VISUAL NEWSLETTER – AUG 2006                        




A number of years ago many experts were predicting a paperless society. In spite of this forecast, paper usage continues to rise. For reasons of cost and the environment it is recommended that we consider ways to reduce our paper consumption. These methods can also reduce the physical space required to keep paper copies and files. Some common methods include:


1)    Duplex Printing – a long report may require hundreds of sheets of paper. With Duplex Printing, that is printing on both sides of the page, this can be reduced to half as many pages. Duplex capable and Libra Compatible HP printers start at as little as $400. The HP 1320, 2420d and other models offer this feature at a reasonable cost relative to other printers.


2)    Reducing Copies – many companies have retained old methods of filing invoices and such that were established many years ago. It is prudent to examine whether you still need three copies of an invoice for internal purposes. Perhaps a short report for the plant manager would be more useful and require less paper.


The same logic could be applied to reports that are distributed to various managers. Do they still read them or has a onetime request become a monthly routine with no current purpose.


3)    Electronic Filing – the law now requires that we retain electronic records for 7 years for auditing purposes. This means that we can access data through our accounting system at any time. Reports that are filed just in case we may need to look at them may become redundant. If we can also reproduce an invoice or purchase order at any time, this may reduce the need to keep as many paper copies. Electronic storage is relatively cheap and data can be located more quickly than rummaging through a cabinet of paper files. When depending on electronic data be sure however that your backup and data recovery strategies are sound and reliable.


4)    Printing To Screen – Many reports are run simply to check the status of a customer or obtain some data that we need for another purpose. If we use File Inquiry or print the report to the screen or a spool file this data can be obtained without using any paper. It can also in many cases then be pulled into Excel or another program for further analysis, e-mailed, etc..


5)    Printing Totals Only – many reports are run in detailed mode, which may require a large number of pages just to obtain the final totals. Most Libra Reports have a Totals Only option that processes the data printing only the final page of totals thus saving considerable paper.


6)    E-Mailing Reports – many companies send multiple paper copies of reports to the bank, head office and the like. If these reports are printed to a Spool File they can be sent as Text files, PDF files or Excel files with a little data manipulation, which will save both paper and delivery/courier costs in many cases.


7)    Direct Deposits – instead of issuing cheques to your employees and larger suppliers you may want to consider Direct Deposit. This can save money spent on cheques, envelopes, stamps and bank clearing charges. The amount of money you can save increases with the number of employees on the program. Typical Payroll Direct Deposit Charges would be similar to:


$50.00 / month minimum charge

$10.00 / weekly file transmission

$   .10 / employee deposit


These charges vary substantially from bank to bank so you should investigate the costs before making any commitments. We have developed interfaces to all of the major banks from the Visual Payroll System to facilitate the transfers.


8)    Home Strategies – similar ideas can be applied at home as well. You can use electronic banking to pay your bills avoiding postage and/or trips to the bank. Many companies will, on your request, e-mail you copies of your bills, saving the additional envelopes and such while still allowing you to print a copy if you want to. Companies such as Rogers and Bell also provide One Bill features to combine Telephone, Internet, Wireless and Cable charges onto a single document again saving multiple envelopes and such. Automated Bill Payment can also save money by paying bills on the due date without worrying about last minute trips to the post office or the bank. You’re less likely to incur interest or late charges in this way as well.


Since these strategies can save paper, money and the environment as well, they are well worth considering as part of your daily routines at work and at home.