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Paperless office guide

Many people – whether for home or for their small business – dream of achieving the paperless office.

There are many advantages to losing the paper, so it's no wonder small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are embracing the concept. Increased productivity and efficiency in your business is a huge bonus. You'll spend less time shuffling around looking for that elusive piece of paper, and your printing costs will massively decrease.

If all of this sounds good, take a look at XLN's handy guide to achieving life without paper.

Have patience

Unfortunately, this isn't an adjustment that can be taken in a single leap. Transferring the essential elements of your business to the computer takes time and needs to be incorporated into your daily routine.

Easy ways to start include asking your suppliers to bill you by email rather than by post. If you have an order book, simply transfer it to a spreadsheet or word processor. Almost all banks and building societies now offer online statements. These little things can make a huge difference to your productivity levels, as it's much easier to find information if it's on the computer, thanks to the search function.
Keeping things organised

Even once you've transferred your data into the digital world, you still need to make an effort to keep it tidy. Ensure that your important documents aren't strewn across random folders throughout your computer and that everything is backed up regularly. If an essential file becomes damaged, the information can be impossible to recover, so look after everything as you would if it were on paper.

Backing up data is usually inexpensive – hard drives capable of carrying several hundred gigabytes can be purchased for as little as £30. Failing that, online space is a cheap and effective option, as you can then access your files wherever you are.
Striking a balance

For many small businesses, going entirely paperless would be impractical and impossible. Some of your customers or clients will still want to be billed with a paper copy, so don't throw out the printer just yet. Certain rules and regulations will also mean you'll have to keep some records for tax purposes. So although the term is definitely 'paperless office', in actual fact it only means 'less paper'.

Following these rough guidelines will certainly set you on the path of increased productivity. Fewer hours spent looking for the elusive telephone number scrawled in a book. Less money wasted on printer ink. And it has the added benefit of being tidier, resulting in a more professional-looking business environment.

In short, the change might be difficult to overcome. But it can be extremely profitable.ADNFCR-2811-ID-801430433-ADNFCR


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