paperless office

3 basic admin tips that will save you an hour a day

I love a good time-saving tip!  I’ve found these 3 great ideas that anyone can easily implement in their business or at work, from Debbie Eglin over at the Flying Solo website.

Tip 1 especially fits in with my favourite subject at the moment – going paperless.  I hope going paperless is something you are working towards in your business or workplace.  It really is the way forward and makes a lot of sense.

Tip 3 is another great tip because we often find ourselves typing the same words over and over, which is a time-waster.

3 basic admin tips that will save you an hour a day

Happy bookkeeping…

 

Why I prefer to go paperless #1

trees

You don’t have to be a tree-hugger to be interested in going paperless – it will also save you in the hip pocket. So it’s really a win-win situation. A win for you and a win for the environment (which of course benefits you too!)

I previously shared some tips on 4 Easy Ways to Go Paperless. The 4 tips are some really simple ways to make that step towards going paperless without having to spend lots of money or make huge changes to the way you work or run your business.  Readers shared some of their tips on going paperless too, which you might want to check out in the Comments section at the bottom of the post.

I wanted to write a couple of posts about how exactly you can benefit from moving towards a paperless office, particularly from a bookkeeping point of view. So instead of the “how” I wanted to explore the “why” of going paperless.

So read on for the first of many great reasons that I prefer to go paperless and how you, too, can benefit.

# 1   Online banking is better than writing out cheques.

  • Banks often charge a fee to send out cheque books
  • Banks sometimes charge a fee for each cheque presented
    I discovered this the hard way – being charged .95c every time one of my cheques gets deposited!
  • Mailing cheques is time consuming and you have to pay for stamps.
  • People can lose cheques, resulting in double the amount of work.
  • Cheques for small amounts are often not banked, and sit there in your accounting records as being unpresented month after month until you finally get hold of the person and sort it out, or it goes stale.

Just like having 2 cheque signatories, you can set up your online banking so that 2 people have to authorise each payment – resulting in better security of your money.  And whilst on the subject of online banking, bank statements can be downloaded from your bank’s website and saved in a suitably named folder which can be backed-up, reducing the need to have paper copies sent out to you.

Happy bookkeeping…

4 Easy Ways to go Paperless

Watercolour splash final

I think the first hurdle to going paperless is probably a psychological one – you like knowing that you can physically hold those important pieces of paper and it is hard to change systems that you’ve been using successfully for years.

I’ve recently gone through the process of getting accounting records to an auditor who was interstate. It involved a lot of scanning of supporting paperwork, which was very time consuming. Now that I’ve gone through that process I’ve changed the way I work throughout the year for that organisation so that I will be better prepared for next year’s audit. The added bonus is that more of the organisation’s documents will be saved in soft copy that can be easily backed up with the rest of the accounting information.

Here are 4 easy ways you can go paperless:

1.  Online banking

This is probably the easiest and most readers have probably already embraced this one. Pretty much everything can be paid by electronic funds transfer, credit card or PayPal. If other people are responsible for making payments in your business, don’t forget to protect your hard-earned cash by having 2 separate people responsible for authorising online payments.

2.  Emailing customer invoices and statements

No need to print them out and post them – email them from your accounting software instead.

3.  Cloud accounting software

If you don’t have reliable internet, then cloud accounting software may not suit your business. However cloud accounting software providers are introducing more and more features to help you move towards having a paperless office. For example, you can have bank transaction info fed into your accounting program direct from the bank. Another example is saving copies of documents that have been sent to you straight into your software without having to print them off first. Whilst entering transactions in Xero I can use my laptop’s webcam to take a photo of supporting documents and attach them right then and there. Very cool!

Australian businesses have the option of keeping electronic copies of source documents instead of hard copies, as long as these copies meet the requirements outlined by the Australian Taxation Office. Be sure to check the record keeping requirements applicable to your country.

4.  Paperless Reporting

For those of us Down Under, the Australian Taxation Office is very much moving towards paper-less reporting. I’m sure the tax authority in your own respective country is either offering options for paperless reporting, or will be in the near future. For example, Business Activity Statements can be lodged electronically using the Business Portal. You can get a nice little reminder email when the next one is available to complete and lodge, as well as direct confirmation that your BAS have been received (no more posting it in the mail and hoping they receive it on the other end).

These tools are just the tip of the

I’m not suggesting everyone jump in the deep end and eliminate every piece of paper in the office – one step at a time is great and will give you a chance to get used to new ways of working without being overwhelmed. On the other hand, you might be an all-or-nothing person that wants to jump right in and embrace the concept fully.

I wish you well in your quest to go paperless!

What tools do you love that have helped you go paperless? Don’t be shy – I would love to hear your ideas in the comments section below!