If you work in a busy office environment, chances are you handle paper on a regular basis. From memos and reports, to purchase orders and invoices, it’s nigh-on impossible to avoid paper.
And yet, there’s never been a better time to take your first steps towards transforming your business into a paperless enterprise.
But why should you turn your back on those filing cabinets full of hard copies? Well, there is of course the environmental argument. Even if you don’t think of yourself as being particularly green, you have to admit that it’s staggering that the global consumption of paper has grown by around 400 percent in the last 4 decades.
Almost 4 billion trees, or around 35 percent of the total trees cut down around the world, are used in paper industries on every continent. That is the equivalent of around 2.5 million trees being cut down each and every single day.
For the more pragmatic among you – whose jaws haven’t dropped in sheer disbelief when reading those numbers – the business arguments for implementing a paperless office listed below might help you see the light.
1. Going Paperless Can Reduce Costs
Just consider the amount of money your business is spending on paper and paper-related inventory. Beyond buying boxes upon boxes of paper every month, you have printing costs, mailing costs, and storage costs to factor in.
And there are intangible costs too. Time, for instance, can be saved when information can be accessed electronically. If your employees need to comb through files or hunt through boxes stored on perilously high shelves just to answer a customer’s question, then they are not going to be nearly as productive as you’d like them to be.
Remove this obstacle, and not only will productivity soar, you’ll also see a much improved customer service ethos develop in your organisation. In other words, no more sighing as an employee traipses to the filing cabinet for the umpteenth time.
And those previously mentioned storage requirements could actually be contributing to a much larger rental bill than is perhaps necessary. Ask yourself: could your office be smaller and therefore more efficient without the need for rows upon rows of shelving or filing cabinets?
2. Going Paperless Can Increase Security & Accountability
Keeping important information secure can be a costly endeavour when you’re dealing exclusively in hard copies. Not only do you need to designate space, you may even have to allocate resource in the shape of security personnel to keep prying eyes at bay, depending on the nature of the information in question.
This can present something of a logistical headache, and carries with it certain risks. From theft and fire, to organisational and administrative concerns, you really have to ask yourself: is it worth it?
By choosing to eradicate paper records, and opting to securely store your information on servers, you can dramatically reduce your overheads and effectively increase your security in one fell swoop.
And accountability is improved too. Take, for instance, ApprovalMax’s audit trail capabilities. Where dealing with print outs and wet signatures would make tracing who did what, and when, something of a nightmare, ApprovalMax keeps accountability front-and-centre. You’ll know who approved what as a purchase order or invoice makes its way along your company’s financial workflow, without any important documentation being lost or misplaced.
3. Going Paperless Offers Seamless Communication
Implementing electronic record keeping, cloud storage, and cloud-based platforms means you and your employees can access crucial information, anywhere, anytime.
Whether you’re in a meeting, on the train, or sat in front of the television, if you need to double check something important, you’re only a quick click or a swipe and a tap away from finding what you need.
With less paper in, and less paper out, decisions can be made quicker than ever before. And internal communication can be elevated to new levels of efficiency. Using a cloud accounting platform like Xero, complemented by ApprovalMax, will streamline your financial workflow. An email or smartphone notification can alert you to matters that require your attention, such as approving a bill payment or querying a new purchase order, all without a single sheet of paper in sight.
By adopting a paperless approach to the vast majority of your business, not only will you be doing your bit for the environment, you will also undoubtedly see an increase in productivity, security, and efficiency.
Costs will go down, as will general office clutter, and you’ll be surprised by the space you save. All-in-all, embracing paperless could radically transform every aspect of your business.
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