Would going paperless make your life simpler and easier? We understand it's not for everyone but if you've been craving order and simplicity and you think it could worth a try, honestly, what's stopping you? Go for it and don’t overthink it!
When you decide to go from paper to paperless invoicing, you can greatly reduce the amount of paper your business uses. You can use bookkeeping software that allows you to send digital invoices to your customers.
You can also create a template that automatically fills with the relevant data from your financial software. This allows you to reduce manual tasks of having to enter individual information on an invoice. Also, it saves on printing costs because if the boss suddenly decides to rebrand - wink wink, nudge nudge at my boss - you can do it all digitally, saving a lot of heartache (saves forking out for 1,000 more letter headed paper too). Ever been there? We love being paperless. Of course there are a few physical documents and files that are needed in the office, but for the most part, we like to do our bit for the environment and save money while we're at it. Going digital is easy enough and once done, we can see the benefits quickly.
The key is not to let the paper start to creep back in. We'll return to this topic another day.
You might ask, what are the benefits?
We have started with 8, but I'm sure we could add more...
Speed up payments – Your team can send invoices automatically, which saves time and resources on sending out paper ones and it can quicken the turnaround time for payments. It's all down to preference. You could buy a sheet of 50 x 1st Class Stamps for £47.50 (in case you're wondering, a sheet of 50 x 2nd Class Stamps costs £52.50), 50 x White DL Envelopes set you back around £1.25 (depending on where you buy them), toner or ink cartridges for approx. £20-£25 (depending on printer model/brand), 10 x Ballpoint Pens cost £0.75 OR you could buy approx. 16 Lattes for that same price OR you could talk to us about the price of a Quickbooks Online Plus subscription with us (Pssst, that's your time plus our current price of £27.65 incl. VAT per month!!!!!!!!). We'd be happy to get you up and running.
Automate reminders – This can update your customers about the time on manual reminder calls because they will have sent them automatically. I understand the concern about automation feeling a bit impersonal, there's a lot to be said for the personal touch, isn't there? Unfortunately though, with the cost of living rising and time being precious for many families, the balancing act is a constant work in progress and this is something you may actually find really helpful, in balancing out time and energy on other things.
File documents in the cloud – All your documents are conveniently stored in a cloud, so if there is a reliable internet connection, you can access them whenever you need to. There are many options, for many budgets. It also reduces the risk of lost paperwork and makes it easier to search for documents/invoices/contracts/scanned receipts and more. This is also environmentally friendly and could save you and the planet in one fell swoop!
Easier to archive and find receipts - Index/rename your receipts and invoices as you create/save them, so you can find them easily later on. When you're ready to do your own books or send your paperwork (receipts, invoices, etc.) to your accountant, it's much easier to drag them all over to a new e-mail or share a digital folder than finding all the old archive boxes/envelopes full of messy paperwork and feeling embarrassed when you mail them or drive over to your accountant's office. (I personally don't mind this as oddly enough, I like sorting out paperwork, I like to return things prettier than I received them, but again, we charge for the work we do so here's a savings tip: Keeping your paperwork simple and organized could save you time and money. Have categories ready and file away from the start. Saves any anxiety or panic later.)
You can quickly share documents with your team - Easily retrieval. Again, have you ever looked for a document and you just can't locate it in that pile of paperwork you "filed" in an archive box last month? A few clicks and you find your document because you had named it and saved it in a particular folder (this filing topic is for another blog, keep an eye out for it as it's coming soon).
Marketing opportunities - Ever thought of Business Advertising, Digital Marketing, Emailing Offers and Catalogues, Business News via Newsletters? Social Media, Website, Online Advertising? There are so many ways we can stand out and be noticed. Be yourself, let your personality come out in your marketing. This can endear you to the kind of clients you wish to deal with.
Improves revenue - The more paper you buy/keep, the more shelf/office space you need for your business. The staff you need to take on to manage this inventory (when was the last time you ordered an ink cartridge or a box of 5 reams of paper for your nearest printer?). A box of 5 reams of A4 paper used to cost approx. £20 just 2 years ago, that cost would now be approx. £33. That's an increase of 65% (eyes watering here). Recently, I've been reading about the impact of the energy crisis on the paper production chain. Manufacturers are losing money, not making profit, therefore having to close their doors. Who knows for how long. Going paperless sounds more appealing now, doesn't it? The systems you need to put and KEEP in place in order to cope with the increase in paperwork - these can be simplified, made easier for you and your employees. They don't have to be complicated. Your company can save on energy costs, stationery costs including paper and ink costs, storage costs and even postage, as mentioned earlier! Win win!
