The Benefits of Paperless Accounting
Moving to a paperless environment involves a paradigm shift in thinking about how an office runs. As accountants and bookkeepers, we are so used to our usual ways of operation, that we sometimes miss the most obvious. This was never so true when it came to calculators in our office.
I like to shake things up once in a while. After long weekends, my staff enters the premises with trepidation. They know that with the long weekend, I may have been hit with the “let’s change things up” bug. They open the door slowly just in case the change made was monumental, which sometimes, it is. Nothing stays static for long. I found out a long time ago that in order to keep people “fresh,” you need to make them adapt to small things sometimes. That way, when it comes to major change, they are “experienced” … lol.
So one of those long weekends, being bored and looking for adventure, I decided it was time to better my paperless office by removing all the calculators. They are ugly, take up space, make too much noise and produce that hated product – PAPER!!
So, I proceeded to go around to every desk, put them into garbage bags and store them in a safe place temporarily. I chuckled as I thought of the file preparers, managers and tax people who would arrive and find them GONE. Gone to that big ledger in the sky!
Tuesday came and the first person to arrive was my personal assistant, a wonderful person who takes change well. She is always early and gets a jump on things. “WHAT?,” she shrieked in her demonstrative voice. “Where is my calculator? I NEED my calculator.”
“What for?,” I asked. “I pay the bills” she shakily remarked. “I need a tape! I need to add things up!! I need to check the taxes!!”
“Well,” I said, “you are in luck. There is a new program called Excel that is available.” “If you make a mistake, you don’t need to start over and I have added it to your taskbar!,” I said cheekily, knowing she had used it a million times before.
“But I need to do quick calculations,” she cried. “I need to check tax.” “Sure you do,” I replied. “So use the button on your keyboard to bring up the Microsoft Calculator.” “NOOO,” she begged. “I don’t like THAT calculator.” “OK,” I echoed. “I’ll change it to the Moffsoft calculator or one of the 50 other free soft calculators available online,” which I proceeded to do.
I left her sobbing at her desk with this simple request. “Use these ever-available solutions for one month,” a request that I went on to make with all staff. “If at the end of that month you would like your calculator back, I will give it to you.”
That was 19 months ago. Shortly after the original incident, I did hear her talking to one of the preparers saying, “Oh it’s great to have so much room on my desk an it’s MUCH easier to use the keyboard calculator than that old clunker I used to have!”
LESSON: Think of how to use our new paperless tools to replace old outdated ones. And try it!! Users can be much more adaptive and produce untold efficiencies.
Oh yes, the calculators? 19 months later they are still in that bag. EVERY ONE OF THEM!!!!
Editor’s Note: This is the 3rd post in a series of 6 posts on the paperless office. Read the other posts:
- #1: Why Paper is Painful: A 6-part Series
- #2: The Virtual File vs. the Paper File
- #4: What’s in Your File Drawer?
- #5: Scanners on Every Desk
- #6: Printers Going out of Style