Practical Technology

Scrap the paper: The benefits of going paperless in the office

Scrap the paper: The benefits of going paperless in the office

With e-Conveyancing moving the settlement process online, your office can now go paperless. But where do you start?

The reasons to move your office paperwork online are compelling: you’ll free up office space, find documents quickly and be able to easily share them with colleagues and clients. After going paperless in the office, you’ll save time on filing, your records will be protected from fire, flood or theft and – best of all – your office becomes fully portable.
 
Streamline your accounting

Hate doing the bookkeeping and producing financial reports? Ditch the paper and spreadsheets in favour of a digital accounting package that will automate those tedious chores.
 
Most accounting software imports your bank statements, so data input becomes almost negligible. Since banks charge fees for paper statements, you might also save money. Likewise, apps such as Expensify allow you to record expense receipts and upload them – no more hunting in drawers or your car for slips of paper.
 
Online systems like QuickBooks Online and Xero automatically update tax rates and hold your data on secure cloud-based servers, reducing the need for backup. At the end of the year, your accountant can seamlessly access the records for preparing reports and tax returns.
 
File it in the cloud
 
The ‘cloud’ may sound nebulous, but it's actually just another secure computer, accessible through the internet. It’s basically an alternative to having a physical hard drive or server in your office, but using the cloud means you'll be able to access your business files from anywhere – at home, on a train or overseas – using a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
 
Reputable cloud servers offer secure storage, encrypting the data before uploading it and while it’s stored. They will also upload only the changes you make to a file, rather than the entire file, so they don’t chew through your bandwidth.
 
Share your documents
 
Sharing large documents with colleagues or clients becomes quick and easy if you use secure and reputable online services such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
 
The process is simple: you upload a document then ‘invite’ the relevant people to read or edit it. It’s instantaneous and only the people you authorise will be able to access it. Your files and documents can be organised in password-protected folders for easy retrieval.
 
With Google Drive, for example, you can see when others are looking at the file, and even chat with them in the same window – so any queries or problems can be dealt with immediately.
 
Sign here, digitally
 
Having clients sign contracts no longer requires posting reams of paper with sticky notes or being in the same room as them. Electronic and digital signature technologies make it possible to transmit signed documents online, and both are valid ways of executing agreements.
 
Digital signatures, however, are more secure and easily verifiable since they contain a specific code that links them to the signer.
 
Go green: it benefits everyone
 
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for 99.7% of all businesses in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A study by the federal Department of Environment and Energy found SMEs are major contributors towards the 6.5 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste nationally going to landfill every year. According to Planet Ark, paper makes up the largest proportion of solid waste generated by offices. Although Australians recycle about 68% of the paper they use, there are thousands of tonnes of paper being used for filing purposes only. When digital options are available, this is simply unnecessary. 
 
By getting rid of the need for reams of paper files in your office, you’ll benefit the whole planet. You'll reduce not just the amount of paper that is produced then consumed, but also the number of ink cartridges that would otherwise end up in landfill.  
 
Technology makes a paperless conveyancing office a practical reality. Even better, you’ll benefit the environment and your important ‘paperwork’ won’t end up sitting on someone else’s desk for days – you’ll know where it is and can work on it when and where you please.

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