Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Break the Addiction to Paper

OK, there are a lot of you out there who are addicted to paper.  Come on, admit it.  You know who you are.  I know who you are and you aren't kidding anyone.  I know you're addicted.  You just love to print, print, print.  And if I'm your bookkeeper, you know you can't hide your addiction from me.  I see the piles of paper when they appear on my desk at the end of the quarter or end of the year.

You feel that every time you make a purchase for your business (or even for personal needs) online or pay a bill online, you need to print out the receipt or confirmation as proof of the transaction.  Your motives are correct.  But the execution needs improvement.

Paper sucks up resources, both in the form of money and time.  And if you are trying to be eco-conscious, you're not doing it right.

First let's talk about the money.  Printing to paper costs money in the form of paper, ink/toner and the added electricity to run the printer.  Then you have to buy something to keep all that paper in whether it be a box, file folders or binder(s).  Then you get to pay your bookkeeper (that's me) added time to organize and review all those pieces of paper.

Now, time.  In my world, there are only 24 hours in a day and I'm betting it's the same in your world (if you have found more, we gotta talk!).  Printing to paper costs time.  First, there is the added seconds waiting for the printer to spit out the document.  Those seconds of time over and over add up to a lot of time spent waiting on paper.  And that's if your printer works properly.  If it doesn't respond or worse, jams up, you've lost even more time trying to get a record of that receipt.

Then what do you do with that piece of paper?  First you probably throw it into a pile with all the other pieces of paper that are similar.  You hope that in that giant pile of paper, all the receipts for similar purchases will somehow magically make friends with each other and sort themselves.  Doesn't happen.  Trust me.

So then you have to spend more time sorting and organizing the paper.  More time lost and time is money.  Hint:  your bookkeeper (again, that's me!) charges by the hour. :)

Ok, so if you're still with me and have read this far, what is the solution?  Do you need a 12-step program?  Inpatient or outpatient?  Will your insurance pay?  Is Dunder-Mifflin to blame?  WWMSD?? (What Would Michael Scott Do?)

I've got really good news for you!!

The solution is easy!  And FREE!  Yes, you read that right.  EASY and FREE!  We love those words, don't we.

On every computer that you work on, you need to download a simple and free program that installs a pdf printer to your system.  It is called Cute PDF and it is a completely safe and highly recommended program.  Myself and many of my computer and accountant buddies have used it for years. Once installed, every time you print, you will see it as a choice of printers.  Simply choose the CutePDF printer instead of that nasty ol' money/time-sucking printer you've used in the past.  Then a box will pop up and you can choose where to save the pdf file and what to name it.

In an upcoming post I will discuss the best methods for naming, storing and backing up the plethora of pdf files you will accumulate as you get used to your new stream-lined method for receipt & confirmation notices.

Stay tuned!



  1. Cathi,

    Great point and post! Congrats on your new blog! I just finished reading yours posts and learned something new in this one and ever other one you posted! Just another reason I love using you for my accounting! Your always on the cutting edge!!

    The Gentle Bath & Company

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