The Surprising Benefits of Going “Paperless”

We are all aware of the push to “Go Green” and be more environmentally conscious. As a result, Bradford has attempted to get our recordkeeping paperless in 2013. Cash receipts, accounts payable, monthly reporting packages, vendor W9’s, and even our lease files now reside on square-footage-friendly servers, instead of in row after row of filing cabinets. We realize what we are doing is pretty wonderful for the Earth’s environment, and it feels good to do our part, but it has also changed our office environment in several surprising ways. Access to the information we need has become immediate, efficient, and available to multiple users simultaneously. Preparation of the monthly reporting packages has become faster, and review more thorough as the preparer can confirm a payable’s coding, check a rent bump proration, and compare prior months’ utility usage all without leaving the desk. A Dallas Property Manager could begin a lease or report review in the Corporate office while waiting for a monthly meeting to begin, and complete that review later on a laptop or upon returning to the satellite office. Audit or information packages can be compiled in a matter of minutes from the electronic files, versus hours spent at the copier, wrestling with staples and praying there are no paper jams. Commercial real estate lease files are kept centrally located, anyone who needs access has it (brokers, managers, accountants) – virtually eliminating the finger-pointing and occasional fisticuffs over who last had possession of the central file copy. Furthermore, those files are backed up, automatically, every night, never to be lost again. In addition to the benefit of everything being in its place & easily accessible, there is one more thing worth mentioning. We are enjoying a cleaner, less cluttered workspace – and if you believe in the philosophy of “Feng Shui”, cleaner and less cluttered minds as well.  Personal spaces are more open, and desks are not buried under avalanches of paper. And perhaps the best benefit of all is reduced space needs – after year end we are evaluating conversion options for a large file room, it could be transitioned to more office space or if anyone were to ask for my thoughts, I would suggest a glorious in-house spa! Cat Rones is a Property Accountant with Bradford Commercial Real Estate Services.
November 21, 2013

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