(08) 9071 2173
(hint - promote remote work and go paperless)
It’s been a long, wet Winter this year. Esperance farmers have had a great start to the grain growing season and it looks to be a bumper crop this year. Those of us who love sunshine, however, many of us are celebrating the first week of Spring with its promise of sunshine and warmth in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future.
Naturally, as the weather beings to warm up, we start feeling more motivated and energetic. This makes Spring a great time of year to consider how efficient your business processes are. Currently, the ability to work remotely is more important than it’s ever been. While going paperless was perhaps a fleeting consideration in the past, for most businesses it’s suddenly a vital consideration.
The concept of a ‘paperless business’ has been thrown around for almost two decades now, yet more paper is being produced than ever before.
We understand why it’s difficult to transition to a completely paper-free office - it’s something we’ve wrangled with ourselves with fleeting levels of success. However, the past year has taught us how important it is to be able to access our business information from anywhere and share it with others who may also be working remotely.
If your business has relied on paper for a long time, it’s normal to feel as though you have a ‘long way to go’ before you can transition to paperless. There are three important and very valid reasons for this belief:
This literally means ‘the ability to grasp something’. Haptic perception is how we interact with the world around us. Moving beyond the need to touch and feel a piece of paper involves a significant mind shift, but it’s not impossible. The more you practice accessing information digitally, the more normal it begins to feel.
Until recently, some government regulations and legal processes required hardcopy storage of documents and ‘wet signatures’ on paperwork. Luckily, technology surrounding data security and unique identifiers for e-signatures has come in leaps and bounds over the past few years, and the rules are starting to change. In fact, the ATO now recommends businesses store their records digitally rather than in hardcopy.
Have you ever met someone who feels the need to print all the family photos, "In case they get deleted"? Cloud technology means digital document storage is, (if stored correctly), safer and more secure in most instances than physical storage. If the idea of cloud technology baffles you, we recommend engaging an IT firm to assist with moving your business securely into the cloud.
The way we work has changed significantly in the past year and a half. It’s now absolutely vital to be able to access your business information from anywhere, and at any time.
If all of your business information is stored in the cloud, you’ll be able to quickly access the information you need and easily share it, with your recipient receiving this information instantly. You can collaborate with your employees in real-time, and track changes within a single shared file. Finally, it enables us (your accountants) and financial institutions to receive information instantly, meaning important business decisions can be made, and loans approved, faster.
A paperless office reduces clutter. It’s a simple concept, and one that will free up both physical space in your office, and mental space. An uncluttered workspace will help you to focus and think clearly.
While the cost of paper alone may not add up to much, the costs of printers, ink and toner, postage costs, filing accessories and physical storage quickly accumulates. Add on to this the labour costs involved in accessing files, scanning, saving and sending information and it becomes clear how inefficient a paperwork-based office really is.
Most small businesses are keen to make sustainability a part of their brand identity and there’s a good reason for this. Consumers are increasingly demanding that the businesses they support are taking action to reduce their impact on the planet, (and be accountable in doing so).
It’s much easier to recover from an unexpected crisis when your information is secure and digitally stored. Obviously, a disaster in a physical business location (such as a flood or fire) is easier to recover from if a business’s information is digital. A more common scenario at present, unexpected events such as COVID-19, demonstrate why being able to work remotely is so important.
Moving your business from a 'moving paperwork' approach to a paperless environment requires careful planning and a streamlined approach.
Assess what’s currently being printed. If you have a lot of employees, or if you’re an office-based business, there is print audit software you can use to track where your printing is coming from.
Talk to us about automating your accounting, workflow and project management. Ideally, you’ll use cloud-based applications to:
Ensure all staff are on board with the move to a paperless office. Overcome anxiety or resistance to change by ensuring you provide extensive training in new software and familiarity with new workflow practices. Make sure everyone is involved in open and honest communication and any problems are addressed before they impact morale or your business operations.
A good way to incentivise your staff (and yourself!), is by updating the technology in your business. Consider larger monitors and dual-monitor set-ups, ensure your internet is fast and reliable, and invest in technology to assist you in going paper-free. Smartphones and tablets make it easier to work digitally, as a lot of cloud-based apps work more efficiently in app form, rather than on a desktop computer.
Going paperless is more important now than it ever has been. If you remain dependent on printing, paperwork and physical file storage in your business, your business is at risk of being left behind, regardless of your product or service offerings. Consumers are more and more demanding of businesses who adopt digital practices and social responsibility. Employees are expecting flexibility in the ability to conduct some of their work from home.
Moving your business into the cloud and going paper free will make your business more efficient, and it will provide you with the space and ability to move forwards and grow. It’s a no-brainer really. It’s time to start that business Spring clean today.
If you enjoyed this article, please scroll up and share this article using the buttons on the left.
Do you have any questions? Fill in the form below and we'll be in contact.