It’s almost impossible to imagine a business that doesn’t use papers—a decade ago maybe. Or if you’re a traditionalist with stiff organizational beliefs.
In the present-day situation, however, this is an absolute myth. The proof is in our lifestyle.
We’re living in a world where everybody loves to shop online and pay with credit cards. Paper receipts? Nah, we get email order and payment confirmations.
Freelancers, remote teams, and inter-continental business collaborations have changed the shape of the global workforce. How do they do financial transactions? How do they clock in? How do they sign deals and seal contracts? It’s all about going paperless in the office—there are thousands of apps out there that can carry these out.
A lot of businesses nowadays, ranging from insurance firms to retail stores to technology (of course), function just as excellently without any tangible paper forms.
We should know, we’re one of them.
Even traditional businesses have tapped technology to make their everyday workflow easier. In fact, they have admitted to being more efficient, productive—and profitable—in the process. You’ll get the proof of this claim in the next section.
The Hidden Costs of Paper-Dependency
When you think about it, it’s just paper.
How expensive can paper get? Especially if you only have a small company with only several departments.
But I think you may have missed the indirect costs that paper has on your office budget. Here let me enumerate a couple of them:
Additional office equipment: printers, faxes, photocopiers, paper shredders
The supplies that go with it: folders, paper clips, pens, highlighters, etc.
Paper filing and storage costs including cabinets and additional office space
- Each four-drawer file cabinet holds an average of 10,000 to 12,000 documents, takes up to 9 square feet of floor space and costs $1,500 per year.
Costs of paper recycling and disposal
- 45% of the paper printed in offices ends up trashed by the end of the day–this daily lifespan occurs for over a trillion sheets of paper per year, worldwide.
Abuse of paper printing
- 79% of professionals use office resources for personal use
See. If you limit your dependency on paper even just a bit, you can surely stop allocating budget for these items.
The hidden costs of paper don’t stop here, though.
There are productivity and efficiency-related cost implications of a paper-based management system. Here are some of them.
Inefficiency of finding a paper document
- A typical employee spends 30-40% of his time looking for information locked in filing cabinets–filing costs average about $20 per month.
Additional staff needed to handle the paper system
- An average document is copied 9 to 11 times and every 12 filing cabinets require an additional employee to maintain.
Risk of losing data
- Each misfiled document costs $125. Each lost document cost $350 to $700 – large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds.
- More than 70% of today’s businesses would fail within three weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper-based records due to fire or flood.
Inconsistent or imprecise data collection
- The average benchmark for errors in manual data entry is 1%
Inability of using data instantly results to less effective decision-making
Did these stats make you want to start a paperless revolution at your company?
Awesome if they did!
To encourage you to make the switch even more, you can check out this ROI Calculator which will tell you two things:
- The annual savings that you’ll get if you ditch your filing cabinets
- The annual savings that you’ll get if your employees can find and retrieve documents from a PC instead of a filing cabinet
Benefits of Saving the Sheets
Let’s round up how going paperless in the office can help.
Starting with the obvious, going paperless helps you save time, money, and office space. On top of the savings, you also get a decluttered working area, one that’s free of paper mess.
Second, a paperless system helps improve everyone’s efficiency. Compared to searching from drawers of paper files, conveniently sitting on your desk and hitting your keyboard sound heavenly.
Searching and filing documents in your computer is easier and faster, and no doubt your employees will favor this over the other.
Another reason is the risk mitigation that comes with a paperless environment.
You can only do so much in securing your printed documents. You can lock the drawers, reinforce the doors with a lock code, but it only takes a second for someone to take a picture of the document. Remember, everybody has smartphones.
Whereas, with an online document management solutions, there are encryptions and SSL that can protect your data—and they’re hard to break. A paperless system’s data redundancy and safe storage also wins over the traditional practice of storing papers.
Lastly, you’re going green and pleasing our planet when you get picky in using paper.
So, What Should You Do Next?
Now that you have a solid grip about how advantageous it would be for your company to do away with paper forms, what should be your next move?
1. Account your paper usage
Figure out where you use papers. Here’s a rundown of the common examples to get you started:
- Customer billing
- Receipts and invoices
- Application and registration
- Shipping and sales invoice forms
- Work orders, balance sheets, and payroll sheets
- Toilet papers (kidding, you can keep them)
Once you have figured these out, you can pick the paper group which you want to eliminate first.
2. Work on your plan of action
After deciding on the paper that you want to eliminate first, it’s time to plan your course of action.
If you’re having doubts in migrating a workflow that directly involves your clients, go for the easy tasks first. Dip your toes by doing a test run with your own team.
Start with your internal workflow: Use online forms in automating your day-to-day tasks.
- Tracking your product inventory? File it online using this Inventory Form
- If you’re still manually reporting issues to your IT department, try this online Issue Form Tracker
- Actively looking for new members? Try this Membership Form
Once you got over your fear of transitioning to a paperless environment, try exploring advanced cost-effective solutions in running your business.
Automating your online orders and payments will increase your productivity and revenues.
Or, if you don’t have time to create a comprehensive online form, we can create one for you via our Customworks Service.
With Customworks, we can clone any paper form to digital form(yes, they’re going to be fillable). Set up team collaboration on your forms. Integrate payment systems to automate your processes. And you’ll get premium and dedicated support, making it a total win for you.
Paperless automation lets you run your business efficiently. It’s all about helping your employees grow your company more by reducing their workloads, making their jobs easier and giving them more meaningful tasks to work on.
Don’t also forget that the whole world is being modernized by the second. Don’t let your business get left behind!