Paperless, Online and Cloud Accounting – It’ll Do More than Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Although paperless, online-based accounting will almost certainly shrink your carbon footprint, there are also other ways it can dramatically improve processes, save time and increase profits.

Here’s a taster of how electronic based online accounting can help your business as well as going green, mainly through a nifty piece of modern accounting software.

Reduce time taken for authorisation
Approving purchase orders or invoices can often involve a bunch of people in the sign off process. When paper-based documents are used, the whole process can be delayed due the internal/external post, the document sitting in someone’s in-tray or it simply going missing. Actually, the whole process can easily be automated by using digital documents that can be emailed directly to the right people, and you can even send them reminders.

Drive down delivery costs
According to statistics, an organisation can save up to £1 per document if it were sent electronically, rather than printing and posting. If your business usually sends out hundreds or thousands of invoices or statements every month, these costs can really add up. By using electronic based invoicing, these costs can be removed completely!

Save space by storing financial documents electronically
Office space is probably one of the biggest overheads for businesses, yet old-fashioned filing cabinets are still lurking around in corners, taking up valuable space. But if you electronically store and archive finance documents in your accounting software system through the Cloud, you can free up storage areas for more desks. You could even consider moving to a smaller, more cost-effective site.

Better use of human resources
Whether you’re processing an order or managing the receipt of an invoice, with a paper-based accounting system someone in the finance department will have to spend hours inputting data, photocopying, faxing, posting or retrieving documents. What’s more, if there are queries over a bill, you may have difficulty finding the paperwork, quickly eroding any potential margin that might have been made.

With advances in document management technology it is now possible to scan invoices using OCR (optical character recognition), which identifies the supplier by reading the VAT or company registration number. The scanned document can be attached to its relevant record within the accounting software itself, so it will always be easily retrieved and shared if you need it.

Improve supplier relationships and avoid disputes
With paperless billing and payment, you can promote better relationships with suppliers and potentially secure better terms or discounting. You can also remove the time taken by finance staff to manage suppliers who are chasing monies. You should also be able to resolve any disputes quickly because you can find the relevant details on the system without having to fish through filing cabinets.

Support remote/flexible working using cloud accounting
If all your finance documents are held centrally on a cloud server, there is no reason for certain members of staff to be in the office to authorise purchases or payments. This gives a huge amount of flexibility for busy executives who are out of the office, as they can access this information from their smart phones.

Improve cash-flow
By taking advantage of electronic invoicing and payment you can ensure that bills reach customers as soon as they are due, and therefore encourage them to handle payments electronically as well, using services such as BACs or direct debit.

Add value elsewhere
By easing the burden on the finance team, their skilled resources can be used elsewhere for planning, strategy and budgeting, rather than wasting time on administrative tasks that add little value.

So there’s a lot more to a paperless operations strategy than fulfilling environmental obligations; it can help you to become more productive and efficient with less human and physical resources. If you’re considering how you can reduce the reliance on paper and want to reap the additional benefits that electronic accounting can bring then it may be easier and more lucrative than you think.