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The notion of a truly paperless office is appealing because it is viewed by clients and colleagues as a technologically and environmentally progressive move. It’s also a savvy move for another important reason. Going completely paperless may not be a realistic endeavor for many legal professionals, but by making a few adjustments to your work routine and process, you can eliminate enough paper to save significant space, time, labor, and money.
Statements and Bills
It goes without saying that the more bills you pay, receive and send electronically, the less paper you’ll generate. The same thing goes with payroll. Related to paying bills, including do-it-yourself payroll, online bill payment systems are easy to use and often free through a business banking or credit card account. Aside from eliminating the hassle and time required to keep track of paperwork, another convenience of paying bills online is that the payments can be made from anywhere there is a secure internet connection.
For the task of accepting payments from clients, consider a mobile payment system like Square or PayPal for payments on the go. Each company charges fees for the service, however, so read the fine print first.
Myriad programs, such as QuickBooks, exist to track business expenses. Many offer an option to send invoices to your clients electronically, as well as receive a bank transfer from them instead of a check. When you can send invoices and receive payments electronically, you’ve cut out a significant amount of time and paper from the bookkeeping process
Sharing Files, Storage and Internal Documents
It’s easy to share files and documents internally, as well as have larger files stored electronically for easy access and transfer. Google Drive offers up to 30GB of free stored data per business user. Unlimited storage is available for $10 a month. The interface is also incredibly user friendly, which will make it a breeze to share documents with coworkers and external colleagues.
Dropbox is a great choice to store and share documents and files that are commonly viewed. Additionally, it is easy to control and modify who has access to which files, which is particularly important in the field of law. Users also receive audit logs that track which files were accessed and shared, and by whom.
Back it Up
When moving in the direction of a paperless office, it is more critical than ever to diligently back up your documents. Fortunately, the cost of the service is usually nominal, especially considering the importance. But, it is critical that you use a trusted source, such as Backblaze or Crashplan. Internet security providers often include backup as part of their service as well.
While you may not be able to eliminate the need for paper entirely, going as paperless as possible will do away with the need for so much office storage space, and you will save money on paper and paper supplies, too. You will also save time and money on labor since electronic payments and invoices are more efficient and take less time to process than traditional printed invoices and checks. Thanks to some great software and apps, it is possible to save time, space, labor, and money by making the switch to a paperless office.