How to run a complete paperless business

Here at inLIFE we not only like to hang ten on the fast moving board of web technology.. but if it doesn’t exist yet we set about creating it.

With this in mind our aim is to run a completely paperless business, not just because were super techno geeks but more importantly making sure we meet our planet friendly vision in running a green environmentally friendly company.

So here’s how we do it.

Customer Contacts : Our entire customer contact database is stored on the cloud using Google Apps for business. This has improved business efficiency allowing us access from anywhere on any computer securely and also means we don’t need endless filing cabinets of paper records. Another great benefit of this is it is auto synced from anywhere so we can access customer contact details direct from our iPhone, iPad or desktop.. if we change a number or email address assigned to that customer then changes are instantly made across all platforms so we are up to date in real time. This is also regularly backed up should we loose our digital copy.

Communication : All customer communications are done via phone, email or skype. We have so far never had to send a letter and the only time we can perceive ever having to do this is if regarding anything of legal matters through a solicitor (due to the legal system still being rather backwards and mundane)

Documents : Our documents and files are of utmost importance to us, not only our personal files but all client documents and designs created have to be stored in a 100% secure yet accessible way. Again storing files and print outs in filing cabinets just seems a bit… stone-age. All inLIFE documents are stored on a shared server that developers and designers have access to with different access login details for each. We can again access this via mobile phone, ipad or desktop from anywhere in the world securely. We use Google Docs (as part of Business Apps) to write all word documents, excell sheets and slideshows, we can then give access rights to other users (even externally) in order for them to view, edit or amend these themselves.

Backups : We believe the current industry standard method of keeping backups and tapes is still a little non environmentally friendly also not completely fool proof. So all files are backedup direct to a cloud based backup service known as Carbonite.

Carbonite is always running and always backing up every file every second in real time. We can again access these backed up files from any platform anywhere, further fuelling our statement.. the world is our office.


Bank & Payments : We have a green bank account with HSBC doing all our banking online. Our accountant also has full access to our online business banking system meaning no need for printed statements. This also allows us and our accountant to work quicker and efficiently without the need for tirelessly passing paper statements backwards and forwards. All our payments are either made via BACS or paypal, we have no cheques. If paying in person we can even do this via mobile phone using the Paypal app to bump phones and instantly send payment to the other person.

Invoicing & Reports : For this we use a very popular and secure online system known asFreshbooks. Invoices can be created on the spot from iPhone, iPad or desktop they are auto styled and emailed out allowing the invoice to be paid online there and then via credit card or paypal. Invoices are tracked along with expenses and all reports are generated for balance sheets, corporation tax and more. Automated invoices are set to go out once a year for hosting accounts and all stored again on the cloud allowing us 100% secure access from anywhere in the world. This system also allows us to input all expenses from the iPhone app making sure we never forget to add on that fuel bill.

The Desk : Pens are banned in our office. If notes need to be taken they are done so on iPad or iPhone, all notes are then auto synced to the cloud again meaning we can view them from anywhere in the world from any platform. When sketching out a rough sample of how something should look as designers often do we use the Brushes iPad app (all employees have iPads). Our calendar and appointments are also all ran online using Google apps which again syncs across all phones and platforms meaning everyone knows where everyone else is at any one time. We have an iPad sitting on the desk showing the calendar and this also has built in alerts and reminders to email us and pop up on mobile to help us never miss an important meeting.

Tasks : Individual employee tasks are all set using Google Tasks (as part of Google business apps) which allows us to review, add and amend tasks via desktop or even on the go via the iPhone App GTasks Pro. All tasks can be set deadline and are then ticked off when completed.

On the move : When travelling all tickets are purchased either online or via iPhone apps. When going to meetings and taking notes this is also done on iPad which instantly syncs with every other platform meaning designers can start reading notes on the company we are developing for before we have even left the meeting.

Contracts : Contracts are digitally signed through signatures and online confirmation. Plus an email trail of all contracts and discussions are kept for written validation. Again meaning we need nothing ‘signing’ yet these are still legally binding.

In summary that’s how we run the majority of our business without having touch a single piece of paper, and also more efficiently than any other business model out there allowing us to securley access everything.. from everywhere.

It’s worth mentioning that when discussing this with clients a lot of people seem to get quite defensive over paper, making statements like they could not possibly run their business without it, and everyone ‘expects’ a paper copy or contract. Our response to this is that just because its the way something has always been done, doesn’t mean its right. We also believe we are ahead of the game in this field and within 30 years no company will be issuing paper copies of anything.