If paper is the No. 1 source of office clutter, "going paperless" is the solution. And the drive toward the paperless office as a means of boosting productivity has resulted in numerous apps aimed at reducing paper clutter, says Linda Chu, Vancouver-based spokeswoman with Professional Organizers in Canada.
But with so many options out there, you often have to try them out to see what applies well to your business.
"People really have to look at their personal habits, extract from the app and find something that's personalized for them," Chu says.
Chu suggests trying these apps to help organize your business and digitize your paper trail:
Getting people together can be like herding cats, Chu says, with all their scheduling conflicts and prior commitments. Doodle cuts down the correspondence required to organize a meeting by using a communal calendar on which all parties can fill in their availability.
Once everyone has responded, Chu says, a collated report with the most popular available date is sent to the person managing the account. From there, you can send one email to everyone with the set date. This app can come in handy when organizing events or workshops.
Doodle: iPhone, Android
Many financial advisors log a lot of mileage out on the road, meeting with clients on their turf. Those hours and expense receipts can sometimes go uncaptured, Chu says, along with all the other details to account for on the job.
MileBug (along with similar apps such as TripLog and Driver's Note), has a built-in GPS, which tracks how many you have kilometres travelled for business.
Measuring exactly how much you use your car for work can help you keep accurate records of your business-related car expenses, which may come in handy when you file your income taxes, Chu says.
MileBug: iPhone, Android
TripLog: iPhone, Android
Driver's Note: iPhone, Android
> CamCard Free
How many times have you wound up with a fistful of business cards after a networking event? Although the Rolodex has long fallen out of fashion, people still often trade business cards. Now, there's a digital repository for all those cards collected, Chu says.
CamCard scans the card using your phone's camera, placing information — such as name and phone number — in appropriate fields. The app syncs that information to your computer, Chu says. It also searches for that person's LinkedIn profile so you can connect online.
"[CamCard] cuts down on your homework," Chu says. "It gives you the ability, right then and there, to email the person."
CamCard Free: iPhone, Android
Practically every app requires you to open an account, giving you a seemingly endless list of logins and passwords to remember. LastPass manages passwords for various sites, Chu says, replacing those handwritten lists.
LastPass: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry 10.31
> Receipts by Wave
If you come back to the office from business lunches and conferences with a pocket full of receipts, Chu recommends Wave, which functions like a personal bookkeeper.
Wave scans those receipts, compiles them and produces a downloadable Excel report, which you can then share with your accountant.
Receipts by Wave: iPhone, Android
Photo copyright: bloomua/123RF