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Do you have paper files stacked so high on your desk that they could topple over at any moment? Do your employees spend as much time searching through filing cabinets as they do working at their desks? If so, it might be time to look into digitizing your business.

While making the switch to paperless processes will likely save time and money – many business owners get caught up worrying about the initial costs, the training required, and the uncertainty around how the new systems will work. For that reason, it’s important to consider the whole picture since benefits like reduced storage costs, increased document security, and improved productivity will often make up for anticipated digitizing drawbacks.

So, before the files on your desk topple over, go digital with these five easy steps:

1. Move Your Operations Online

Put any data your employees use regularly at their fingertips to allow them to get more done. Do an audit to see where your company is using paper and find ways to transfer those business operations online or to a company intranet. That may mean scanning records that you use regularly and keeping those records digitally in the future. You can also facilitate teamwork by using software like Basecamp or Slack that allows teams to collaborate online and share documents electronically – cutting down on the need to print out meeting minutes or other documents.

2. Switch to Paperless Banking

If you still receive paper bank and credit card statements, then you can easily switch to eStatements. You can also benefit from using online banking rather than going into the branch to make payments and receive funds – cutting down on paper receipts and confirmations. Finally, pay your employees using direct deposit in order to reduce the paper involved in printing out and mailing cheques.

3. Choose Paperless Cash Management

Requesting paperless statements or bills from all your suppliers and service providers is an easy way to cut down on paper. You can also start providing e-invoices and e-receipts to your customers. By using software that digitizes and automates your payables and receivables workflow like Esker or NetSuite, you can often cut down on time spent filling out ledgers, coding, and approving expenses which will lead to cost savings.

4. Communicate with Clients Electronically

Instead, of making your customers print out contracts and then send them back to you via fax or mail, use eforms and digital customer acquisition and management software like Avoka or PocketSuite. You can also cut down on paper by sending your clients e-mails rather than flyers, catalogues, or other mail. Finally, ditch the paper files and keep track of your client interactions electronically with customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce or InfusionSoft which allow you to better manage customer interactions.

5. Optimize Your Processes

Every company has one or two paper-based processes that you do because you’ve always done them. While you’re digitizing your workflow, evaluate all your processes to figure out how you can cut down on any duplicate processes or inefficiencies. Make sure to schedule periodical reviews to continue streamlining and evaluating your operations to make more processes digital in the future.

The Bottom Line

Digitizing business operations is now easier than many owners think and can help you move closer to a paperless environment, reduce material costs, and streamline operations which, in the long, run can save both time and money.

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