3 Ways to Improve Your Business's Productivity by Going Paperless
Movies and comic strips have often used an image of a frazzled boss piling papers onto an employee’s desk, demanding that he “have those reports back on my desk by tomorrow morning.” In reality, as business demands increase, work becomes more efficient if the amount of paperwork decreases. Gone are the days of paper files shoved into cabinets lined up end to end in a basement. Instead, successful business owners are saving time and improving productivity by shifting internal processes in the direction of paperless enterprise content management and digital document management.Here is a quick look at how the numbers add up when a company makes just a few small shifts to reduce paper consumption, whether it’s regarding processing invoices, or using apps to relay company-wide messages and process payroll:
Paperless Accounts Payable
Automating an office’s accounts payable system speeds document processing to help facilitate cash management and cut costs. On average, it costs at least $20 if an employee processes just one invoice by hand. Add up those figures to factor in the dozens of invoices a company deals with in a month, and you’re dealing with a hefty expense.
Cloud storage and accounting software can actuate efficient record keeping and research for your financial team. Accounting staff can virtually append invoices to approvals, and link purchase orders for checks. Most paperless accounting software also works to speed verification and research. Ultimately, paperless documentation expedites back office processing and reduces errors to help improve productivity in this department from top to bottom. Since cloud storage can work across platforms, authorized employees can easily access files, even when working remotely.
Instant Internal Communications
There is a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Did you get the memo?” when a memo can be sent via an instant messaging application. Instant messaging platforms, along with email servers, have made it easy for management to send and receive information almost instantaneously. Document sharing is another tool that gives your staff a sense of immediacy, which was lacking when edits and research were restricted to paper formats. Google Drive, for instance, permits a workforce to share and edit documents, schedules and spreadsheets in real time, with a function that tracks changes —and the users who made them —within each file. Employees save time because they no longer have to interrupt their workflows to communicate information — or edit, print and deliver files.
Digital Document Management
According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, an office employee might spend more than three times longer looking for a document than he will spend looking at a document for research. With digital filing, scanned documents face less risk of being misfiled or misplaced amid other loose files. Instead, they can be searched and located with ease. Optical character recognition, for instance, speeds search processes, so your workers aren’t forced to neglect other responsibilities because they’re stuck digging through mounds of paperwork. This makes management reviews or internal audits run much more smoothly, since the system creates an imaginary paper trail. As a recent Huffington Post article notes, “with important documents stored and categorized electronically, searching for a specific document becomes a quick and easy task.”
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for entrepreneurs to ignore the benefits of reducing paper consumption in an office setting. From a technical standpoint, employees have to spend less time printing, filing and sorting paper documents, so they can maximize their workday while also cutting cost. On a more personal note, paperless practices help foster a less-strained and stressful work environment for staffers who experience a boost in productivity and purpose when they’re not waiting for someone to unjam a printer.