For about 10 years now it’s been the dream of the corporate world to go paperless. And that’s definitely something we can get behind. Not only is a paperless office more efficient, it also means higher levels of security, less energy wasted and less time spent chasing documents, not to mention reducing print costs as well. But despite the dream, the paperless office hasn’t been achieved yet. But we have got close, thanks to effective document automation solutions.
What Is The Paperless Office?
The idea of the paperless office has been around for a long time, with the earliest recorded thoughts on it dating back to the Seventies with information scientist Frederick Lancaster. With the knowledge we have about producing paper and its impact on the environment it’s not surprising that many businesses want to be able to operate a completely paper-free office, migrating everything into a variety of digital formats. But in reality, SME’s want a paper-light, rather than paperless office solution, because print still plays an important role in many businesses. In fact, a survey from 2014 found that paper usage was on the increase in most firms, with ¾ of all invoices that arrived in PDF form being printed, and almost half of paper documents scanned being created digitally.
How Does Document Automation Help?
So, how does document automation help us move towards the paperless office? Well, for a start it significantly cuts down the amount of paper generated within your business, by moving everything into the digital space. With the inclusion of electronic signatures, automated document capture and centralised document storage, many businesses would not need to print a sheet of paper ever again. By replacing paper forms with electronic ones, you not only reduce the time and resource spent printing them in the first place, but you also cut down on the cost of paper, billable man-hours, and end up reducing print costs as well.
There are also some significant benefits when it comes to compliance. Many regulations require that a business keeps copies of documentation for a set time period, meaning your business could quickly be sitting on thousands of sheets of paper whose sole job is to sit in a cupboard, unread, until it’s time to shred them. But with a document automation solution, all of those documents can be digitised and stored in a secure, central repository, complete with tags for easy retrieval and a pre-determined auto-destroy date. This makes compliance an automatic process, instead of a laborious chore, and provides you with a detailed audit trail for added assurance. In short, document automation means that businesses who are subject to strict compliance and legal regulations can keep track of their adherence, minimise the risk of lost documents and guarantee higher levels of data security than those who are using paper.
The average office in the UK still uses around 830 pieces of paper a month, which adds up to £12,000 worth of paper every year per employee. Spread that across every business in the country, and you have a lot of environmental damage, wasted resources and cost that could be prevented. Smart companies are now using document automation to digitise and manage their document requirements, and in doing so reducing that number by at least 60%, which adds up to big savings in resource and employee time. Want to find out more about how effective document automation can help your office-based business run more effectively? Stay tuned for the next post in this series. For now, if you would like a demonstration of our document automation solutions, just get in touch.