Corporate America is undergoing a process of digital transformation, with the digital devices and the internet becoming increasingly important in all aspects of business. The transition from paper to digital copies is a large part of this, going entirely paperless has a huge range of benefits, not only to businesses and customers but also to the planet.
However, despite rising use of technology, the average United States office worker still uses approximately 10,000 sheets of paper each year. Businesses are currently spending a total of $120 billion US dollars in printing forms each year, which we can expect to decrease as more and more organizations embrace digital.
There are now options for digitalizing almost every aspect of your operations, from bank deposit slips and invoices to contracts and customer forms.
So, what are the main benefits of going paperless?
One of the biggest benefits is the opportunity to reduce running operational costs. Storing information in a paper format requires space, particularly in industries where high amounts of data must be kept on file for a number of years and archived.
Printing costs will also be far cheaper if storing files online rather than in print. While the business will most likely need to purchase an internet-based storage solution, you will probably find this to be less costly than land based storage options.
Better data control and increased security is another bonus. Digital files can only be accessed by those with the correct authorization and there are better options for creating backups and data recovery when needed.
With the rollout of strict data protection standards like the GDPR, digital data storage is more encouraged than traditional paper methods.
When going paperless you will often find that many processes become much more efficient and can be handled in a timely manner. In a world with an increasing amount of remote working, being able to share files electronically between colleagues and/or customers is essential.
Of course, limiting the amount of paper your organization uses will also reduce your environmental impact on the planet and help to lessen deforestation, which is likely to please your employees, customers and other types of stakeholders. Going paperless can form part of your sustainability and CSR strategy.
What processes can be switched to digital?
One of the biggest concerns for businesses going paperless is how to handle business contracts and other important documents that require signatures. Traditionally, copies of these would be printed, sent out, signed and then returned. service like Cocofax.
A simple software or PDF add-on can be used to add digital signatures to any type of document, this can then be sent back to the recipient digitally and stored online, making the process far quicker than it used to be.
Another paper-reduction technique that is being utilized in the retail industry is giving customers the option to have their store recipient emailed to them rather than printed at the checkout. This is often more convenient for the customer as they no longer need to hold on the paper slip and reduces printing costs for the store.
Online payslips and staff rotas are also far more efficient than paper-based ones. Staff rotas can be accessed through specific apps or internet platforms and updated in real-time, this is more convenient for both staff, managers and payroll departments.
Switching from paper processes to all-digital ones isn’t usually something that can happen overnight, it requires buy-in from staff across the business and the introduction of new software and tech. However, in the long-term going paperless will be well worth the initial effort and will be considered the norm in the not-too-distant future.