We’re in the age of high technology, the age of the “cloud,” but many businesses remain in the “age of trees “– dead trees, that is, as in paper. With more and more business applications being developed to allow companies to take advantage of paperless, mobile technology, there’s no excuse to continue living in the past. Eliminating paper affords numerous benefits, and here are a few of the major ones:
- Paper means manual processes, such as filling out forms, processing them, moving them and tracking and storing them. When your business depends on paper, it’s slowed down and made less efficient.
- Manual processes mean duplication of effort. At some point, after the forms are collected, the information must be keyed into your system. That means that the form effectively has to be filled out twice.
- Increased chance of errors and inaccuracies. Paper forms do not have defaults or pull down menus. As such, they are much more likely than Web or digital forms to be filled out erroneously or contain inaccuracies.
- No real time data. For your business to operate at optimal efficiency, you need immediate access to what’s happening in the field. If you’re relying on paper sales reports, for example, you’re not getting the information from your sales people in the field as quickly as you need it. Since almost all field sales people have smart phones or tablets, going paperless means you can connect to them and get information in real time.
- Payment delays and mistakes. Using paper invoices can cause long lead times between invoice issuance and receipt of remittance. There’s also the possibility that paper invoices will get lost in transit or even mailed to the wrong address. Both are potentially catastrophic.
Because the technology is now affordable for even the smallest enterprise, working paperless in no longer just a nice to have; it’s a must have. Competition is fierce, and the more you can streamline your business processes, the more likely you are to reap the benefits of your hard work.