Accounting Software Helps You Go Paperless: Part 2

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!

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