Going paperless means barriers are being reduced or eliminated, the most significant of which is the reduction of the time barrier. A paperless system gives you and others that you authorize complete access to your filing system no matter wherever you, your files and other authorized users are. Just think of it as two months more vacation time each year.

How Does Paperless Work?

Paperless is the conversion of paper into an electorincally readable document. The most common of these is the “pdf” (portable document format) file. Typically, a scanner is used to turn the paper into a PDF file and operates much like a fax machine except instead of sending the pages over a phone line, it sends the pages into a PDF file that is stored on your computer. Once on your computer, you can read it using a free programme like Adobe Reader (available for download at If you want to alter this document, you must purchase a PDF programme from anyof a list of suppliers including Adobe ( and Nuance ( or you may choose to find free-ware. We understand that is a reliable site to find open source software. Just go to the site and key in your search. If you are going to select a product, try one that has thousands of download as it will likely be more reliable than a product with only a few downloads.

Once you have the document in the computer you will need some way of storing it in a manner that you can easily find it. This means that the file must be properly named and saved whre it can be easily found. This can be a simple folder system on your hard drive of you can go to a document management system. With a manual folder system, you must be very careful what you name the file and which folder you put it in. A document manager takes care of the tracking and “filing” but guides you with the file naming following a rigid series of naming steps. This reduces your time as it eliminates the filing process from your duties and it helps ensure that the file can again be found.

So now that all your former paper documents are now on your computer, you will want to share the files with your coworkers.You will likely decide to put the files on a server and grant access to all your co-workers in the office through a local area network. While doing this, you will likely also find that some of the software you are using does not run properly off a server and must be installed on each individual computer. The data files can then be accessed off the server or copied onto your local drive.

Once you have gone through these steps you now look into how you can link offices or remote work sites. If you are a single office and you have given you employees the option of telecommuting, there are two alternatives. They can either remote into their machines at the office from their home computers and work using their home machines as an access terminal. Or they can load all of the software onto their home machines and access the data on the office server.

How much time does it take out of your day to go to your car (or bus), drive to the office, park and walk into you office. Repeat the same procedures for the return trip home. If you average 1.2 hours per day to do this, you invest 320 hours per year or roughly 2 work months per year in commuting. This time can be saved by telecommuting and used for what ever you think would be a more valuable investment of your time. If you are concerned about the environment, consider the reduction of your environmental footprint by telecommuting. Lastly, as only an accountant would point out, consider the savings, not only on a personal level though the elimination of commuting costs, but also in the reduction of costs in the office as your workspace and support services are reduced or eliminated.

A telecommuter cannot socialize around the traditional water cooler but there are a number of options that keep the telecommuter live with the office and these do not have to be expensive. Skype ( is free computer to computer communication package with over 500,000,000 world wide users. With this you can see which of your workmates and contacts are on their computers. Communicating with them by voice is just a click away. Personalize it with a web cam for a face to face or include several at once with conference call features. There are numerous collaborative software programmes available, a number of which are free, that will enable you, or others, to remote into your or their computers so you can both see and work on the same issue at the same time. Supervision does not get any more direct than this.

You could also Skype as your means of receiving calls from outside callers so your work location is seamless to the outside world.

To find the following software, click on the links below:

PDF writers and readers –free and commercial
Remote access – free and commercial
Collaboration software – as explained in Wikipedia –

Difference between Collaborative Management Tools vs. Collaborative Project Management Tools

Collaborative Project Management Tools Collaborative Management Tools
In addition to most CMT examples, CPMT also includes:

CMT facilitate and manage social or group activities.

Examples Include: