I knocked on the door, stepped into the office, said “Good Morning everybody” and dropped off a file folder full of papers into the ‘Inbox’ and collected a new file folder of papers from the ‘Outbox’. Back in the hallway I placed the file folders into my cart and moved on to the next office. It was Monday morning and another boring day, heck another boring week, laid ahead of me.
That was 1988
I was in my first year of apprenticeship with the Winterhur Insurance company. Every morning and every afternoon I had to push this cart through the hallways of the 5 story office building to distribute and collect file folders. Then I’d travel with the elevator down to the basement where the copy room was located and where Martin, a middle aged bachelor and Head of the Copy Department, was waiting for me.
Two huge and incredibly noisy copy machines were filling up the room. The air was stale and dry and very dusty. The windows were small but the glare of the fluorescent bulbs lit up the room and made it feel cold and extremely unfriendly.
The race began, the goal was to copy all the papers as quick as possible to be able to distribute them in the early afternoon on my next round through the hallways.
What a change to today, right? We thought twice if we really wanted and needed a copy but even back then, actually years before already people had struggled with paperwork and were trying to find a solution for the paper problem.
In 1978, information scientist Frederick Wilfrid Lancaster had envisioned a paperless society in his book ‘Toward Paperless Information Systems’. The word “paperless office ” was born and while I was making copies day in and day out, we talked a lot about what that would mean. The prognosis was that soon we would not ‘kill’ any trees anymore to produce newspapers, books, contracts, policies, letters etc
How did it turn out?
Almost 40 years after Lancaster’s vision and 25+ years after my 3 month copy torment the world is a completely different place, although not paperless….. on the contrary!
Despite the so called Digital Age, where Emails and text messages are sent instead of letters, Kindle books are downloaded to our cellphone in lieu of Books put into our book shelves, where we read the latest news on our tablet instead of in a newspaper, the age of eBill, ePost, eCheck, eTransfer, Online Banking etc ….. we all still struggle with piles of paper, even more paper than ever before.
Take a look around your house and office, you probably see stacks of papers, bills, newspapers, and flyers. Maybe the papers are scattered all over the place, you keep some in your car, some under your bed, some in the bathroom, some lays on the (dirty) kitchen counter or even in the microwave?
Dealing with paperwork can be a daily struggle even if you are an organized person. It all gets even worse when you become an entrepreneur and have your own business, it takes on a whole new dimension.
In my 20+ years as an accountant I have seen many small business owners struggle with paperwork, feeling overwhelmed, procrastinate and having countless sleepless nights at tax season. That’s why I recently wrote this guide:
While I can’t promise you a paperless office, I can assure you, that if you implement my tips you’ll feel more in control and more confident. You’ll have more free time and mental capacity to focus on your passion. You’ll worry less, struggle less, save money, and tax season will be less painful (and your accountant will thank me too). Get your guide here