Benefits of a Paperless Office

About a year after graduation, I was fired from my first job. I was an Executive Assistant at a small company in Atlanta. The owner had paper files going back to the 1960’s. His partner and VP wanted to get rid of the older documents, so he instructed me cull the files. When the owner found out, the dumpster had already been emptied, so he fired me. The VP got what he wanted without taking the blame.

Today, that interoffice power struggle would be unnecessary. Using the technology available today, most companies have gone or are going paperless to capture the resulting cost and efficiency savings. Those who haven’t are held back by fears of inconvenience, security, and document loss. But the reality is, continuing to produce, store, and distribute paper accounting and other business records is a serious waste of time and money, not to mention a detriment to quality and security.

It is not necessary to change.
Survival is not mandatory.
—W. Edwards Deming

Benefits to going paperless:

  1. Save time and space, eliminate clutter. No more desks buried under piles of paper. No more printing, filing, and searching through stacks of paper. Find the document you need with just a few mouse clicks. (But you may have a problem selling those metal file cabinets, because everyone else is digital too.)
  2. Save money. The EPA estimates going paperless saves $80 per employee, per year, in expenses such as paper, toner, postage, and storage. (But unfortunately not so good for the U.S. Postal Service.)
  3. Secure, anywhere access. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. Depending on the cloud storage solution you choose, you may be able to do this with your smart phone. (How many opportunities have you lost previously because you didn’t have instant access to an important file?)
  4. Document encryption and protection. It’s important to choose a quality cloud storage service. If you do that, your documents will be encrypted and stored behind multiple security layers. This makes it easy to restrict access to only certain employees. (There are too many YouTube videos on picking file cabinet locks for this to be done effectively with paper files.)
  5. Nice optics. Going paperless isn’t just environmentally friendly, it also projects the image that your company is lean, efficient, evolved, skilled, and environmentally friendly. (The average company uses at least 10,000 sheets of paper a year.)


Great PDF Apps

I use Egnyte to store my client files, and to provide an upload page for clients to send me documents. I also use Email It In to automatically store all client emails and attachments on Egnyte. For each client, I have folders like Bills Unpaid, Bills Unpaid Entered in QB, and Bills PAID. Within these folders, I use this file name pattern or convention, using the bill due date:

YEAR.MO.DA [Office] Vendor Name Inv# $Amount.pdf

Of course, the files that clients send me aren’t already named that way, so I have to rename them all. I found the most wonderful application (program) to help me with this. It’s called A-PDF Preview and Rename. It allows me to view the content of PDF files while I rename them. I can extract due dates, invoice numbers, amounts, everything I need to create the new filename. A-PDF makes the process so much faster! I highly recommend it if you have to rename large numbers of PDF files. Another problem with my Egnyte system is that sometimes clients send me documents as JPGs instead of PDFs. I use FastStone Photo Resizer to batch convert these files to PDF.

Finally, I use PDF-XChange Editor to edit PDFs. Clients often send me multiple bills in one file, for example. PDF-XChange Editor allows me to easily split and extract one or multiple pages to create separate files for each bill, and rotate pages that were scanned upside down. The program is a very robust PDF creator and editor. I used to use NitroPDF, but that program became expensive and bloated, taking forever to load and hanging frequently. PDF-Xchange Editor has been a wonderful replacement.

Happy PDF editing!

XeroCon Coming to Austin, TX

Each year, Xero hosts a three-day event for its subscribers and partners called XeroCon. This year it will be held in Austin, TX.

The dates for this annual event are December 5 (PreCon), 6 and 7 (XeroCon). These dates are Tuesday through Thursday.

If you register now, you get entry into both “official” convention days (December 6 and 7), plus the official Wrap Party on the evening of December 7, for $249.00.

Click the pig picture to go to the XeroCon website.

QuickBooks Payroll Options

Intuit offers the following payroll options for QuickBooks Online (QBO) and QuickBooks Desktop (QBD).

QBO (Both options integrated)

  • Enhanced Payroll – You process, e-file, and e-pay federal/state taxes/returns. Drawbacks: You have to do your own setup, and you can’t upgrade to full service later.
  • QuickBooks Full Service Payroll – The name says it all; except for DIY processing Intuit handles everything else (taxes, returns, e-file, e-pay, W2s). Includes free setup. But it is more expensive.

QBD Both the options below integrate with QBD, and with both you’ll print your own payroll checks or do direct deposit. Also note that QBD Enterprise Gold includes an Enhanced Payroll subscription, and direct deposit is free.

  • Enhanced Payroll – You process, e-file, and e-pay federal/state taxes/returns. Unlike QBO, with this option in QBD you can upgrade later.
  • Assisted Payroll – DIY processing with Intuit handling all taxes, returns, e-filing, and e-payments.

Third Option

Intuit Full Service Payroll (IFSP) is another Intuit product that does not integrate with either QBO or QBD. However, you can export a data file to update either QBO or any version of QBD. Only IFSP allows you to pay subcontractors and file 1099s. Other services remain the same as Full Service Payroll for QBO.


Free Class: Intro to Accounting & Bookkeeping

Royalwise Solutions is offering a free class for business owners. Below is the description from their website:

Entrepreneurs and new business owners are experts in their field and have a passion for what they do…but if they were good at bookkeeping, they would have become bookkeepers! This class is a great introduction to the business behind business. What do you need to know about record-keeping in order to succeed? We’ll look at: The importance of good record keeping, saving receipts, bookkeeping options like QB, web-based systems including QBO and Xero, using an iPad to write up estimates in the field, using an iPhone to take credit cards, when do you need a bookkeeper. Estimates to invoices to payments. The world of QB apps like Tsheets for timecards and for A/P.

You can watch the class live, or watch a recording later. Register at the bottom of this web page.

Best SaaS Company: Xero

Xero has been named the Best SaaS company by the Cloud Computing Awards program. The program is seven years old, and “celebrates excellence and innovation in the rapid-growth cloud computing market. The awards program accepts entries from across the world, from organizations of all sizes.”

Xero itself was founded 10 years ago, and currently employs more than 1,600 team members worldwide. It is the second largest cloud accounting program in the United States (surpassed only by QuickBooks Online).

And the Winner is…Xero

QuickBooks Desktop to Disappear

QuickBooks Online (QBO) inspires both love and hate. Long-time users of QuickBooks Desktop (QBD) who almost fully utilize its advanced features usually hate QBO. QBO users, on the other hand, love the convenience of secure, real-time, anywhere access to their books.

Unfortunately, as anyone who works with Intuit products can easily discern, Intuit is focusing its efforts on QBO. Most industry analysts expect that, as QBO improves, QBD will eventually disappear.

Charlie Russell with the Accountex Report has written a series of articles that constitute an in-depth analysis. Here are the first two.

  1. Intuit and the Future of QuickBooks
  2. QuickBooks Online is the Future for Intuit

NEW Facebook Users’ Groups

Today I launched two new Facebook groups – one for QuickBooks Online (QBO) users, and one for Xero users. Membership in both groups is restricted to residents of Huntsville, or another town in north Alabama. Please note you must be logged into Facebook to access these links.

In these groups, we’ll answer member questions and share tips and tricks for each cloud-based accounting app.

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NEW QuickBooks Online & Xero User’s Group

On Thursday, February 24, 2017, we’re launching a user’s group for QuickBooks Online and Xero. Initially we’ll meet once a month in Huntsville, Alabama, with plans to split it into two separate monthly meetings (one for QBO and one for Xero) if there’s enough interest.

If you live in the Huntsville area and would like to attend, because space is limited we strongly encourage you to RSVP by visiting our page.

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