How A Paperless Accounting Office Reduces Unnecessary Clutter

It was always my goal to make sure we used our resources for things that produce income. Space should be used efficiently, effectively and provide easy access to the things we need.

In our paperless office, my main goal was to reduce paper or even eliminate paper. Living in British Columbia, you get used to looking at large stands of fir trees. Tall, beautiful and evergreen with the distinct smell of pine. I wanted to keep our trees.

As our office evolved, our paper content became less and less. I kept thinking of ways I could encourage everyone to convert to paperless solutions whenever possible.

One day, I was discussing a file with a staff member who had printed out the trial balance from QuickBooks®, and was using the printout to enter the trial balance. “Hmmm, I wonder why?” I said nothing about it as it was the end of the day and we both had to go. I noticed he put the paper trial balance into one of his drawers in a hanging file folder so he would know where it was. I also noticed there were several other “saved” file folders in his drawer.

A few days later, I mused to myself, “I wonder if that piece of paper trial balance was still there?” Off I went, after hours, to look in the drawer. And what do you think I found? Yup, there was the trial balance, still there. There were also a few other things “saved” in those drawers that I realized would be “useful” to others in the office. “Hmmm!,” once again.

I decided to do some self-styled research. I went into the bullpen and I taped the drawers shut after making a list of all the contents. When they arrived the next day I told then I would un-tape their drawer if they could name 70% of the contents. Hmmm. Highest correlation????? 42%!!! Forty -two lousy percent!!!! Most of them didn’t even get to 15%.

I realized by this exercise that office drawers mostly hold one kind of filing … the  “I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS SO I PUT IT IN THIS DRAWER” file. Or, otherwise said: “OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND.” Heck, I couldn’t even identify what was in my own drawers.

It occurred to me that we would be better off without the drawers. I proceeded to remove them from the prep staff. Heck, when I got to the senior staff, their drawers were already empty. So guess what – we have no more drawers.

The only complaint I got was, “Where am I going to put my lunch?” We have two fridges that were empty until then. What do they have now? Lunches – and if they are still there on the weekend, they are fair game for me to eat!!!

LESSON: Office drawers collect junk, hide secrets, provide error traps and are not available to everyone in the office. A paperless office is better off without them. Whoa! Is that controversial or what?