This is part of Accounting Software Helps You Go Paperless, continued from the prior blog post.
Create, send and track purchase orders electronically.
Do you run out of your most popular products, while the slow movers just keep sitting on the shelves? Are you unsure of how many of an item to order? Perhaps you have a giant folder labeled with your vendor’s name that is overflowing with paper copies of purchase orders and other vendor information. These are just a couple of the major functions that can be solved by electronic purchase order management. A purchase order system within your accounting software can suggest, produce, process and receive purchase orders for items and/or services. Your whole purchasing process is made more efficient, and will save money by having the right products on your shelves at the right time, when customers need it.
Create and send reports within the system and via e-mail.
Most companies run their financial reports every month, print them and distribute them to the appropriate parties. The reports are typically viewed and then stored or disposed of. By distributing reports via e-mail instead of in print, you will save on paper and also reduce the chances of sensitive financial information going around the office. Also, create the reports in Adobe PDF files, and everyone (even those without your accounting software) will be able to easily view the reports. Your data is safe and accurate in a PDF format as it allows the user to make notes on the report but won’t allow them to change the original.
Cut down on printed invoices and statements.
Yes, it’s an old habit that’s hard to break. But think about it, do you really need all those printed copies of invoices and statements? A good accounting software program should allow you to reproduce/reprint any invoice or statement from history, so there’s really no reason to keep a copy. If you want to keep copies so people without authorization to the accounting software can view them, you should print to PDF files (which does not physically print them but instead saves them into a PDF format) and keep them in a safe/organized place on the server. To do this, just name the file and folders the same way you would if it was a file cabinet. If you would normally have a file cabinet full of folders for each customer, then you would create a folder on the server called “Invoices”. And within that folder, you would have a separate folder for each customer. When you print the invoices to PDF files, you would name them with the customer code and invoice number, and save them within the appropriate customer file.
On the other hand, some businesses now keep a three-ring binder that has a copy of every invoice/statement in it, sorted by invoice number. If you are currently doing this and would like to continue doing it with electronic copies, then you would create a folder on the server called “Invoices”, and all invoices would be saved in that folder. When you print the invoices to PDF, use the invoice number as the file name, or the invoice number and customer code.
Don’t forget that there’s always the possibility of having an interim period where you still print a copy and then keep a PDF copy. However, this often leads to employees reverting back to old ways, so it’s typically best to make the change ‘cold turkey’.
Old habits die hard, but going paperless or at least reducing the amount of paper you use can greatly benefit your business and our environment. Let accounting software help you and your business on your path to going paperless!
No matter what type of business you operate, you have surely heard about businesses trying to reduce the amount of paper they are using. It all seems so easy in theory, but it can be challenging to actually change the processes you and your colleagues have been used to for so many years. According to www.electronicpayments.org, “…every year Americans mail 26 billion bills and statements and 9 billion payments in paper form. The production and transportation of those paper bills, statements, and payments consumes the following resources: 755 million pounds of paper, 9 million trees, and 512 million gallons of gasoline.” Visit their Web site for more interesting facts about going paperless. Here are some of the ways you can use your accounting software to help put your business on the road to eliminating the need for paper.
Send invoices and statements via e-mail.
All of the paper and envelopes that go into sending your customers invoices and statements really add up. Many accounting systems now allow you to set up your customers’ e-mail addresses within the system, and then send all invoices and/or statements to those with e-mail with just a few clicks. If you send out five invoices/statements per day, that’s 1,300 sheets of paper and 1,300 envelopes per year! Just think of the time saved, not having to print, collate, stuff, stamp and send all of that mail. Your customer gets the invoices sooner, and you might just get paid faster, too.
Store customer pricing in the system.
Do you find yourself flipping through disorganized folders of information, seeking the customer’s most current pricing sheets? Not only does this waste paper, but it also leaves the customer waiting while you search. Keep track of pricing in your accounting software and it will always be just a few clicks away. Do keep in mind that accounting software does vary in its capability to store pricing information. Some systems let you store one set of pricing, some store multiple sets and some even allow for unlimited contract pricing. Make sure your system allows you to store pricing in a way that will work for your business!
Enter and store customer orders in the system.
Here again, if you are storing customer quotes and orders in a paper file, things will be much harder to find. You will have a multitude of papers floating around, and it will take longer to access them. Instead, create and save customer quotes and orders in your accounting software system. Quotes and orders can then be searched for by number, customer name, etc. for easy access. The information will be easier to find, and you will consistently provide better service to your customers.
The second part of this blog will be continued in the next blog post.
Everybody seems to be going green these days, and with good reason. As a business, it is important to do what we can to operate “greener”. There are things a business can do with their accounting and payroll systems that will make a large impact on the environment. As an added benefit to your company, while you are going green you will be streamlining your processes, saving processing time, and saving money too.
