Dropbox and My Paperless Office Solutions

Dropbox Review and My Paperless Office SolutionsDo you find yourself moving towards the paperless office approach?

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’ve played around with other accounting software options (like the free tool inDinero), but I’m using QB because that’s what my accountant uses. You can try Quickbooks Online free for 30 days.

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?




Last Edited: March 26, 2013 @ 2:14 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

Comments

  1. For bookkeeping I strongly recommend @outright. Its very simple to use and works great. 

  2. I use Microsoft Office, the free version of Dropbox, and Quickbooks Pro. I store all of my documents on multiple hard drives and am considering setting up a home server so I can have network storage and a common access point for media files. I can see the appeal of keeping everything on the “cloud,” but I still like to have my files stored locally at home. I really do need to take a look at Google Docs though.
     
    Other than easy access for your accountant, are there any differences between Quickbooks Online and Pro?

  3. hmm, so you don’t mind the world checking out your business and personal documents I guess. End Sarcasm.
    Dropbox is bad choice for business documents, I think you are not aware of Dropbox snafu recently when everything was made public accidently. Yes, its free and you get what you pay for. If you really want, use encrypted backup service and access it anywhere you want. Thats safer, Dropbox is not.
     
    This is my verdict, you decide..

  4. SSmartFinance says:

    Great tips. Another simple solution would be to buy USB portable drive. I just bought 200 GB Western Digital drive for $75. I love it. You have an awesome blog. 

  5. carefulkaty says:

    A great post.  I shall be checking out dropbox and echosign on your say-so.  However, I’m leery of giving google access to my documents.  They already read my mail and all my web browsing… I’m currently very smitten with evernote, which I’m not paying for …. yet.

  6. WillChen says:

    Thanks for the mention PT! I’m glad you’re enjoying Echosign. 

  7. Have you seen Sean’s Location Rebel white paper about working remotely?  Definitely check it out: http://www.locationrebel.com/

  8. PT Money says:

    Are you able to separate biz and personal somehow?

  9. dropbox is overpriced compared to other services but there is no doubt it is very seamless and easy to use.
    they did indeed have an issue where the password you entered didn’t matter for a period of time.
    they also do not encrypt on your end so if a government/legal entity etc asked for access to your info they would hand it right over.
    i use dropbox to easily transfer items between pc’s, phones, etc but i use spideroak for anything else and as an offisite backup.

  10. Chris Wise says:

    Traditional file share resources do not work well with
    QuickBooks. As an alternative, please visit the website for Qbox and read about
    an application that was designed to work specifically with QuickBooks. (in
    addition to a handful of other file types)
    With Q Box, accountants and their client’s continue to use
    the same desktop version of QuickBooks. However, using Q Box, they have a
    locally hosted copy of the file that is continually synchronized with their
    remote client’s copy. In other words, no more sending QBW files back and forth,
    no more screen sharing, no expensive cloud hosting and no more
    downloading/uploading of QuickBook files.
    With Qbox, there is also a locking technology that avoids
    the creation of conflicting copies. Additionally, if you ever do end up with
    corrupted file (unrelated to Qbox) Qbox keeps ten different versions (updates)
    of the file so you can easily restore a previous copy with just a few clicks.