Business Automation and Software Blog

Business Process Automation: The Hidden Costs of Paper

Posted by Robert Baran on Wed, Feb 08, 2012 @ 12:38 PM

business-process-automationThe overall impact of processing, handling and storing paper documents in the workplace is astounding from a financial, environmental and resource perspective. Not only can the inefficiencies inherent with paper-based bottlenecks be cumbersome on day-to-day operations, but the improper storage or loss of these documents can cripple or devastate a business.

Over the next few weeks we will highlight some of the different benefits of going paperless and how Document Management software can help you achieve a form of business process automation. This week’s focus:

The Hidden Costs of Paper

Some of the costs of paper processing are obvious. These would include:

  • Time spent by employees processing, filing, faxing and routing documents
  • Storage costs, and fees charged by storage facilities to retrieve documents
  • Time spent trying to find lost documents, and/or having to re-create them
  • The simple cost of paper and ink (the average office worker can use between 5,000 and 10,000 sheets of paper per year!)

Other costs are a bit more obscure. For example it can be a little bit tricky to measure the cost of paper-intensive and repetitive tasks in regards to paper-management. However, many companies find that they are able to greatly increase employees’ output by automating laborious paper-intensive tasks and save substantial amounts of money as a result. A good example of this is in regards to faster invoice processing.

It is calculated that for best in class companies, or the top 20% of companies, it takes approximately 4.4 days and costs $4.60 to process a single invoice. The time and cost vary by company and can take up to 34.4 days and cost $55.00 to process a single invoice in some less efficient companies.  A document management solution allows you to reduce the time and cost involved within your invoicing process and will not only save you money internally, but can also give you the ability to take advantage of early pay discounts and improved financial close cycles.

Document management systems offer further benefits by allowing for compressed cycle times, driving costs down through integration to your ERP application. By leveraging information already known in your ERP system, document management systems reduce data entry steps, improve accuracy and strengthen your accounting controls.

Stay tuned for our next article where we will cover the benefits of document management software in more detail.

If you want more information on Document Management, download our whitepaper Armed and Paperless – Ten Key Considerations When Selecting a Document Management Solution.

Topics: document management