To succeed in the digital age, organisations need lean, integrated and most of all digital processes to support their business

As we move towards a cashless environment, the initial frenzy and confusion has given way to a paper-free work environment. With global-tech firms like Google and Amazon paving the way for digital payments, this has reduced the dependency on cash and pushed us towards the use of digital solutions. These initiatives have captured the imagination of a cashless economy thereby reducing our dependency on paper. In the corporate world, this could signal the beginning of a paperless culture. Let’s start by looking at some trends which show how imperative it is to build a paper-free work environment:

Paper Passé

The amount of paper used in organisations towards printing documents in a single day is astounding. According to the paperlessproject.com, globally, an average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper annually. These numbers can be changed drastically by integrating paperless solutions to avoid the needless printing of documents. One way for organisations to reduce costs and better manage discretionary spending is to automate invoice processing and disbursements.

Automation delivers an average of 29 per cent reduction in invoice processing costs. Also, manual expense reporting involving paper receipts and tedious expense report assembly are a burden on business travellers. Employees find collecting receipts and filling reimbursement forms very cumbersome. At the office, the finance department cringes at the thought of deciphering receipts copied manically onto sheets of paper, and everyone, especially CFOs keeping their eyes on cash flow, don’t like waiting to be paid. Further, if data is scattered across the business in paper form, it is impossible to get the full picture, let alone insights that are accurate and timely.

Digital Payments

The massive paper piles, tedious tasks, and inefficiency of paper-based processes are some of the things that employees detest. One key solution is digital payments. Compared to manual payment systems, it’s faster, more accurate, and rich in data that can improve decision-making and reporting.

CFOs look for a more integrated and automated payments approach with several benefits— most importantly, less manual labour and lower costs, freeing up resources for more strategic uses. Many of them also expect more accurate reporting, improved payment processing speed, visibility, control, data security, and compliance.

Improved ROI

Companies that have adopted electronic expense reporting have experienced a whopping 58% reduction in processing costs and greater ROI. The automated system enables employees to book travel plans that are compliant and cost-efficient, manage expenses without having to keep track of paper receipts or fill out spreadsheets and gain approvals more quickly. No more collecting paper receipts, filling out paper expense forms and trying to get reimbursed.

In a study by the Aberdeen Group, 48% of businesses indicate they want to improve their travel and expense processes and thereby, their visibility on spending. This enables them to see monthly spending and to be able to close the business’s books.

With an automated system, there is more benefit in terms of heightened productivity, minimal need for manual input of T&E spend data, and optimal use of data mining and insight to flag out-of-policy spend. Plus, the benefits to the environment are immense – forgoing 55,000 receipts can spare as much as an entire tree!

To succeed in the digital age, organisations need lean, integrated — and most of all digital processes to support their business. Finance and procurement decision makers who prioritise fast, connected, and insight-led payment processes will surpass those who continue to rely on inflexible, disconnected, paper-based systems. Solutions that integrate systems with automated payment tools can generate important operational efficiencies, such as reduced manual labour and costs as well as greater visibility and control over payments. 

Contact us to find out how we can help you move towards a paperless environment.

For some businesses, the promise of a paperless office is still more a dream than a reality. But it shouldn't be, as the technology has now caught up with the idea.

In fact, going paperless makes it easier to back up your work and keep it safe.

In 2014, Gartner estimated that the cost of filing, storing and retrieving paper for US businesses was between $25bn and $35bn. This cost only hints at the complexity and pitfalls involved.

Going paperless and implementing a cloud-based document management system (DMS) immediately improves things. By converting paper to digital as early as possible, and filing securely in an encrypted DMS, your company solves a lot of problems in one go, aside from just freeing up physical space.

Limitless storage

A DMS frees you from using standard filing convention, with tags letting a document surface in different locations without having to make copies. This simplifies storage and retrieval and means that you only have the one master document. Should changes to that one document need to be made, they will be reflected everywhere without having to redo any copies.

One of the significant problems with paper storage is that it’s easy for a document to go missing, or for someone to file it in the wrong place. With a DMS, these problems go away. Now, users can only digitally check out a document, but the original copy remains in the DMS where it can’t be lost.

“The estimated cost of filing, storing and retrieving paper for US businesses is between $25bn and $35bn”

Remote working can also be improved by going paperless. Sales people out on the road, for example, can use technology like Brother’s scan-to-cloud to digitise documents in real time. There is no chance that a postal order, contract or other important piece of documentation can go missing before the sales person returns to base.

Safe and secure

Storing everything in the cloud has ancillary benefits, too. First, and most importantly, the IT department no longer needs to create complex backup routines to try to save data. In this case, if a user created a local file and picked the “wrong” folder to save it in, or their computer crashed between backups, critical data could be lost.

With the cloud, every change is saved instantly without the user having to do anything. This instant approach means the old days of backups are dead.

Next, versioning is improved dramatically, as each change can be saved as a different version. Should you need to check for edits and roll back to a previous version, you will easily be able to do this. Doing the same thing with a locally stored document simply is not possible.

 

“Life in a paper-filled world was

different, as a single fire could

wipe out all the documents the

business had to its name”

Thanks to the distributed nature of cloud computing, all of your data is safe in the cloud. Life in a paper-filled world was different, as a single fire could wipe out all the documents the business had to its name, including copies. Now, should your building burn down, none of your data would be lost – including all scanned documents.

While moving to the cloud is more convenient, the danger that a lot of company’s face is data security. This is particularly true with the General Data Protection Regulation that came into law in May 2018. Under this new directive, any company that fails to secure its data and maintain compliance with the law can be fined up to €20m or 4pc of its worldwide turnover, whichever is greatest.

Careful access

If nothing else, the financial threat should be enough to convince companies that they need to lock down all data. Moving to a paperless world helps you do that.

With paper documents filed away in a room, it can be hard to restrict access on a per-document basis. Once an employee gets into your filing system, they can look at practically any document they want, which is a huge threat to privacy.

With a DMS and cloud storage, your business has per-document controls that it should implement. Every business should review who has access to what and make sure that they are not over-sharing. As a general rule, employees should only be able to access the data that they require to do their job, no more.

There are different levels of access, too. For example, you may want to prevent users from being able to delete documents; instead, they may be able to remove them from their view, leaving the original behind, which a system administrator can restore or look at. You should also look at other controls. Some employees, for example, may need read-only access to information, but shouldn’t be allowed to copy or print the data.

Implemented correctly, a paperless office gives your business more control over its documents, better data security, and instant backups and versions.

Contact us to find out more about how your business can benefit from moving towards a paper-less environment and improved GDPR security.

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