Security and data recovery costs – Securing your data is easy and inexpensive, but recovering it is even easier. It will have no impact on your business. Have you ever experienced an office flooding? I have. No one needs to do that mad dash to rescue important files and paperwork stored in the basement/downstairs office. Speaking of filing, another blog on that later too.
The thought of converting to paperless may seem overwhelming and daunting, you may have put it off for ages, thinking "there's just too much to do" but it can be so beneficial when you have completed it. The longer you leave it, the harder it may be for you and your team to change habits and embrace the "search" functions. So here are some steps to help:
Create a plan – Work out a timeline for the transition from paper to paperless. You can involve your team by discussing the process and the workflow in creating paperless strategies.
"Be sure to talk to the right people in your business, the ones who touch and deal with the paperwork on a daily basis. Many employers forget to include those of us on the admin front line."
Please try to avoid implementing changes that make no sense to those who may suffer the consequences later.
Put your best foot forward, meet with those who work with the paperwork you wish to eliminate, so together, you can work as a team and find the best solution. Coming from experience, you can saving your time and money by doing it this way.
Select software – Do your research. The quality of your invoicing will greatly depend on the software you choose. You should customise the software settings, workflows to code invoices and route them for approval. Talk to other companies in a similar field to you, discuss pro's and cons to software.
Digitize paperwork – You should also digitize current paperwork. You could assign a team member to manage the data entries for any outstanding invoices. This will help at the end of the tax year, trust me. Makes sure you don't miss anything when the time comes to do your tax return.
Prioritize digital systems – In going forward with using cloud-based communication, avoid slipping back into your old ways. You may need to help your customers and even colleagues get used to the new invoicing system and that's okay. You can all do this together. You've made a great decision going paperless, so do your very best to keep up your new routine with it. It takes practice. It will get easier and you may even find some nifty shortcuts.
Take photos of your receipts – Take a photo of the product or receipt and store them in the same file name. Create digital folders specifically for manuals, contracts, big purchases like printers, canteen appliances, office supplies, telephone/internet/energy bills, etc. Hopefully you get the idea. It makes it much easier to find if you keep this routine. You can say goodbye to those days where you're knee deep in a filing cabinet, searching for the warranty for your canteen refrigerator you bought 11 months ago... Likewise, any meeting minutes/notes typed up can be saved easily too. Be specific enough so you recognize what you are looking for, e.g. searching for "Power Hour with Jess, MPAS UK 07.09.2022" in the folder called "Meeting Notes" is much easier to locate than "Meeting 07.09.2022" and not knowing where to start looking.
Use E-signatures/digital signatures for contracts and transactions – There are many programmes you can use or simply use PDF documents; you can cover your signature or add customized digital marker.
Transitioning to paperless meeting – You can use digital tools like google slides or PowerPoint. You can also share your computer screen on video conferencing tools. Encourage your team to make notes on their devices and share them via email or cloud. I used to think I was quick at notetaking (I'm not too bad, always wanted to learn shorthand but never got to do it... Anyway, if you've ever had the privilege of meeting me online and we're in a business meeting, you'll often see me taking the minutes). Can't believe I'm admitting to this, but I often forget that I touch type (because I've had the skill 20 years and it's just part of me). Recently, I switched over to typing up the minutes during the meetings and boy, does it save me so much time and hassle! Yes, I'm one of those typing ninjas who doesn't look at the keys!
Use a scanner to convert paper documents – Creating PDFs of documents, receipts and web pages allows you to store them on your computer and open them easily. Again, please index/name them accurately so it makes retrieval easy in the future. You may not remember what "WhatsApp1238323431.jpg" is, but you might find that your search for "MPAS UK invoice 87654, 07.09.2022".
If this blog resonates with you, please reach out and let us know. Is there something here that will help you in the future?
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