless. However, you can do your part in minimizing the use of paper within your accounting firm and feel the difference.
With time, you will certainly feel proud to be called a ‘paperless accounting firm’.