An easy (not to mention environmentally friendly) way to save money at work is to go paperless. To start your transition to a paper-free workplace, begin by informing the office about your initiative. When everyone is aware of the goal, consolidate the printing process to one or two centralized, high-speed, printers. This will make it more difficult to print, combating those print-happy individuals who use desk printers with blatant disregard. If you absolutely must print, always utilize duplex printing – a common feature that lets you print on both sides of the page.
When creating a paper-free office environment, know that the cloud and digitalization are your friends. With phone apps such as CamCard, WorldCard Mobile, TurboScan, and Scanner Pro, virtually every document, from business cards to customer letters, can be scanned, organized, and stored on the cloud – freeing up space and diminishing clutter. Use PDFescape to convert all your files to PDF format, making them easier to catalogue and store. There are even services out there (such as Efax) that will email incoming faxes directly into your inbox, releasing you from the dreaded clutches of the outdated faxing system.
Another handy piece of software is called ABBYY FineReader. This optical character recognition software takes physical images and turns them into editable Word, Excel, or PDF files. According to their website, ABBYY is powered by intelligent algorithms to preserve the layout, formatting, and aesthetics of the original document.
Other platforms such as Google Docs, Evernote, Trello, and online Wikis are excellent ways to share files and collaborate online. They can be retrieved in any location with internet access and edited only by those with authorization. You can even see past versions of documents to identify what has been changed and by whom.
It also pays to offer electronic invoicing (e-invoicing), which requires no paper, ink, mailers, or postage. Purchase orders, credit/debit notes, payment terms/instructions, and remittance slips are some of the may transaction documents that can be done online. Software from companies like Tipalti, Zoho Invoice, and MoneyPenny can make e-invoicing as simple as a few keystrokes and a mouse click.
Even contractual agreements can be prepared and completed digitally. Thanks to the federal ESIGN Act passed in 2000, electronically signed contracts are as legally binding as their pen-and-paper counterparts. The law states that a contract or signature “may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form”.