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Goal to Go Paper-Free in 2016? Here's How to Actually Do It

Square
Editorial Team

With the recent U.N. climate change resolution, reducing waste is top of mind these days. And as a business, you can do your part. One easy way to start is by eliminating paper, which is a bigger environmental culprit than you might think. The Paperless Project reports that each year more than 60 percent of timber harvested worldwide goes to making paper and pulp. That’s a lot of trees. Here are some simple ways you can keep your business and office paper-free in 2016.

Switch to digital receipts

Paper receipts most likely end up in the trash. So if you haven’t already, offer your customers the option to receive their receipts digitally. Square’s point of sale makes this easy. After you process a payment, the customer can enter an email address or phone number to get the receipt. Digital receipts have the added benefit of being easy for both you and the customer to reference in the future if you need to.

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Use digital invoicing software

Online invoicing is a much more convenient and less wasteful option for all parties involved. You can send digital invoices directly from the Square app and keep track of which vendors need to be paid and which ones still need to pay you, significantly cutting down on administrative time. What’s more, digital invoices tend to get paid a lot faster than paper invoices. Read more tips on how to make invoicing painless.

Digitize timecards and payroll

You can go paper-free with timecards and payroll, too. Just hook up your Square account to a digital timecard-tracking app in Square App Marketplace (like HomeBase, WhenIWork, or TSheets), which makes it easy for your employees to log their hours online (and for you to see them). Square Payroll also eliminates the paperwork for getting everyone paid, taking care of everything digitally, including the nitty gritty like deducting taxes for hourly employees). The tool is now available in California, Texas, and Florida, with more states coming soon.

Get an online appointment scheduler

Say good riddance to that bulky appointment book and post-it reminders. Square’s online scheduling software stays open even when you’re closed so that customers can book services online any time of day or night. It syncs with Google calendars so you can check availability from anywhere, and sends reminders to customers so they don’t miss appointments. (No more mailing appointment reminder cards.)

Take your marketing strategy online

Email marketing is less expensive and just as effective as direct mail campaigns, according to a Harvard Business Review study. Sending out periodic e-newsletters announcing sales and special offers, combined with staying on top of your social media channels, gives you a leg up with today’s consumers. Check out Square’s email templates, analytics, and other email marketing tools here.

Look to the cloud

Implement a cloud-based platform to store your business documents (think of it like a digital filing cabinet). Before you decide on a solution, make sure that it’s secure and fits your needs. It’s worth consulting with an IT or security professional to figure out which system is right for your business.

As for reporting and analytics, there’s no need for printouts kept in binders. With Square, you can access a wealth of information right within your Dashboard — things like sales and inventory reports by day, week, month, and year.

It only takes a few simple steps to significantly cut down on paper waste at your business. So as the year kicks off, carve a few minutes out of your day to set up some digital tools. The environment will thank you.

The Square Editorial Team is dedicated to telling stories of business, for business owners. Our team comes from a variety of backgrounds and share a passion for providing information that helps businesses to start, run, and grow. The team is based in San Francisco, but has collaborators all over the country.