Can we Truly Live in a Paperless World?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog for TELUS about the benefits of working from what I call an “anywhere office.” Because of new innovations in mobile and cloud-based collaboration technologies, small business owners can now work from almost anywhere – eliminating the need to be in a physical office space or to have physical documents and files. So, does this mean that we will soon live in a truly paperless society?

Today, PayPal Canada shared the results of a Leger Marketing study which indicate that “71 per cent of Canadians are comfortable with never having to handle cash to make a purchase, up 27 per cent from 2011.” In addition, “a full quarter (25 per cent) of survey respondents go more than a week without using cash.” So, it would seem that the more we become comfortable relying on digital tools to process our payments and save all of our information, the more likely we are to reduce the amount of paper (or cash) that we use.

Yet, banking “paperwork” in its most literal form, is still a necessity. When I first signed up for a small business account with my bank, I decided that I’d go paperless and rely on my online account for all of my monthly statements. However, when tax season came around, I still needed to print out all of my monthly statements to give to my accountant. Ironically, I might as well have had my bank statements mailed to me in the first place.

So, until the banks and the government can allow me to access all of my statements online (without having to print-out copies down the line), I still need to keep paper files of all of my expenses for auditing purposes. Even though I’m very pro-digital, I’m still skeptical as to whether the world can truly go paperless. I do carry less cash around these days but still feel that I need some cash on hand for using the subway or for when I need to lend someone ten bucks. Maybe having a little cash/paper around is a good thing for now – especially in case of a zombie apocalypse. What do you think? Please share your perspective in the comments section below.

Image source: iStockPhoto.com

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