(Sh)red tape: the 7 bits of business paperwork we’d love to destroy


Do you dream about slicing up printed forms and burning bank statements? Ever find yourself making origami swans out of all kinds of unnecessary administrative paperwork, when you could be spending that time growing your business? We know how you feel! But fear not: small businesses in Britain and further afield in the EU are looking forward to a future of reduced red tape, thanks to promising moves by governments to cut down on business admin. A lighter legislative touch is due to be applied to small, disruptive companies in order to break barriers to entry and help them thrive.

At SMB.co.uk, we’re delighted by these developments: we know that too much red tape can bind the hands of entrepreneurs – not just when it comes to employee management (though it has its fair share), but to all business functions. Overkill on printouts, forms and pointless documentation doesn’t just harm the environment, it stifles business growth. We prefer as little admin as possible and secure cloud document storage. So, in the spirit of paperwork slashing, we’ve put together a list of the top 7 documents that we (as entrepreneurs ourselves) know small businesses owners fantasise about shredding!

1. CVs and recruitment documents

Good employee management starts well in advance of a new start’s first day in the office. CVs and all recruitment related documentation should be saved securely using a cloud HR software tool. That way you’ll have a good record of the entire employee lifecycle and be able to improve your recruitment processes. Hire good staff; dump bad paperwork!

2. Meeting agendas and minutes

As if the meeting wasn’t time-consuming enough, you’re left with scribbled or hurriedly-typed notes to shuffle afterwards. In an increasingly cloud-based business world, where even physical meetings are being replaced by digital huddles, we can do without the extra hard copies.

3. Personnel files

Paper employee records have a habit of growing bigger than the employees themselves. Give them the chop (the files, that is, not the employees!) – if only to give your straining office shelves a rest.

4. Absence, holiday and sick leave requests

Absence management is one of the most complicated HR tasks when managed badly. If you’re over-reliant on paper and spreadsheets, it’s time to upgrade to an intelligent management tool that calculates holidays and displays allowances clearly – even for complicated shift patterns. Anything else should be consigned to the shredder.

5. Training programmes

With lots to keep under control, from employee requests for training, to the planning and implementation of learning programmes, it can feel like training management itself requires an intensive course in HR organisation. Why not switch to an intuitive online system and put all that pointless paper to better use by incentivising the workforce a staff origami competition.

6. Health and safety reports

Don’t get us wrong, health and safety is paramount in business management, but the EU has recognised the need to rethink requirements for small businesses. For example, the plan is for SMEs in low-risk sectors to no longer have to keep written health and safety records. Great news! We suggest the destruction of any newly-redundant paperwork in a (properly controlled and supervised) fire.

7. Invoices and bank statements

As with the previous entry, banking and finances are also crucial to any commercial enterprise. But paper statements and payment notices? No thanks. Cancel those hard copy statements and go digital. The planet – and your postie – will thank you.

Does ditching paperwork and embracing the smarter digital option sound appealing? Why not see how intelligent software can revolutionise your HR management – try a free 14-day trial of SMB.co.uk today!

Image thanks to Pixabay