The benefits of digitising business processes – both internal and external – are too significant for the move to paperless to be overlooked.
Business has undergone huge changes over the past couple of decades, on account of rapid advances in technology and the industry requirements they trigger. Businesses are in a constant state of flux, having to improvise, adapt and overcome new challenges.
This year, above all, has seen the business world being forced to make big changes. And at the core of it all, has been the digital technology that has enabled business continuity amid a global pandemic.
One of the sweeping moves we have seen in the last ten months, is the transition to paperless business. And, although this was already on the cards for most corporates looking to cut costs and increase efficiency in internal and external processes, it has been fast tracked.
But, in case yours is one of the businesses still grappling with the question of whether or not to go paperless, we have listed the top 10 reasons you should make the change.
1. A silver lining
The days of keeping business documents in a filing cabinet in an office somewhere are ending abruptly, given privacy laws and the risks associated with keeping physical records. Then there is the inefficiency and costs this sets off in terms of storage space and resources. Storing documents in the cloud is not only safer, but it makes them instantly and easily accessible.
2. The green factor
Making the shift to paperless has a positive impact on the environment in that it reduces your business’s carbon footprint – a very attractive point of consideration for potential investors nowadays. It might shock you to know that around 50 000 to 55 000 trees are hacked down each year, only to provide paper for businesses still using in old, paper-intensive manual methods.
3. The other green factor
It’s the thing that makes the world go ‘round – and no business can survive without guarding it close – money. Going paperless has the immediate benefit of cost savings for businesses. Research firm Gartner estimates that as much as 3% of a company’s revenue is spent on paper, printing, and filing, while the average office worker uses a whopping 10 000 sheets of paper a year. Not shocking enough? How about this: one four-drawer filing cabinet costs £20 000 to fill and another £1 500 to maintain each year.
4. Your most valuable asset
Arguably more valuable than money, is that precious thing you can never get back – time. Making the move to paperless enables you to complete several business tasks in a much shorter timeframe. Take for instance some of the most commonplace business processes that would typically involve paper and its knock-on requirements, such as invoicing, and contracts and agreements. Using a digital office platform gives employees quick and easy access to documents, which don’t need to be stored in cluttered and complex paper files.
5. Focused instead of frantic
Saving time by getting routine business tasks done quicker, means more time to spend on all the vital cogs that make a business run like a well-oiled machine it needs to be to enjoy profit. It means allowing employees to be productive, rather than busy – focused and not frantic.
6. Cut the clutter
It is said that clutter is one of the main barriers of productivity, which is the opposite of what you as a business want to achieve, right? It is also well known that clutter causes stress. But did you know that clutter tells people a lot about an individual’s – and therefore a business’s – leadership ability? Apparently clutter signals laziness, lack of time management skills and that you are unwelcoming…not a good image for any business, let alone person, to project. Ditching paper in favour of digital automatically cuts the clutter.
7. More stressful than divorce
If the thought of moving makes you cringe, you are not alone. Research has shown that moving is more stressful than divorce. That goes for moving office, as much as it does for moving house. As a business professional, you need to give yourself the best possible chance at staying sane, and not having filing cabinet upon filing cabinet of paper and drawers, even piles, of paper is a big help.
8. Happy customers, healthy bottom line
Because paperless processes are vastly faster and more efficient than manual ones, you can provide your customers with much better services. In this fast-paced digital world, consumers are used to getting what they want, when they want it. They expect speed and convenience because they know, given the technology available to service providers today, they can. A paperless system means no more waiting time for purchase documents. It means customers can sign orders wherever they are. You can get your invoices, delivery forms and other documents you need to provide customers with twice as fast.
9. Digital safehouse
New stringent privacy and data protection laws (most notably GDPR, put into effect in mid-2018) have made it necessary for businesses to evaluate and prioritise their storage and handling of customer information. Having customer information stored on paper in physical filing cabinets leaves these in a very vulnerable position, in terms of theft and damage. Digitising this information gives you the ability to store it in watertight digital repositories, protected and easily accessible.
10. Knowledge is power
Finally, going paperless can save your business time when it comes to training and upskilling employees. This is because of the ability to have learning material stored in a centralised online knowledgebase. In this way, employees have instant access to learning material, company policy documents and onboarding new employee forms and information.
With all this considered, the question you should be asking yourself really isn’t “should I go paperless?”, but rather “Can I afford not to?”.
Let us help you ease into the transition to paperless through our advanced electronic signature and workflow software, which fits into your systems and works the way you work. To find out more, or to speak to a member of our team about our paperless solutions, visit our website www.signiflow.com/South_Africa/, submit an online query or call 27(0)10-300-4899.