Ten thousand pages: that is how much paper the average office worker uses every year. This number is staggering, considering it amounts to millions of tons of paper waste throughout the U.S. every year. These statistics come at a grave cost to the environment, not to mention a considerable financial cost to small-business owners. Paperless document management is one of the most effective ways to reduce expenses, cut back on environmental waste, and organize a large number of documents in a secure, efficient manner.

How to Go Paperless

There are several different steps a company can take to eliminate paper waste from its document management systems. Here are just a few of the ways your company can start enacting effective enterprise content management strategies:

  • Email
  • Digital invoices
  • Employee records
  • PDFs
  • Cloud-based storage
  • File sharing
  • Scheduling

Easier to Search

Imagine trying to find an old document that dates back nearly a decade. If your company still stores its paperwork the old-fashioned way, you’ll likely have to descend into the building’s basement, and dig through bankers boxes that are bursting with misfiled information. Such an endeavor can be time consuming and can often lead to disappointment, as files can wind up irretrievably lost. Scanning makes it easy to transfer paper documents to space-saving PDFs, which are simpler to search and access. Easier document access and optical character recognition means faster turnaround times that will benefit your staff and keep your clientele satisfied.

Easier to Store

When small businesses opt for digital document management, the company is able to downsize on-site and off-site storage. This streamlined storage results in extra room, and ultimately, extra money, since virtual documents allow employees to spend less time sorting and more time performing other tasks.

Easy to Audit

A business manager’s stress level can greatly increase, if she is faced with a tax or procedural audit, but still has reams and reams of poorly organized paperwork scattered throughout her offices. If needed for reference, paperless invoices can be accessed in moments, and transferred via secured email with ease.

Related Article: Is Your Small Business Going Paperless?

Improved Security

Compromised security is another danger companies may face when traditionally storing documents. Fortunately, going paperless can help with this, too. Cloud storage allows the user to set his/her level of security to ensure limited access to sensitive documents. As an added bonus, your documentation is protected against natural disasters, such as fire or flooding, which could easily destroy paper documentation.

More Accessible

The improved security guards documents against unauthorized access, but authorized users can enjoy the luxury of accessing, sharing and even editing certain documents with just a few clicks. This keeps your workforce productive and flexible, as employees can continue to work from home or access important documents on the go.

Cost-Effective

As a small-business owner, you know the value of having a good return on investment that comes when implementing a new filing system. Shifting to a digital document management system helps eliminate the cost of printer ink and toner, not to mention all that paper. Remember, less paper to sort through means your employees can use their time more productively in the long run.

Eco-Friendly Initiative

Estimates show that people use nearly 4 billion trees every year to yield the paper products used in offices throughout the world. Four billion. That is a major part of the deforestation problem our planet faces. As a Mashable article on paper consumption notes, one employee consumes the equivalent of a large Douglas fir in paper every year. If just 50 employees go paperless, there is the potential to spare 50 beautiful trees. The more trees that are saved, the more wild animals can live undisturbed.

Technology makes it increasingly easier to go paperless in the office to help preserve the environment and conserve costs for dedicated small-business owners.

Author: Pete Ransome is the President of FileSolve–an industry-leading provider of electronic document solutions that services a wide range of industries throughout the U.S. In 2014, Pete was inducted into the Association for Image and Information Management Company of Fellows and awarded the Distinguished Service Award.

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