Businesses have been talking about the goal of going totally paperless for a long time, ever since the 1970’s. In spite of numerous technological improvements, the dream seems to have eluded them. Why? What is the hold-up, and what can be done to convert the average to a completely streamlined electronic business in all of their daily functions?
The Advantages of a Paperless Existence
Most businesses would agree that going totally paperless is a great target to reach. Aside from the obvious monetary savings of not having to generate, store, file and maintain untold paper documents on site, there is also the huge benefit of being able to rely upon seamless, secure electronic processes to do everything from calculating and industry forecasting to data storage, archiving and retrieval.
All communication can now be done electronically. All banking and payment processes can be handled by computer as well. Computerized operations are quicker, more reliable, and more efficient than paper-generated processes for both business and customer. For companies interested in capturing the global market, abandoning paper processes for those computerized is the easiest way to begin.
In an article by Jason Albanese called “The Paperless Office: Urban Legend or Attainable Reality,” Mr. Albanese points out that aspiring employees who are considered to be the top echelon of talent view electronic processing this way, too. They consider this to be a primary factor in deciding where to work, preferring to share their talent in companies that are mostly digital.
One Thing Remaining
With all of these benefits, according to Mr. Albanese, there is one big thing holding businesses back: the right mindset. The right mindset leads to the absolute determination to construct policies for using digital processes at all levels, and to insist that they be followed by employees, customers and vendors alike, even to the extent of removing all other options.
Admittedly, this is a total transformation. Mr. Albanese admits that mental rewiring may be needed to depart from the familiar ways of the past. He also says that there are exceptions that may arise when the use of paper is a part of a specific company strategy. However, these exceptions should be rare.
Bringing Paperless Technology to AP
Most business experts would say that the best way to accomplish your paperless ambitions is to make the changeover one step at a time. The first step should be to adopt accounts payable automation. E-invoicing has the potential to dramatically reduce time spent on payment transactions, allowing money saving strategies such as early payment of invoices to make use of dynamic discounting. AP automation can also significantly reduce the human error which slows down accounting processes and is a needless waste of company assets.
Electronic invoicing is just one step in the process, albeit a very major one. Once daily transactional operations have begun the switch to automation, it becomes easier for other processes to follow.
Jason Albanese: “The Paperless Office: Urban Legend Or Attainable Reality?”: www.inc.com: August 10, 2016