In this age of grave concern, both over environmental awareness but also over overall business efficiency, you hear more and more companies claiming to be “paperless.” You’ll even hear it from HOA groups and HOA management companies—including Kuester. But how feasible is this, really? Is it truly possible for your HOA to go to a Paperless Community — or is that just a bunch of empty hype?

To be fair, it’s a lot easier to go paperless if you’re backed by the resources of a professional association management company like Kuester, where web-based invoicing systems and internal communication tools can help you eliminate a lot of waste. Beyond those tools, though, there are a few practical steps you can take to cut back on that unnecessary paper trail.

1. The first step—and perhaps the most obvious—is to switch to e-mail HOA communications. This may seem like a no-brainer, and, unless you’re running an association in the Stone Age, you probably do a lot of your correspondence by e-mail already, but don’t restrict it to one-on-one communication. Also use e-mail for distributing things like the community newsletter, or the directory; the price of printing hard copies of these documents can really add up, and besides, having an e-mail copy means your residents are less likely to forever lose or misplace these vital files.

2. Keep your website up to date, and use it not just as a depository of general information but also of printable reference documents, such as the governing papers of your association; this will prevent you from being flooded with requests for hard copies, saving you time and money.

3. Seek vendors that offer electronic invoices for their services. Not all of them will, but it never hurts to ask; doing all your accounting electronically will dramatically cut back on wasted paper.

4. Conduct voting online, rather than using paper ballots. It’s more efficient, and arguably easier to keep track of!

5. Store all of the associations’ record electronically. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you back everything up properly on multiple discs, to prevent loss, but there’s no denying that this is not only less wasteful but ultimately easier to search than paper documentation.

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