Migration your accounting work from paper to paperless (such as cloud based accounting software) would usually take up some time but the payoffs are worth for doing it. The best practices for any small business is to have a timetable and stick with such timeline.
The best practices
Set a viable date. First you should consult with your business partners and staffs and figure out the date. You may have to backwards to map out a schedule for the migration. This way, at least your employees will appreciate it as a warning sign for a rough transition period.
Use the cloud to back-up the required data. You may still store your documents on hard drives and/or USB sticks. But technologies nowadays are much more advanced. Using cloud based back-up solutions are no longer uncommon practice. Dropbox, SharePoint, Google Drive, One Note, etc enable your company staffs to access any backed-up files from anywhere as long as they can use a web browser.
You must allow for temporary productivity and/or performance dips. The best way is to prepare and arrange the transition during a low-volume (or quieter) work period. It is probably not going to be the year end. Also, in order to produce normally during the very busy period, consider hiring temporary staffs.
Your staffs must be given sufficient training. The focus of training should be tilted towards digital. The more advanced knowledge they have on digital products, the more efficient they will be able to work.
The competitive edge with cloud based accounting software
You want to ensure to minimize the use of paper in your office, or get to the point that there is no paper use any at. This will practically give you a competitive advantage over your competitors who have not yet fully migrated into digital.
One example: Imagine you can mark bills paid online in Xero (which is a fast uprising and very commonly used accounting software). The best fact is that Xero Accounting is completely cloud based. This allows you to be totally paperless.
Another example: You should become a good leading example. Start sending quotes, invoices and files electronically. Encourage all your clients to keep up with this type of practice.
Once you eliminate most (or even all) of the paper from your office, your entire daily operations will quickly become much more organized and efficient.
One obstacle is that your own staff members may resist the change to paperless operations. You may make it easier for your employees to adapt. Instead of forcing the change, first you should explain the benefits behind your paperless plan.
Ask your employees for input and suggestions. Agree on a schedule that allows sufficient time to adapt.
During the initial period, schedule regular follow-ups to listen to challenges your employees may have encountered and show them your support.