Financial Advantages of Going Paperless

Written By: Holly Condon

from December 11, 2013

The advantages of embracing electronic workflow are many. First and foremost, electronic workflow brings any organization squarely into the 21st century. Think of it this way – if it seems an organization is a little behind the times because oftyping up and printing out records, or even filling out forms manually, chances are other companies and individual customers the organization works with do too. This way, everyone involved can rest assured that the organization is making the most of the technology available to it.

Other perks can include freed up office space because you can get rid of those clunky, massive filing cabinets that can be a major eyesore in an otherwise cool workspace, or perhaps the fact that using document management software can enable all parties to have access to the same file at the same time, allowing work to be done quicker.

When invoices in particular make their way to the digital sphere, many organizations find there is lot of money to be saved. This way, businesses and their partners can sign off on the billing summaries within minutes, as opposed to waiting for hours or even days if the document has to be sent by courier or mail. The fiscal benefits are great, so why aren’t people taking advantage of this technology? There’s no one answer to explain why electronic systems aren’t present at each and every office in existence, but maybe knowing about the specific perks would give administrators the push they need.

The cost savings alone should be motivation enough
Many leaders realize that if they go completely digital the money they can save over time would be significant. Not having to buy or update printers, pay for paper or ink and other factors save enough money that this should be a virtual no-brainer.

However, if a business is limited in their time, effort and digitization options, even if they just put all invoicing processes online, they are sure to save a lot. Property Management Insider reported that apartment management firm Bell Partners is able to save $100,000 every year after choosing e-invoicing over more traditional paper billing. Because they have so many clients, they don’t have to spend on massive amounts of paper and wait around for invoices to flood in from vendors, which could cause workers to have to stay late and accrue overtime. Plus, this type of automated workflow means that late fees are at least reduced, if not avoided altogether.

Better access
How long does take to look up a piece of information if something in tangible file form is missing? It depends on the size of the organization, the number of clients and the volume of papers in a particular folder, but chances are that even the fastest employees would say a few minutes. And what if one single paper was misfiled? The search could last hours.

However, Vanguard Archives pointed out that instantaneous access would be enabled with the use of a digitized system. After all, workers would just need to search for a specific keyword and the proper document would pop up. Plus, the news source said that this would also be true if an employee was working remotely, which greatly contributes to the productivity of the company as a whole.

Cut out a lot of time
The time employees lose, waiting for invoices to show up can be all but eliminated by going paperless. Intuit noted that the results of a survey revealed that companies that digitize are paid within an average of 10 days after requesting the transaction, as opposed to facing a 27-day wait when dealing with a paper system.

Not just that, but think of all the time that could be saved save if employees did not have to input every piece of data manually into the computer – it’s already there for them.

Saving the environment one tree at a time
When organizations digitize, administrators might think that this is a good way to go green. Many businesses in varying fields are trying to change how workers’ actions may have an adverse effect on the environment. Rather than using so much power and certain materials, they are switching the way they do things.

For one, companies would not be using as much electricity and power in the office. Even when printers remain on standby, they’re still using up power, and their outputs can skyrocket for even a relatively small printing job.

More than just that, business leaders can do their parts to save the trees by going digital. When they stop buying paper, the demand will decrease, which might ultimately drive down the supply. According to the Credit Union Times, when 2,100 credit unions decided to rely on electronic workflow and place their files on computers, this action saved around 750,000 sheets of paper, which equates to about 90 trees.

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