Paper Overload? Steps to Transition to a Paperless Office for your Financial Records
Computers were meant to cut down on paper but it seems we feel some sense of security by having piles of paper around or can it just be hard to break those old habits of printing everything.
Can a paperless office be in your future? Yes it can and here are a few steps that can help get you on your way.
1. Switch to online bill pay and receiving paperless billing statements. Using your bank's online bill pay, you can process your vendor bills online - which will also save on postage costs as well as check stock. What is great about online bill pay, you can schedule your bills in advance, which is a huge time saver, and by scheduling your payments it will save you those late fee penalties. You can also take it one step further and set up automatic payment directly from your checking account through your vendors.
2. Download your monthly bank and credit card statements. At the end of the year, burn the statements onto a CD and file with your tax returns. While you are downloading those statements each month, you can email your virtual bookkeeper the statements for reconciling your accounts.
3. Client invoices. Instead of printing and mailing invoices - pdf and email them. Also in QuickBooks did you know you could email your invoices directly to the client? When creating the invoice in QuickBooks, check mark at the bottom email invoice. Once you are completed with the invoice, go to File - Send Forms, you can edit your message and then click Send. For organizing these invoices, set up monthly folders on your computer and save your client invoices in the respective monthly folder. At the end of the year, burn to a CD and file with your tax returns.
4. Purchase a good shredder. For sensitive files containing credit card information, bank account numbers, old vendor invoices with account information or old client project files - safely toss in the shredder. If you have a scanner, you can scan these files and toss and/or shred the paper copies. Remember though if you are saving these files to your computer to be sure to back up your computer.
5. Stop unwanted junk mail. Register with Contact DirectMail.com to be removed from receiving junk mail.
6. Business receipts. Travel receipts, credit card receipts or vendor invoices received in the mail can be scanned and stored in your monthly financial folder set up on your computer. If you do not have a scanner, NeatReceipts is a mobile scanner and digital filing system. You can scan receipts, business cards, and also documents. The software included with the scanner identifies and extracts the important information from the receipts and automatically organizes it for you.
If you institute just a few of these steps, you will soon gain control of your paper overload plus gain some valuable desk and drawer space.