Send invoices and statements via e-mail instead of via snail mail.
These days nearly every business has an e-mail address. Set up customers with e-mail addresses to have their invoices and statements sent via e-mail. The environment will benefit in many ways, including the savings of gas to deliver the mail, the trees saved from the paper, and the gas emissions cut out. There are added benefits your company. You will save on the cost of stamps, invoice paper, envelopes, printer ink, and the cost of the time to print, mail and stuff the envelopes. What’s more, customers will have their invoices and statements instantly, promoting faster payment! If your business sends 300 invoices per month, that adds up to 3,600 sheets of invoice paper and 3,600 envelopes per year!
Use direct deposit instead of printing paychecks.
Imagine the amount of paper saved if you print checks every week for 100 employees. By paying employees with direct deposit, a company would save 5,200 envelopes and 5,200 checks per year. Save even more by skipping the printing of the pay stubs, and have your employees receive e-mail notifications about their pay, and the ability to log on and view pay data online.
File tax forms electronically instead of printing and sending forms via mail.
Do you order tax forms every year? Think of the time you spend ordering them, the cost, and the impact of all that paper. This year, file your tax forms electronically, and you can save the paper from the forms, the envelopes, and the stamps.
Send and store reports electronically rather than printing.
You likely run financial reports every month, whether it’s an income statement, balance sheet, or a long list of other reports you run for your business. You likely send the reports around to people who view them once, and then shred or throw them in the trash. Send the reports via e-mail, and you will save a significant amount of paper each month. Those who wish to keep the reports for later viewing can either store them in an e-mail storage file, or they can save the documents in a password protected file.
Keep track of handwritten information in a computer spreadsheet.
Sometimes it seems easier to just track things on paper instead of using a spreadsheet on your computer. Some of the things people still track on paper include serial and lot numbers, customer orders, customer pricing, and much more. Most people are shocked to learn how much time is saved by entering this information into a computer system instead of on paper! Most accounting software and/or payroll software can handle the storage of this information. By backing up the information on a regular basis, you can ensure this data does not get lost. Not only does this save on paper, it keeps information more accurate and easily accessible from one location.
Direct deposit is a payroll software tool that helps companies save time and money by depositing pay electronically into employee bank accounts. Many businesses are now going a step further and publishing and distributing their company's pay advices electronically instead of printing the pay stub on paper and handing them out or mailing them. Here are some great reasons for you and your business to try publishing pay advices electronically instead of printing them on paper.
When you publish pay advices, an email notification is sent to employees, and from there they can click on a link to sign in and view their pay information. There is no longer a need to walk around with envelopes and distribute to each employee or pay postage and mail them. Distribution happens as soon as you send the email notifications, saving you the time associated with finding employees and handing them the paper documents, and you save money by cutting out the postage.
Reduced paper and ink costs
Pay advices typically use a sheet of paper and an envelope each. How many envelopes and paper would you save each year by eliminating the need for this paper each pay day? If you have 50 employees and they are paid every two weeks, it amounts to 1,300 envelopes and 1,300 sheets of paper. Help the environment and your bottom line by publishing electronically instead!
Easy ongoing employee access to pay information
Publishing pay advices allows the company to save pay data and make it available to employees, which in turn provides a secure place for employees to access their pay data with just a login name and email address. This saves the HR department time, and also lets employees know there is a central place for them to access their pay data any time they wish.
Using a publish pay advice application can help your company save time and money, and can also keep employees happy.
There are so many little things that add up to big things, when it comes to going green. Here are some simple tips on going green that just about anyone can start up at the office.
Get a paper bin
Regardless of your job title, you are sure to deal with paper every single day. Maybe it’s trade magazines or company reports, or whatever else it is that lands and piles up on your desk in paper form. You might just be shocked how much you throw away, until you get a box or bin to collect the paper. Once the box is full, take it out the recycling bin. (Note: Be sure to shred the items you might even remotely consider confidential or sensitive.)
Replace water bottles with filtered water
You might think recycling your water bottles solves the eco- issue of drinking bottled water. But really, the existence of the bottle itself takes energy, transportation and raw materials. Drinking filtered tap water in a reusable container saves on bottles and cups, and can really make a difference for our environment!
Email documents instead of printing them
Most of us have documents to create, read and disburse in our jobs. Think about all of the things you print out when you could be e-mailing instead: financial documents, requests for time off, expense reports, meeting notes, price sheets, marketing pieces, and the list goes on! When possible, e-mail those documents instead of printing them. Many of them end up in the recycling bin or shredder anyway!
Sign up for paperless billing
Paperless billing is a little tough to start because we are used to having something tangible to organize and prioritize. However, using paperless billing can save on paper and energy. Don’t forget, it also takes energy to deliver the mail that contains your bills, etc. Sign up for paperless billing, create an organization system within your computer, and you will contribute greatly to helping our environment!