Key Benefits of Going Paperless

Key Benefits of Going Paperless

Key Benefits of Going Paperless

Business owners look for ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Consequently, some key benefits of going paperless are these and more. In addition, the eco-warrior in you may be dreaming of a paperless society where we do not have to resort to expensive, environmentally unfriendly paper. However, Eco Matcher can confirm we’re not quite ready for the shift. The business costs of making paper processes digital are steep. Furthermore, digital has its own carbon footprint.

Meanwhile, what we can do realistically, though, is to reduce paper usage and go paperless where it makes sense. So, for instance, if you are a manager or business owner, you could opt for paper-free workflows and slowly move to a (semi) paperless office. Not only is it (debatably) better for the environment, but it could also net you significant savings.

Having a paperless office isn’t a new concept – a Business Week article prophesized the phenomenon back in 1975, reports Expex. But, thanks to readily available, affordable software apps and services, it is just easier now. In this mini guide, our team from Totally Paperless looks at going paperless, covering the benefits of doing so and offering tips on getting started.

The benefits of going paperless

Getting rid of paper can come with significant advantages: 

  • Less clutter: Paper documents and associated filing cabinets take up space – sometimes roomfuls. Digitally, you could store the same information on a single hard drive (not to mention readily making backups).
  • Speed: Using paper is slow. Opening files, looking up information, and making copies, for instance, can take hours, days, or even weeks. Digitally, you could do the same in minutes or seconds.
  • Fewer errors: Using paper can be error-prone when entries are updated manually. Digitally, mistakes are less likely due to the presence of validation checks. As a result, it is easier to both create accurate data and verify the accuracy of existing data.
  • Convenience: While admittedly, paper is tangible and feels good to hold, there is no denying that electronic documents are often more convenient to manage, update, and share.
  • Money savings: Finally, going by an MCCi report, paper is more expensive than the digital equivalent. While digital is not free, it will save you money overall.

Getting started

Are you ready to make the shift to paperless? Here is how you could begin: 

Understand the cost-benefit ratio of eliminating paper

There are countless digital alternatives out there to paper-based processes. For instance, there is digital billing, inventory management, bookkeeping, document signing, and more. It is an innovative idea to research market trends and find alternatives you could realistically apply.

Find digital alternatives

There are countless digital alternatives out there to paper-based processes. For instance, there is digital billing, inventory management, bookkeeping, document signing, and more. It is an innovative idea to research market trends and find alternatives you could realistically apply.

Implement a document management system

Document management systems (DMS) are critical. They are often the core of every paper-free or paper-light office. DMS allows you to organize and store data in your preferred format and easily fetch it when needed. Remember that when clients share files with you, PDF will be the preferred format (over MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or compressed). Fortunately, you can use a tool to convert PDFs to a format you are more comfortable with. Just drag and drop a PDF, choose the output format, and click convert.

Minimize paper use

You could get away with using less paper in many areas. For example, marketing can be mailers, flyers, and posters. But you could use digital alternatives or move to human-based advertising (like trade shows). Instead of making paper copies, you could reuse and share (or distribute them digitally). Last but not least, you could intentionally recycle more paper

Consider the human angle

Getting buy-in from your workers will be an essential part of the process because your employees will operate the digital stations. It will be a notable change for them, and some training may be in order. Also, you may have to put their minds at ease about their jobs not being at risk. Some people are sensitive about machines stealing their jobs. Resistance to digital solutions is surprisingly common.

Conclusion

Getting rid of paper is good for the environment and your pocket. While effectiveness and efficiency are some of the key benefits of going paperless, cost savings are tangible. Above all, while getting there will take some doing, the effort is worthwhile. We recommend taking it one step at a time – you do not necessarily have to go paper-free (or light) overnight. Slight changes over time will get you superior results.

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