Well, for us, anyway. We saw a dramatic drop in the number of client submitting manual paper records to us. 99% to be precise! Almost everything was handled online, through Dext, Xero and other cloud apps.
How paper became a burden
COVID-19 changed the world in many ways. But one of the seismic shifts was the welcome lack of paper.
The paperless office has long been imagined as a panacea for the problems of office-workers. But did anybody really believe in it happening? Weren’t we all a little too comfortable with our hard-copy documents, our paper receipts, and “the way it’s always been done”?
Since we were all sent home by Boris from our slick, stationery-filled offices, a change occurred.
We no longer had access to a printer at the click of a button. We were forced to learn the art of the electronic signature. Did anybody else struggle for months with the clunky mouse-scribble in Adobe?
Even when printers were available, we noticed a reticence to use them. How do we deal with confidential papers in our homes? Is it secure? How do we shred them? On top of security concerns, we wondered whether we had sufficient space in our embryonic home-offices. Paper copies soon became an undesirable option.
Why we’ve embraced paperless
So, is the age of the hard-copy document dead? Well, we’ve seen so many benefits of this new paperless system that we think this shift is a permanent one. Some of the upsides we’ve seen include:
- The environment: With climate-change anxiety rising, we’re happier with our carbon footprint now that we print less paper.
- Space: We’ve freed up cabinet space and office space with fewer paper files. Our work environment feels more spacious. Somehow it feels like we have more room to think.
- Cost: We’ve saved money on paper, cartridges, ink, and printer maintenance. Our stationery bill is much lighter.
Overall, we find it a more efficient way of working. It’s been a fresh new experience, as we use online systems that organise and file everything in innovative, yet intuitive, ways. It’s a simpler way of working, now that we no longer receive paper receipts to analyse and file.
It’s taken some getting used to and we’ve had to make adjustments. We’ve bolstered our back-up systems and developed our cyber security.
We need to be confident that all is not lost in the event of a black-out, however unlikely that may be. But like any professional service firm, we were investing in those things anyway.
And perhaps a few more of us have bought blue-light glasses, as we get accustomed to looking at a screen more than we used to. Or we’re setting timers to remind us to look into the distance more frequently.
But again, that’s probably a good practice for any office-worker, whether you’re in a paperless or paper-laden office.
From our point of view at least, now we’ve been forced into the paperless way, we think it’s here to stay.
How paperless can work for you
Not every business is set up to switch away from paper easily. You might need apps and software to smooth the transition.
If you’d like to have a chat with us about the technology that can help with your accountancy practices, please do give us a call. We’d love to help.