What Paper is Actually Costing your Business


In a 2016 survey, more than 80% of small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) said they want to cut paper out of their business processes. Paper-based processes waste time and money, increase security risks and raise employee turnover rates. Switching to a mobile forms and data collection software can lead to greater business growth, employee productivity and retention, as well as improving the bottom line.

61% of SMBs would improve with document workflow process

Employees and customers want access to the information they need immediately on a mobile device. They put appointments on their calendar, take notes and pictures as reminders, make to-do lists and transact business on their phone or tablet. Yet many important business processes still require them to use paper forms. Paper that gets easily misplaced, damaged or even lost.

The Problem with Relying on Paper

Increase Risk

woman throwing paper graphic
Lost, damaged or misplaced documents result in lost data, privacy violations or lost customers. Paper also requires manual entry, increasing the risk of human error.

Slow Retention

Using paper causes slower retention graphic
Frustrating employees with needing to fill out long, tedious forms, keeping them organized and secure, filing them correctly and retrieving them when needed.

Waste Time & Money

idle woman at desk - Using paper wastes time and money
Resulting in lost productivity, wasted space and increasingly higher operating costs.

Paper Slows Things Down

Without a digital process in place, data collected in the field on a paper form must be mailed or carried back to an office before it can be processed and used. If the paper is not immediately entered electronically, it will have to be sorted and filed properly so that it can be retrieved later. But misfiling happens so easily that just looking for filed documents can take as much as 30 to 40% of an office worker’s time, and large organizations lose one document every 12 seconds.

Paper Poses a Security Issue

As many as 20% of print jobs are never retrieved from printers, leaving sensitive data available to anyone who passes by. In addition, when you consider that most workers either don’t have access to paper shredders, or don’t use them, how much information could you be leaving vulnerable each day?

Because it’s impossible to predict when an emergency situation might occur business resiliency planning is often overlooked until there is an emergency, even though it is often too late at that point. Fire, flooding and damage from natural disasters can destroy paper-based records forever. A Cloud database and document management system can at least provide a backup for paper records, if not replace them entirely.

The Demand for Devices

50% of searches take place on mobile devices
95% of Americans use mobile phones and eight out of every 10 Americans own other forms of mobile devices, including laptops, tablets, e-readers and gaming units. Since mobile devices are part of our lives, why wouldn’t they be part of our businesses?

A growing number of Americans are turning to their mobile devices to perform tasks they might have previously completed in a desktop browser, such as location and product searches, e-commerce, and loan, school and employment applications. One in 10 mobile users don’t even bother to purchase broadband at home, relying on wireless carriers for access to the Internet and apps.

Mobile technology allows people to access work files, emails, and information wherever they are. They don’t have to be limited because they aren’t in the office. The fact is, carrying around a paperless office–one device for mail, appointments, entertainment, gaming and work–is becoming a fact of life for people. A study by the Evolving Workforce Project found that “83% of global workers believe that technology advances have enabled them to be more productive and see this increasing in the future.”

Paper Isn’t a Cheap Option

A single piece of paper is light and thin, but pieces of paper stack up fast and take up a lot of space; stacks turn into files, file cabinets become file rooms, floors and warehouses. Industry research firm Gartner, Inc., estimates that as much as 3% of a company’s revenue is spent on paper, printing, filing and the costs to store and maintain files of information. In addition, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year.

The major problem with all that paper is the time it takes to find the proper document. Especially if you need to reference documentation from previous years. Chances are that historic paperwork is filed away in a storage room or other location that is not immediately accessible.

First-line employees in paper-based companies can even have trouble retrieving the most up-to-date information, which can frustrate and even anger customers. Paper data is more likely to be filed in a siloed environment located somewhere apart from a company’s customer service or call center.

The Benefits of Ditching Paperwork

Computer-aided solutions, including electronic data capture, radically improve information flow and management regardless of your industry or application. It’s easy to see that any system that puts data into your organization’s hands faster will result in saved time, improved employee productivity and reduced costs.

what paper costs business - top business priorities

1,000 SMBs Top 5 Business Priorities

Beyond those, a digital system reduces manual data entry errors and can also reduce the time it takes collected data to reach core office databases, systems, and stakeholders.

Enhanced Data Security

By implementing a mobile forms solution on phones, tablets or laptops, you eliminate the vulnerability of data printed or maintained on paper. Mobile device systems allow for company-wide security policies, such as:

Improved Employee Productivity

For employees, submitting forms with mobile device means no paper to “work” with- -no files to juggle and no boxes, containers or bags to secure. Their office can fit into a pocket, backpack or bag.

Cloud transfer and storage of data collected in the field makes it easier for all to collaborate and share data fast. And the productivity boost from mobility has been proven.

Mobile technology has significantly impacted the bottom line in the supply chain industry for the last decade. Handheld scanners and driver or manager reporting via mobile device has vastly improved fulfillment accuracy, reduced delivery times, and boosted productivity.

Reduce Costs and Quick ROI

n the U.S., companies spend over $120 billion each year printing forms, even though most forms are out of date within three months. Despite dwindling resources, each organization’s paper consumption grows an average of 22% per year, resulting in a doubling of costs every 3.3 years. With mobile forms and mobile technology, that cost can be significantly reduced or even vanish, especially when many employees already own mobile devices.

The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), after completing two surveys on the costs and benefits of paper-based and paperless solutions, said that the majority of the organizations they surveyed (84%) had achieved a payback, or total return on investment (ROI) from a paperless office software project, such as adding or installing a mobile forms solution, in less than 18 months. 59% got all of their money back in less than 12 months; 26% achieved ROI in six months or less.

what paper costs business - reasons to go digital

Why Businesses Need to Go Digital

Reducing costs is a top reason to go digital.

Make the Move to Mobile

Adopting mobile technology solutions in your business isn’t about business disruption or even about the workplace of the future. The digital workplace is here now, and everyone is already going digital. 81% of companies plan on evaluating a paperless solution in the next three years.

Removing paper from your business processes benefits your company with increased productivity by making sharing and collaboration easier, and saves time. Mobile technology eliminates delays in completing necessary paperwork and getting it sent to the right person, making workflows and reporting faster. Storing paperwork and files in a Cloud database lets you access them from anywhere, so even if you aren’t in the office, you can get the information you need.

Mobile tools and technologies boost business efficiency, save time and money, and improve data accuracy and security. Going mobile is as easy as taking a step to the side, leaving your printers behind and stepping out from under that pile of paper.

Device Magic is a mobile forms software used by thousands of organizations worldwide every day. We make it easy for organizations to eliminate paperwork, improve data quality and increase efficiency by using mobile forms for data collection and delivery.