If you resolved to reduce the amount of paper in your agency to save time, money and the environment, you’ve probably taken steps to implement the policy. Perhaps you’ve opted out of paper bank statements and vendor invoices, replaced your fax machine with electronic faxing and store documents in the cloud. Well done! But have you reached your paperless goal?
Here are some things to consider when putting paperless practices into action.
Project Management & Production
With all the electronic options available, there is no reason to bury your agency under paper when communicating assignments. There are many software systems available that will reduce (if not eliminate) the role of paper in your project management because tasks and assignments display on employee dashboards.
Do your project managers use a physical Kanban Board to manage production? Those sticky notes are tiny, but they can really add up. They can also get lost. Consider one of the many software options that can save paper while streamlining communications for your team.
Still printing Expense Reports?
Many agencies use forms and receipts to itemize and submit expenses for reimbursement, when there are simple solutions to avoid paper. Like Project Management systems, there are systems where Expense Reports can be electronically submitted. No more need to print them out. Employees can route Expense Reports with attached receipts directly to accounting, or first to their supervisor for approval. Even better, there are mobile app solutions that utilize a mobile device’s camera to easily capture expense receipts.
Client Billing & Approvals
A big reason it is a challenge to go 100% paperless is clients who must receive paper invoices. But that doesn’t mean you must use paper to get internal approval on billing. If draft invoices are still being printed, consider an accounting system with billing approval capabilities. A Billing Approval feature bridges communication between Account Managers and Accounting, automating the process, saving time as well as paper.
Do your employees support paperless efforts?
Don't assume your employees will figure out how to minimize paper by themselves. In fact, studies show 4 out of every 10 people prefer to print on paper. Those habits are hard to break. Printing attachments or downloads from your cloud storage can undermine your plan. Give employees clear instructions and guidelines on supporting your paperless efforts. Implementing process, systems and resources is a great start; be sure to make employees aware of them and provide training if necessary.
When employees must print something from one system to enter data into another it wastes paper and time (not to mention the possibility of human error). Why not make it simple for them? An integrated system supports a paperless agency because it connects Assignments to Timesheets, Media Orders to Billing and more – everything is in one place. For example, employees can enter time directly from their Assignment Dashboard, and Media Buyers can process orders directly from a Media Plan or Broadcast schedule. Not only does this save paper, it saves time!