If you’re a small business owner, you probably don’t pay much attention to the amount of paper you use every day—you’ve got a lot on your mind! But if you stop and think about it, there’s a lot of paper that goes into running a business. From printing receipts to creating pay-stubs, the amount of paper you use each day can really add up.
While using paper may seem like an inevitable aspect of running a small business, there is an alternative. With the advent of cloud computing and digital apps, it is easier than ever to go completely paper-free. With everything from time-tracking apps to payroll software, today’s business owners will find that when it comes to day-to-day operations, there truly is “an app for that.”
Why Go Paperless?
Before you throw all of your papers in the recycling bin, consider why you might want to go paperless in the first place. Sure, the environmental impact is an important factor, but there are also a number of benefits for your business.
For one, storing all of your important documents in one digital location can save you a significant amount of time when it comes to searching for and retrieving what you need. Not to mention, digital storage is far safer and more secure than paper in the event of a disaster.
Beyond saving you time and energy, one of the biggest benefits of going paperless is the impact on the bottom line. Not only does eliminating paper save you money on printing, postage, and associated costs, but you may even save money on rent if you have fewer files to store. As one study found, it costs an organization an average of $20 to file a document, another $120 to find a misplaced document, and $220 to reproduce a lost document—that adds up to a lot of money just to keep some
paper files on hand.
Indeed, while there may be some upfront costs associated with going paper-free, in the long-term, Capgemini Consulting has found that digital companies are 50% more profitable, generate 13% more revenue, and are valued 19% higher than their paper-loving industry peers. In other words, it pays to be paper-free if you’re running a business.
Apps to Help You Go Paperless
It’s easy to see why going paperless can be a smart business move, but making the switch is a little bit more complicated. To help you figure out how to go from filing cabinets to completely paperless, we’ve outlined some of the best apps to help small businesses go paper-free for good.
1. For Accounting
If you’re still using paper spreadsheets to keep track of your accounting, its time to put the pen down. With cloud accounting software systems like QuickBooks Online (QBO), small businesses can track income and expenses, and manage accounts receivable and accounts payable, all on one platform. These advanced features help to make the accounting process faster, easier, and more accurate.
Another benefit to using a cloud-based program like QBO is that the information can be accessed anywhere, at any time (as long as you have Internet access). This means you no longer have to lug a box of paperwork over to your accountant or bookkeeper’s office—you simply grant them access to your QBO account.
2. For Time-Tracking
Paper timesheets can be another major source of office clutter and can be overwhelming to sort through when you need to find something specific. TSheets is one app that makes it easy to track employee time and mileage statements estimates without using a single sheet of paper.
TSheets enables employees to use their smartphones to track the number of hours they’ve worked. By using an app instead of paper, employees can easily keep track of their hours and there’s never a fear of any records getting lost. TSheets also uses smartphone-supplied, GPS location points for employee routing, accountability, and mileage, which can be approved by the employer.
3. For Business Payments
Though you may not be writing many cheques in your personal life, cheques are a big part of being a business owner. The best way to escape the seemingly endless cheque-writing is to use an app like Plooto.
Plooto is an online payment solution for businesses. The app allows you to pay your vendors and collect money from clients with nothing more than an email. These features make it easy to manage your accounts receivable and accounts payable without the need to write or collect any physical cheques. The app even handles international transfers and CRA tax remittances, thereby taking care of all the administrative paperwork that comes along with business payments.
4. For Receipts
You probably have an envelope or a shoebox lurking somewhere in your office that’s brimming over with receipts. Now imagine getting rid of that shoebox completely. With Receipt Bank, you can actually fulfill that dream of kissing your receipt-filled shoebox goodbye.
Receipt Bank uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to analyze your receipts and other scanned documents, such as bills and statements, for useable data. To use the app, you simply snap a photo of your receipt with your smartphone and Receipt Bank will then scan and extract the information—like magic! All your receipts are then categorized and stored in one secure place, allowing you to throw away your paper copies and save hours sorting through physical files. Just imagine being able to pull up an important receipt from five years ago in less than 30 seconds!
5. For Payroll
If you’re still doing payroll by hand, you’re constantly printing out payroll reports, picking up cheques for employees, and even mailing pay stubs. However, when you use a cloud payroll app like Knit, all that paperwork disappears.
Knit is a cloud-based payroll software that completely automates the payroll process. Hours worked are recorded directly in the app, employees are paid through electronic payments, and digital pay stubs are sent out each payday. In other words, the entire payroll process has been digitized, so there’s no need for physical spreadsheets, printed paystubs, or paper cheques. While this may seem like a minor way to cut back on your paper use, studies estimate that 32,600 trees will be saved by the use of direct deposit alone.
While there are many more apps that can help you escape the burden of business paperwork, these QBO-compatible programs will help you take the first step in making your small business a little more green. To get started, contact the accounting experts at Counttech CPA.