Certified Public Accountants
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Green is the color of many shades

Some ideas on removing paperwork from your life

When it comes to going green, we don’t all have to be perfect to make a difference. The challenge is knowing what we can do effectively and how to implement the change. You may have seen an earlier article in SPSQ on how we’ve made some changes here at the office. Now we have some ideas on creating a paperless environment in your home.

Of course, the easiest way to manage your file cabinets from overflowing with paper is to become one of our Business Management clients, where we take care of all your financial and bill-paying needs. For everyone else, here are some things to consider…

Mailbox management

Find out if companies you do business with offer e-statements. Most of their websites have a paperless preference for your account. Keep a list or e-reminders of when the statements are due so you don’t miss a payment. One tip is to create a folder in your email inbox to collect all statements so they don’t get lost or neglected. You can also set up auto payments on your bank website for recurring payments that don’t change. And whether you go paperless or not, why not reduce junk mail by going to OptOutPreScreen.com?

Making file cabinets redundant

The general rule is to keep records for up to seven years, though there are exceptions. Make sure to check with us before you start shredding records. If you do turn your paper documents into PDFs (portable digital format) you will not only save space and trees, you’ll also be better protected in the event of fire, flood or other natural disaster. You will need a scanner and shredder. Organize paper statements and invoices by subject or payee and in chronological order. Then create folders on your computer to drop scanned docs into. When your paper docs are safely stored as PDFs, simply shred and recycle…and remember, never throw unshredded docs into the trash.

Keeping electronic documents safe and secure

You will need to keep a back up copy of your documents off site in case something happens to your computer such as fire or theft. Back up once a week or more in either a portable, external drive that you keep off site or use a reputable web-based resource such as Carbonite, Windows Live SkyDrive or Mozy.

This may all seem daunting to implement but you can do it and we’re happy to help walk you through it. You will be helping yourself by clearing away all of that paper and helping the environment at the same time.

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