Paperless – Is It a Realistic Goal

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by Barry C Picker, CPA/PFS, CFP


Paperless, paperless, paperless. It’s all the rage. We have to get rid of paper. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it. I would love to get all the stuff in our filing cabinets into electronic format and shred, shred, shred.


But I’ve concluded that instead of striving for making my life paperless, I will instead set a goal of being paper less.


The reality is, people work in different ways and in some cases, for some people, working with paper is easier. If I’m making a list of what everyone wants to order from takeout, writing it on paper is faster and easier than typing it on a smartphone although I will admit that dictating it into a smartphone may even be easier. Speaking of admission and dictation I’ve determined that my writing goes faster when I compose on paper which is why the original of this is being handwritten. There seems to be a better flow of ideas and it’s much easier to cross out or insert another word. I then dictate the written document into the computer. Works for me, might not work for others.


When preparing and reviewing tax returns, a main component of our business, some in our firm find it easier to work on paper documents, others like to work off computer screens. Various factors come into play not the least of which is vision.


So as we are presented with more options to forgo paper, from bank statements credit card or utility bills, etc., there’s no one answer that fits all. There are a number of options to be paper less. One option is to get documents in electronic form or create documents electronically, read newspapers and magazines online, and never see paper. Another option is to get or create documents in paper form, then scan and shred; newspapers and magazines, read and recycled, or possibly saved.


Don’t let the concept of paperless force you to be less productive, or less comfortable. Go with what works for you.

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