Even though I just moved into new physical office space, my business has never been more paperless.
It’s true that I’m out of the home office and sub-leasing a space of my own downtown.
But I’ve recently discovered some tools that are helping to lessen my need for filing cabinets, storage boxes, etc.
If you run a business of your own, or if you’re simply looking for some tools to help you organize some of your financial documents, check out my suggestions (and add you own in the comments):
Dropbox – This online storage service has really been making a name for itself over the past couple of years. It currently has the 3rd most “watchers” on SecondMarket.com. They get $9.99 a month from me for their Pro 50 (50 GB of space) service.
I don’t keep any business or personal files on my computers anymore. I keep them in my Dropbox. So it doesn’t matter if I’m on my work PC, my MacBook at home, or my iPhone on the go, I can access any of my files, anytime.
I’m even starting to transfer a lot of my physical files (like the various forms generated when starting a new business, our old tax returns, car titles, marriage license, mortgage documents, and more) to Dropbox.
Dropbox has a free service (which I used for some time) if you’re interested in trying them out: Try Dropbox 100% Free!
Scan Pages iPhone App – Another tool I use to help create my virtual office is the free mobile app, Scan Pages from Ricoh.
I have a single-sheet flatbed scanner (as part of my 3-in-1 printer), but it lacks two key features: the ability to join multiple scans into one PDF, and the ability to quickly email the document or send it to the archives in Dropbox.
The Scan Pages app solves these problems for me. Using my camera phone, I scan documents, clean them up, join then with other scans, and then send them off to wherever I need (email, Dropbox, Evernote, or Google Docs).
EchoSign – I have to thank Will Chen of Wise Bread for introducing me to this service. I use EchoSign to get documents signed digitally. I’ve used it to request a Form W-9 from contractors that work with me. I’ve also signed freelance writing documents using EchoSign. I plan to start using this service for my own freelancer agreements as well.
Quickbooks Online – My accountant had me create an account with Quickbooks Online and each month my banking information is dumped into this service. My accountant categorizes most of my expenses each month (I log on to clear the “un-categorized” items).
When it comes time to file my taxes, my accountant has everything he needs to complete my returns quickly. The service is also useful for so many other things, which I’ve yet to explore. I plan to start using the invoicing features this year.
I also use Google Docs for most of my document creation these days. That’s where I keep all the spreadsheets that I use to track my business. That’s also what I’ve been using to do invoices.
We live in a pretty amazing time. You can run a virtual, paperless business, or keep your financial records “in the cloud” basically free of charge.
What tools are you using to organize your personal or business financial records?