Top 6 mistakes companies make going paperless

May 16th 2020

For years now, offices have had all the technology they need to go paperless, but not all offices make the jump, and some that do revert back to their paper-based ways. If you want your company to go paperless and stay paperless, take a look at these common mistakes to avoid.

1. Not having a plan to stay paperless

You can’t just remove your printers and hope for the best, going paperless requires a plan that involves changing your business processes to remove paper out of the equation. Take a look at your workflow, identify where you use paper, and come up with a digital alternative, here are a few examples:

  • Instead of printing legal documents to sign them, use Adobe Acrobat or HelloSign.
  • Send and receive invoices with accounting software like Xero.
  • Instead of using paper forms, use a data collection app that works on the mobile and web like Locale Central.

2. Giving your team no training to go paperless

Identifying how to change your business processes won’t do anything unless your team knows how to change the way they work to stay paperless. To get your team on board, create a training plan that covers how your team can carry out their tasks the paperless way. As part of your team’s training, consider running a live demo with your team for some practical hands-on learning.

Creating an easily accessible knowledge base for all your documentation and instructions with an app like Notion can also provide your team with a quick reference or reminder.

3. Trying to cutover to paperless too quickly

You don’t have to go 100% paperless overnight, and trying to introduce too many changes to your business at one time could lead to your team feeling burnt out about the idea of going paperless, throwing it in the “too hard” basket. Keep in mind, what are your goals for going paperless? Gradual improvement can still be a positive step towards your goals.

4. Storing your documents locally, instead of on the cloud

It can be tempting to avoid the cloud altogether and keep your documents on your local network, or even just your PC, but you miss out on a lot of the paperless benefits by doing this. By instead storing your data on the cloud, it’s easier for your team to access, and easier to recover in the event of a disaster. By using the cloud, you can also use apps that are better suited to the purpose of your documents, instead of storing all of your documents as docs or pdfs locally.

5. Using the wrong apps

In the same sense that you have to use the right tools for the right job, you need the right apps for the right document. While you can get away with storing all your files in a storage service like Google Drive, OneDrive, or DropBox, it’s not optimal and you can make your digital workflow much better by considering apps that suit the type of information you are storing. Here are some example apps to consider using:

  • For accounting documents like purchase orders, invoices, and receipts, consider using accounting software like Xero.
  • For paper forms and checklists, consider using a data collection app like Locale Central.
  • For sharing knowledge and managing projects, use an all-in-one workspace like Notion.

By using the right apps for the right document, you can make your team’s digital workflow operate much more smoothly, improving productivity and saving time.

6. Converting your documents before updating your business processes

A very common mistake when going paperless is starting to convert your paper documents without stopping the flow of new paper documents coming in. By doing this, you create more work for yourself, and depending on the rate of which you accumulate paper documents, it could really draw out the amount of days you have to spend converting paper documents into digital. Instead, create and implement a plan for going paperless with future documents before you start converting your old paper documents.

More from Paperless


What is paperless data entry?

May 20th 2020

What is paperless accounting?

May 20th 2020

Paperless KPIs for your business

May 20th 2020

Paperless alternatives to common business processes

May 20th 2020