In today’s environmentally-conscious world, technology is rapidly changing the way that businesses operate. With emphasis being placed upon small businesses to develop their green credentials and be more environmentally efficient, there is no better time to think about becoming a paperless business.
But it’s not just the environment that will benefit. SMEs, in particular, are beginning to realise that by reducing the amount of paper they use, they not only look after the environment but can also save time and money by avoiding needlessly pushing paper.
According to a YouGov survey, the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses waste more than £42.2 million per day in revenues looking for documents which may have been miss-filed, moved or lost. Despite this, according to the managers and directors questioned, less than one in four SMEs had taken steps towards reducing these costs, with only 7% of companies operating a predominantly paperless office.
Digital documents are altogether more efficient than their paper counterparts and can offer a range a business benefits. Still sitting on the fence? Here are six benefits to a paper-free office:
Using digital technology to collect, edit and exchange information and data not only speeds up business processes, it also improves data quality and reliability. Digitally-collected data provides better access to information, faster turnaround times and lower costs due to the elimination of form printing and mailing expenses.
In addition to this, the data can be integrated using back-end application and custom forms can be compiled from the relationships between data sources, enabling you to generate unique insights that would otherwise be difficult to access through printed sources.
Better Customer service
Digital documents enable businesses to locate and deal with customer service issues far more effectively, creating a more responsive customer service process. A digital document management system allows businesses to access customer data and retrieve information such as invoices, customer orders and documents quickly, allowing your business to proactively provide customer service and respond to enquiries faster.
Digital document management enables businesses to create security settings that give all authorised users the ability to view the same document or particular sections relevant to them. This makes it easy when more than one user needs to access a single document, or when a business operates in more than one location. In addition to this, in the unfortunate case of a fire or flood in the office, it’s much easier to recover data stored on a laptop or cloud than paper in boxes.
Reducing the need to print documents leads to cost savings on ink, paper and storage space. There are also financial benefits that are not always considered, such as saving costs of maintaining and cleaning of storage spaces, organisation of documents, and cuts on stationary such as highlighters, pens and staples.
Whether you work from home or in an office, paper can often be a distraction. Paper causes clutter and can lead to a far less productive environment than one with little-to-no paper. Many workers within an organisation create paper piles as they may not have a process for organising their documents, which ultimately take time to sift through and created a cluttered working environment. It is important to consider a digital documentation software provider that enables workers to maximise their productivity by reducing the time spent on paper pushing.
With a digital document management system, businesses can simplify their processes. SMEs can action or authorise tasks and transfer data with little effort. Authorising invoices and updating orders are two examples of tasks that can be done in seconds digitally, which would take far longer if done on paper.
There is no longer a requirement to waste countless hours looking for documents. Document searches can be done quickly and organised to make it easy for others in the business to retrieve.
With a relatively low percentage of companies adopting a paperless approach, there is an opportunity to improve both shareholder value whilst benefiting the environment all at a lower cost to the business.
Not quite ready to go paperless? You can still take small steps towards reducing business waste and becoming more environmentally efficient: recycling up to one tonne of paper a year can save 17 trees; something that we can all do to make a difference.
 Real Wire