Is it time for your small business to go paperless

Going paperless may require an upfront investment, but it could be more affordable than you’d think. Over the long-term, it’s by far the more affordable and efficient option for business of all sizes. To explain further, Joe Muddiman; General Manager of Rads Document Storage provides advice on steps you could take to go paperless and the benefits they offer.

Digitize any existing paperwork

If you’re holding on to filing cabinets full of paper, then you’re basically paying commercial rent on a storage facility. What’s more your access to the information you’ve stored depends on you having access to the building with the filing cabinets.

If you have documents which must be stored on paper (e.g. legal documents), then take a digital copy and more the paperwork to secure offsite storage. For anything else, digitize it and shred it.


Digitizing sensitive data does create data security issues, but there are plenty of managed IT security vendors who can help you manage these at an affordable price.

Once you have your paperwork in digital form, you can keep online and offline copies of it. The online copies of it can be accessed by anyone with security clearance, regardless of where they are in the world. That creates all kinds of opportunities for running your business efficiently and safely.

Stop sending paper letters/forms/invoices

Stop sending paper unless it’s a legal requirement (or the recipient specifically requests it). Digitizing your business communication and processes does more than just save you money on postage, paper and ink. It allows you to leverage technology to streamline your business processes.

As a minimum, your staff will be able to automate part of their inbox management. They’ll also be able to set reminders and copy data straight into other applications like their calendars. If you wish, you can set up user-groups so people can share responsibilities and/or cover for each other.

Make expenses digital

With a few exceptions, HMRC is quite happy to accept electronic documentation. That means accountants and finance departments are too. In fact, they usually prefer them as it makes their life easier, hence why HMRC is “Making Tax Digital”.

As a minimum, you can have your staff take pictures of receipts (before they lose them). Ideally, you’ll use a bookkeeping app to transfer the data from the receipt to your accounting system.

Keep your presentations on the screen

Another common scenario in many businesses is that an on-screen presentation is accompanied by handouts which show the same presentation. In fairness, sometimes these come with space for taking notes. Even so, however, they are, or should be, a waste of money.

In simple terms, if people need handouts to follow along with presentations, then the presentation needs to be improved. Most of the time the problem is that there’s too much text stuffed onto each slide. Using more slides doesn’t make the presentation longer, it just makes it easier to see.

Make sure participants know that they will get a soft copy of the slides, along with any additional information. Then have one person record questions and answers and send them out on soft copy too. This not only saves paper and ink but also often saves a lot of time and helps protect attendees from the dreaded “Death by PowerPoint” scenario.