5 Important Effects That Going Paperless Has on Your Office

Keith Krach
September 1, 2016

Despite the fact that paperless operations have accelerated the speed of business, cut costs, and streamlined operations for millions of American businesses, some firms still hesitate to adopt the technologies that make it possible. As of 2013, BizTech Magazine reported that a study commissioned by Adobe revealed that less than 20 percent of managers of businesses of all sizes indicated that they considered their operations paperless.

In the face of substantial evidence, including the $8 billion that American businesses waste every year on paper management, all businesses looking for a way to remain competitive on the digital frontier should consider a digital transaction management platform like DocuSign to help them take that first step to a paperless office. Here are five direct effects your business could see as a result.

1. Increased employee productivity

As mentioned above, the cost of managing paper amounts to around $8 billion annually—factors that contribute to this include the time employees spend working with and looking for paper documents that have been misplaced. Printed documents and forms in American businesses are copied between 9 and 11 times, many become outdated within 90 days of creation, and the average worker will spend around a third of his or her time looking for documents after they are filed away.

Taking paper out of the equation can save your employees that third of their time spent searching for hardcopy documents, along with the time it takes to prepare, print, transport, and file papers in the process of getting work done. Using a Digital Transaction Management platform can further streamline your company’s operations by reducing the need for time-consuming tasks like data entry, which are prone to human error. Together, these factors give your employees extra hours to dedicate to more important facets of their jobs that directly impact your bottom line.

2. More money for your budget

A modern business that relies on paper is missing an excellent opportunity to create more room in its budget. Opting out of technologies that allow your firm to go paperless, like DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management platform, incurs its most significant cost from the employee hours spent filing, organizing, transporting, or searching for papers.

Labor is one of the most expensive operational costs that a business pays out each year, so it’s important to make sure that no aspect of your internal operations are holding your staff back from being as productive as possible. Abandoning paper processes in favor of a digital paper management alternative can streamline workflows, enhance interoffice communication, and expedite the completion of transactions, allowing your employees to get more done in less time and saving your firm significant labor costs. In addition, your firm will allocate fewer funds toward office supplies than ever before.

3. Environmentally-friendly business image

The value of “going green” cannot be underestimated in 2016. Consumers are becoming exponentially more conscious of environmental and social issues, and they want the brands they support to reflect that commitment. According to a study conducted last year, nearly nine out of ten consumers surveyed indicated that, in addition to making a profit, they expect companies to operate in a responsible way that is conducive to modern social and environmental concerns.

The paper production industry not only accounts for 4 percent of global energy use each year, but paper also accounts for more than one-third of the total weight of all municipal landfill waste. Going paperless is a simple way to show that your business is sensitive to environmental conservation, making the company more appealing to a wider demographic of potential customers.

4. An increase in business velocity

Going paperless is an important step for a business seeking to automate internal processes and increase business velocity. Choosing not to streamline paper-based processes means choosing to delay transactions, thus slowing the flow of revenue. Additionally, slower business processes conducted on paper reduce the rate of output for products or services.

Using Digital Transaction Management software and conducting business digitally alleviates the issue of delay, allowing contracts, agreements, and other deals to be executed quickly. Additionally, paperless operations allow busy company leaders to maintain that fast pace even when traveling for work, as all documents and data can be accessed from anywhere via the cloud. The ability to explore new opportunities, network, and still manage a standard workload from afar allows the digital, paperless company to extend its reach and velocity far beyond that of paper-based companies.

5. Recognition from your competition

The company that can accommodate the needs of customers quickly and operate at an optimal speed is formidable competition. Digital disruption is already taking a toll on those businesses that have not learned to adapt, and many professionals believe that as many as four out of 10 industry-leading companies will find themselves displaced on the market by 2020.

Choosing to adopt paperless practices is a simple, effective way for companies to begin a digital transformation, which could earn them the recognition of competitors as well as potential partners and investors. In contrast, adhering to paper-based practices could have the opposite effect—clients, competition, and potential partners are likely to view your firm as outdated and unlikely to succeed.

Keith Krach

Keith Krach is Chairman of DocuSign, The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management.