I was at a Bridport Business event recently and was reminded of one of the advantages of the cloud that I haven’t mentioned before.

And that advantage is the reduction of our environmental impact.

Firstly it reduces the amount of paper waste we produce. In traditional firms, with lots of letters, draft accounts, and tax returns being sent out, amended and replaced, lots and lots of paper is used.

Secondly, paper is not the only environmental cost, it also needs to be transported. From the post box to the sorting office and out to you. Often this solicits paper based replies too, or the return of some document or other. So that goes back into the postal system and it all starts again.

One of the joys of the cloud is that this can be drastically reduced, if not eliminated altogether. First of all in Xero itself, I rarely send paper invoices instead choosing to email them.

Not only does this reduce paper and postage, this also has the benefit that we can setup payment services like Paypal and include a link so that we can be paid electronically. No need for cheques that flow around the postal system and sit for days neither in your account or ours.

You can also attach any electronic document to a Xero transaction, so that PDF invoice can be attached to your system, there’s no need to print it out, and still have it at your finger tips.

Our most environmentally beneficially tool has to be IRIS OpenSpace. Similar in nature to Google Drive, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive, we can upload any document to OpenSpace and request electronic approval. This eliminates any need to send Tax Returns or other documents across the country, or even to other countries. Not only is it something we can use, you can use it too, popping documents into a secure folder for us to retrieve at our end.

No need for stamps, travel or paper to get involved anywhere, so dramatically dropping our environmental impact while also increasing our efficiency.

Now if only HM Revenue & Customs would correspond through email…

Author: Steve Lincoln

Forward thinking accountant and cloud accounting champion, Steve believes all businesses should benefit from the better service made possible by the new technology.

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