Paperless office - any issues?


I have a sheet feed scanner and shredder on their way from Amazon in the hope of going paperless for my home and business paper work. For those that have done it, have any issues arisen due to being paperless (providing information to Tax inspectors/Accountants comes to mind but I suspect there maybe others)?

Office Administration

asked Sep 15 '11 at 22:29
Lloyd S
1,292 points

2 Answers


I too have strive to live in a land free of paper. I am not sure of the environmental benefits when offset with all the electricity I use, nor am I convinced that it dramatically increases my productivity. I do it cause it is one of those geeky things that I like to do.

Kind of like those folks that go overboard trying to get the highest mpg.

Anyway what have I learned?

  1. Not everyone shares my goal. Yes it is true. Not everyone has drunk
    this particular Koolaid. My business partner still uses paper. He
    also insists that we have signed original copies of contracts and
    agreements. He can be old fashion like that. Sometimes I will need
    to print things and get them signed and then re-scan them into my "file cabinet" -- annoying. But the reality of working with other people.
  2. It does not make me morally superior. I have learned that it is not helpful to ever explain to others that my challenge in working in their paper system is because I have chosen to go paperless. they hear it as a sermon. Sermon are rarely helpful in the business context.
  3. Don't drown in a sea of solutions. So many options all with a critical differentiator. Like a kid in a candy store I want to try everything. This is deadly. I have found that picking a solution and working it fully is the best. Switching back and forth so that different platforms. The
    simplicity of Dropbox and Evernote is where I have landed.
  4. Printing something out is not failure. You are headed to a "closing meeting" -- and having a contract for them to sign is important. Yes-- perhaps they will want to do an electronic signature. But you also want to do what is commfortable for them-- and closing the deal is the most important. So -- humble yourself and print off an agreement, using the printer is not failure. (You can scan it back in with the signature later. . . he he)
  5. Carry a writing Instrument. See item number one. Can't tell you how many times I have gone to close an agreement -- and not had a pen to give the client to sign. Embarrassing. By the way: They call them "pens" or "pencils". (Asking someone if they have a stylus to sign the paper service agreement results in weird looks)
answered Sep 16 '11 at 00:48
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points
  • Thanks Joseph, thats helpful. – Lloyd S 13 years ago


  • Talk to your local Taxman. The requirement to keep original receipts and acceptability of electronic records will depend upon your jurisdiction(s).
  • Keep off site backups (But you knew that anyway. Obviously a hard disk failure / fire / computer theft will put more pressure on your business).

I'm currently trying this too. I use:

  • JungleDisk (would also consider Spider Oak) for nightly off-site backups.
  • EverNote for searchable client meeting notes, design notes, etc.
  • An ancient version of QuickBoooks for accounting
  • A large filing cabinet for all the receipts / statements / etc. which I have to keep for tax purposes.
  • Two large monitors, so I can refer to one document while working on another. (This has substantially reduced the amount of stuff I need to print out).

Remember there's a space-time trade-off: personally I find scanning stuff takes too much time: scanned statements etc. will generally never be referred to again unless a problem arises, so I don't need them instantly accessible and just file the paper copy.

answered Sep 16 '11 at 14:25
946 points
  • Cheers Mike, will take a look at JungleDisk, currently use dropbox but suspect I may run out of space on that. – Lloyd S 13 years ago

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