Paperless Invoices

We try to be proactive in sustainability and reduce and offset our carbon emissions (for flights, paper usage, transport usage — e.g. cabs etc.).  We are part of a shared office space in a corporate building, and although our hands may be tied in some areas, we feel it’s important to constantly find ways, even small ones, to lessen our carbon footprint.

We’ve just had to estimate our paper usage for offsetting with Climate Friendly which has also got us thinking about ways to reduce the amount of paper we use. We also recently completed the office mini assessment on greenbizcheck website — after hearing about GreenBizCheck at a CORNA meetup) — which also got us thinking (we scored 70% on the mini-assessment, and we’ll be looking into doing a full assessment soon).

With all this in mind I was entering some invoices into our Saasu online accounting file (full disclosure: we share our office with Saasu and some of our staff are shareholders), and I had an electronic invoice for wait for it $1.57. Steeped in traditional ways of “managing the books”, our process is to print the invoice, enter it into Saasu and then file the physical copy in a folder.  Well it was just irking me to have to print off this invoice for such a measly amount.

So Grant, Marc (from Saasu) and I ended up having a discussion about it, going paperless, the pro’s and cons, questions like: does is take more time to find the digital invoice in the system as opposed to just picking up the file that sits on my desk and flicking through the invoices to locate the hard copy?  Is it just a mindset that we have because we are just used to doing it a certain way? (Our experience is that, as much as we harp on about how we like change and want to stay current, humans in general hate change.) Do we need to keep paper copies of receipts etc. for legal reasons?

So we have set ourselves the challenge to do a 3-month trial of going paperless for our accounts, to see how we go.  Now I’m not going to bore you with everyday happenings, but I do hope to report back in a month or so to let you know how it’s all going, and see just how realistic the promise of paperless accounting might be…

One thought on “Paperless Invoices

  1. [Editor’s note: this is a comment from a commercial service provider (as they disclose in the post), but we’ve evaluated the content to be useful to readers, so have approved it to be published… Contact us if you disagree with our appraisal.]

    Paperless in itself does not really bring much immediately unless you use electronic documents to get your data keyed in , in which case you begin to love the fact that with one button click you add 200 invoices which have been keyed in at 20c a pop an d you have saved yourself 4 hours work. (that’s our business) But even if you don’t use it to outsource data keying , there are incalculable benefits downt he track , when your invoice is integrated into your accounting system and your accountant has access to it, and you can email it to the supplier or customer, and you can access it from the top of Mt Perisher (which actually happened to me ). Yes they are accessed infrequently after entry and yes the system storing them DOES need to be compliant ie. secure + audit trail , but I promise , once you go there you can’t go back ….

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