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Want a Paperless Office? You Need These 6 Solutions

By Katie Simpson on June 27, 2014
Tags: Productivity, Paperless Business News

Become a paperless office with these 6 solutions

Photo credit: quinn.anya via photopin cc

8 Way to Convert to a Paper-Free Office

Maybe you’re just tired of the piles of paper on your desk. Or, you could have realized making your office paperless allows you to communicate more quickly and benefits your bottom line. Maybe you've heard of a few paperless office software options but don't know where to start. 

So how do you get to the paperless office? How do you stay there? We’ve rounded up some of the best paperless office solutions to help you get started.

1. Get rid of paperwork and paper-based documents. Scan them!

To start, we need to take the various paper documents and turn them into digital documents for improved document management. This process has many benefits. Electronic documents and digital files are safer from coffee spills, can't get accidentally torn, and won't get destroyed in a fire or flood. 

And those ugly filing cabinets? You don’t need those anymore now that your forms and documents are stored digitally. Instead of spending 20 minutes looking for a paper file, electronic documents can be found with a quick search. More than taking back your office space you can also lower your overhead costs. Each filing cabinet could be costing your company up to $2,000 a year!

Investing in a scanner can cost a fraction of that filing cabinet. There are some great and inexpensive scanners on the market today, like the Doxie One. This small scanner is portable, and incredibly easy to set up. With AAA batteries, you don’t need to worry about carrying (or tripping) over the power cord. This a great option for smaller businesses that won’t break your bank account.

If you’re a larger business or going to be scanning hundreds or thousands of documents a week, you’re going to want something more powerful than the Doxie. You’ll want to take a look at the ScanSnap. While a far larger scanner, this Fujitsu can scan 25 sheets double sided in a minute. If you’re going to have a lot of documents to scan, this is your best bet.

Scanning your documents and filing them electronically is a great first step not only for getting rid of office paper but also for figuring out your organizational system. How will you want to file your documents? What information do you want to keep?

Deciding how you want to organize and manage your new digital documents can help you create an easy system for you to find and organize for the future.

2. Dump your legal pad with digital note-taking apps and software

Having a paperless office requires more than just scanning all your docs and forms for better document management. You need to stop using paper in the first place.

But if you have a memory like mine, you need to write notes down. From your grocery list, to what you need to get done that day, it’s the only way to ensure that all the important details get finished. But piles of scraps of paper and post it notes? They're a mess and easy to lose.

You can avoid paper from the beginning, and keep your thoughts more organized with note-taking apps. One of the most popular apps in this category is Evernote. You can organize notebooks of digital notes, tasks, and can sync all your devices. Whether you use a laptop or an Android phone, you can have all your notes and thoughts wherever you go, without scrambling for a pen or pencil.

Did I mention that it was free too? There’s a premium version with larger storage and fuller functionality. But even the free version of this powerful tool will help you stay organized and connected to all your thoughts, no matter where you go.

3. Online Collaboration Solutions and File-Sharing Services

You're getting more experienced with paperless office solutions, but you're still just getting started. Beyond getting organized personally, have you thought about solutions for collaborating with others? You don’t need to print five copies of a document for a meeting or to collaborate in the office. If you have a Gmail account, you can share documents on Google Drive (you can also store your scanned documents here).

While Google Docs’ functionality is limited compared to the full Microsoft office set, this can be a great start when at the brainstorming or organizing stage of a project. Even better? Two people can edit the same document at the same time. Some other services can let you share documents, but don’t give you that.

If you want a fuller project software, Intellinote can be a great resource instead. With Intellinote you can share notes and documents, assign tasks and much more. However you work, this app can allow you to communicate and have more successful team projects no matter where your team members are.

There are a wide variety of collaboration tools to help your team stay organized. You’ll see less paper and more productive work.

4. Electronic Signatures

Need to get an approval for a project or a customer’s signature? Hold the paper! While once a printout was necessary, there are paperless software options to help you skip the paper. If you make a lot of PDFs, Adobe Reader now lets you sign inside a PDF document on touch screen devices.

Are you trying to get signatures for delivery confirmations or waivers? What about getting sign off on work that has been agreed to or completed? There are mobile paperless solutions, like GoCanvas, that allow you to capture a signature inside the paperless form. Paperless, digital and mobile waiver apps and forms are way better than paper. You save trees and get those signatures back in real time.

Faster and less paper? Totally possible.

5. Take Payments Digitally and Pay Online

Once accountants loved paper. The more receipts and documents to work with, the easier and better able they were to track the company’s income and costs. Today though? Those paper forms require redundant work, and are harder to track. Did that invoice come via email or by mail? With texts, emails, faxes, and mail, paper is becoming more of a nightmare than a help.

Accounting departments are ditching paper with a variety of tools. One way they ensure less paper is in digital payments. Taking payment digitally with services like PayPal Here and Square allows your business to skip the madness of paper receipts. Plus, customers love getting receipts in their inbox. Easier to organize, and harder to lose than the crumpled mess that they usually get in a store.

On the back end, many banks today also offer paperless statements. With less types of documents to work with, it’s easy to track and understand your finances. You can also rest easy: going paperless financially means you’ll have fewer documents with your account information.

Going paperless will allow your accountants to get more work done in less time. Plus, you can have a better understanding your financial health in real time.

6. Collect business information digitally with mobile forms on smartphones and tablets

All of these tools are great, but don’t tackle one of the fundamental reasons for paper in the office—forms. For over a hundred years, we’ve collected information on forms: inventories, inspections, work orders, and more. For a while this was the only way to get information from the field to your office.

Today, you can capture all the same information and more with smartphones and tablets. With a service like GoCanvas, companies of all kinds are not only using paperless workflows for their business processes, but also saving thousands of hours. Whether you prefer Android tablets or an iPhone, a paperless office solution like GoCanvas enables you to ditch the paper and enjoy real time information.

All forms filled out with GoCanvas go straight to the cloud. Instead of waiting hours or days for an inspection or work order fom to return to your office, you can access it as soon as it’s finished. The benefits?

If you’re filling out paper forms to gather information, going with a mobile app service like GoCanvas can help you ditch paper and boost your productivity. What has taken you hours or days can now happen in minutes. With streamlined processes you can free your employees to do more critical tasks every week. Since GoCanvas is cloud-based, you can get up and running quickly and experience a rapid ROI. You don't need any expensive, complicated paperless software

Going paperless isn’t just good for the environment: it’s the way businesses are becoming more competitive. Paperless alternatives can lower your overhead costs, streamline your processes, and give you better access to the information you already have. There are dozens of tools today to help businesses of all kinds digitize their work. Plus, you can say goodbye to paper cuts and slamming your fingers in filing cabinets. 

Take your office paperless and learn more in our free ebook. Or search from over 20k mobile form templates in our Application Store, including our collection of mobile form templates for Professional Services. Then, Try GoCanvas Free today!

See how mobile apps can help your office and entire business go paperless.

Go paperless with Canvas

Go paperless with Canvas

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