Smart business owners are always searching for new and exciting ways to optimize their work. One easy way to make businesses run more smoothly while saving a ton of money is by going paperless.
The average US citizen uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year. You don’t need to call your accountant to know that that’s a ton of paper. And what’s worse is that most of that paper is probably sitting in a storage room, slowly yellowing and turning to rot.
The Paperless Project estimates that companies need to spend (waste, more like it) $1,500 to maintain a filing cabinet. On top of that, business owners are looking at spending an additional $125 for misfiled documents and an additional $350 to replace missing sheets of paper.
7 Reason Why Your Business Needs to Go Paperless Right Now
If the numbers above don’t scare you, then perhaps the following reasons will change your mind. It’s time to bring your company out of the past and into the digitalized present.
1. Increased Security and Confidentiality
Opting for a paper-filled environment means having to find ways to efficiently store documents and keep them away from unauthorized users. Even if you shred your documents, your business might still be at risk of data breaches. In addition, managers will need to spend resources in training their staff to handle, archive, and retrieve documents with care.
However, after switching to a paperless office, certain systems can ensure that your files are safe and sound behind digital vaults. Passwords and encrypting files will prevent unapproved access to sensitive information.
2. Quicker and Easier Access to Data
A simple click of your mouse is all you need to access documents anywhere in the world. Cloud-based systems like Google Drive and Dropbox ensure seamless collaboration from numerous users on different platforms, ensuring that key team members are always in the loop.
With the help of cloud storage, you can make information accessible to all relevant members without the hassle of providing physical keys to cabinets and storage rooms. In addition, indexing computer files is a lot easier, so no time is wasted digging through vast archives for that one file from several years ago.
3. Reduced Carbon Footprint
The good thing about paper is that it’s recyclable. Of the 700-plus pounds of paper used by the average person, roughly half of that goes back into circulation through amazing recycling efforts. However, by definition, a paperless workplace reduces and even eliminates the need for paper, thereby reducing a company’s carbon footprint in regard to paper production. And as we move toward the future, sustainability and eco-friendliness are becoming more commonplace, even in small companies.
It is not only recycling or reducing the use of paper that can help with scaling down the carbon footprint. Using refurbished computer units can assist with the efforts, as well. A laptop computer can have a carbon footprint of 152 kg, and more than three-fourth of that comes from manufacturing alone. By using a refurbished computer PC, individuals and organizations can help reduce greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. On top of that, they save money too.
Of course, it is understandable why some would question the quality of refurbished CPUs and other computer parts. That is why they should always inspect the refurbished equipment and source them from trustworthy companies.
4. Automatic Backups
It goes without saying that reproducing documents is far easier in a paperless environment. Simply Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V the file to make backups on a hard drive or cloud storage system. This definitely beats the hassle of printing and Xeroxing sensitive documents for archiving purposes.
Your OS and cloud-based systems also have auto-backup features, which can prevent data loss. Alternatively, companies can rely on flash drives or external HDDs to store copies of digital documents.
Even though we touched on the cost-effectiveness of paperless workplaces earlier, it’s the greatest point that all business owners should consider. Imagine how much you could save on communications by getting rid of mail and stamps, how much you can save on printing and storage costs by transferring data in PDF forms, and how much you can save on office supplies by moving all of your documents onto a computer.
However, companies will have to take into account how much they spend on cloud storage, online communications apps, and subscriptions to Adobe Acrobat DC Pro. Thankfully, there are budget-friendly and even free alternatives for such premium services, such as the free 15GB limit on Google Drive, Skype to stay in touch with members from around the world, and Smallpdf and PDFChef by Movavi to convert files to and from PDF.
6. Easier to Adhere to Audit Regulations
Businesses are required by auditing law to store their financial data for at least seven years. You can imagine how much trouble this can be for paper-based organizations with large file cabinets and storage rooms dedicated solely to documents. But by creating digital data, it will be a lot easier to keep track of old financial reports and comply with auditing guidelines.
The biggest hurdle companies face is converting their current paper documents into digital files. This is where services like i2OCR come in. After scanning a document, OCR services read through the image-based file and extract readable numbers and characters to save in Word or PDF documents at a later time.
7. Less Time Spent Filing Papers Means More Focus on Demanding Tasks
The ultimate benefit of going the paperless route is that managers and team members will have more time on their hands to focus on more pressing matters. Instead of dedicating an entire day to locating a file or recreating a missing document, employees can concentrate their efforts on their day-to-day tasks. This ultimately enhances productivity while reducing the risk of burnout when digging through mountains of aged paper.
The Benefits and Convenience of a Paperless Environment
It’s pretty easy to see why business owners are reluctant to make the switch from traditional to modern. After all, if you’ve done something all your life, adapting to a new method will be met with resistance.
However, from the arguments above, there are intangible benefits of going paperless that managers and business owners should certainly take into account. Don’t just do it for the environment; do it for the financial health of your company!