How many read that headline, and think, “nice dream, I’ve heard that so often for so long…the paperless office is here, blah, blah. And we seem to print more paper now than ever before!”
It is true though, and we have the tools and the proof.
The proof is our own business and most of our clients.
The Tools We Use
To be fully, 100% paperless we use the following tools and systems:
- Cloud-based accounting software (Xero, Netsuite, and Quickbooks Online);
- Online banking with bank feeds to the accounting software;
- Online payment service so that customers can pay invoices online either from their bank account or by credit card;
- Online bill payment service to pay all bills online;
- Document extraction software;
- Purchase Order and bill approval software;
- E-signing software
How it Works For a Customer
A Sales Order can be opened either from a browser, or a Smartphone. The Sales Order can be approved by someone authorized to approve.
An invoice is created from the Sales Order and can then be emailed directly to your customer.
Inside the emailed invoice for us and our clients is a nicely colored green box saying, “pay now”.
When you click that link, you can either pay direct from your bank account or by credit card.
The payment will hit your bank account and update your accounting software automatically.
This entire cycle has been paperless from the Sales Order to Invoice to Accounts Receivable to Payment online.
Let’s Look at the Purchasing Cycle
Using our systems, you can create a Purchase Order in our Approval software. That Purchase Order then goes to an approver via email who can review the Purchase Order details on their computer or phone. They approve, reject, or comment.
Approved Purchase Orders are emailed to the vendor automatically.
No paper is printed.
Ok, so what happens when the bill comes in?
The vendor bills are emailed to our document extraction software and the details extracted for coding. They are also pushed to our Approval software cycling through the approval matrix of people authorized to approve that bill. The software will compare the bill to the Purchase Order to see if it matches. The Approver can either “approve, reject, or comment” on that bill.
Once it is matched and approved it goes to the online bill payment software for payment.
All the documents are attached to each step in the process as a PDF document for full visibility.
Again, as in the sales cycle, no paper is printed.
Our reports are prepared using cutting edge report generating software. The reports are sent as a link to our clients who can download the reports as a PDF. (They could print, but there is no need to).
Online Meetings with Zoom
We review our reports with our clients online using Zoom to share the screen.
Another piece of software we use that I just love is called Zoho Sign (I researched a lot of e-signing software, and this was the most cost effective that I found).
In the accounting world there are often so many signatures required – on agreements, resolutions, and documents for Canada Revenue Agency.
It’s so slick – you just upload the document to Zoho Sign. Add a person who needs to sign (you can also add multiple signers at once).
You simply drag the signature box to each field where you want them to sign, together with a signing date.
Once you click send the document is emailed to the first person who signs, then to the second in a linear fashion until everyone has signed the document.
The document then comes back to you fully dated and signed.
Oh, and that is a fully legal document that will stand up in a court of law.
The cool part is no one has to print, sign or scan.
We used to (just 1.5 years ago) recommend that our clients buy a scanner, yet it is now not necessary, as vendor bills can be emailed directly to a central email address and the details automatically extracted for account coding.
The paperless office is here – we are the living proof!
Thanks for reading…