Why "Go Paperless" and What Exactly Does it Mean?
Updated: Oct 13
By: Siddharth Wadehra, QuickReach Head of Research
For almost over two decades now, companies across the world are claiming to switch to paperless operations. However, for a number of reasons, going completely paperless wasn’t always possible. Among the reasons for this are the systems introduced into companies to facilitate the paperless vision but often fail to be integrated into some parts of the company’s legacy systems. Other key reasons include cultural considerations and the belief that the transition to paperless might not be as simple as it sounds and employees might not fully embrace this sudden change.
With automation suites and digital platforms finding their way into the workplace, going completely paperless is a reality. Processes are being optimized and inefficiencies reduced as companies look to digitally transform their departments in a bid to make them embrace the transition that engulfs the modern workplace. Before we delve any further, let’s take a step back to explore why a company like yours would want to go paperless. Is it just in vogue to call yourself “digitally transformed” or are there any other reasons associated with your decision to ditch the paper which has been around for decades now?
Do employees often complain about errors in reimbursements or does it take hours to find the status of invoice approval? How difficult is it managing files and heaps of paper, having people manually enter data into excel sheets and stack away the heaps into the storeroom as proof of receipt of payment? Do you often contemplate whether there is a better way to manage all the stress that bundles of papers stacked together bring?
Below are some of the most typical advantages why companies should choose to adapt digital, paperless workflows.
Let's tackle each item further for you to understand how these benefit your employees, customers, and the company as a whole.
1. Reduction in manual errors
One of the key reasons why companies prefer to go paperless is the reduction in errors. Incomplete forms, illegible writing, and unvalidated forms are all potential reasons why manual errors are so common with traditional paper-based forms.
In case of mistakes, fingers are pointed at stakeholders while in fact, an incompetent workflow is to blame. Understandably, when workflows are unclear, it leaves room for errors. With automation systems, the workflows are improved and no form is accepted into the system without filling in all mandatory fields. This leaves no room for errors in the flow and the resulting blame.
2. Instant and controlled accessibility
Imagine you are onsite on a client location and would need to check up the status of an order, or maybe place an urgent order and you might need access to the company purchase order forms, or could be as simple as need to approve a leave for one of your team members who has to go on an emergency.
These are all options that would be available at the tap of your mobile phone if your department has an automation software to help optimize processes. You would be saved the hassle of calling up your office to request someone to dive through papers in cabinets to get to the information you need to make your decision.
Having said that, you don’t want everyone in the team to have access to the same privileged information. It could well be sensitive such as financial data which not everyone needs to know about. With a digital automation platform, you have options to set access layers that allow you to restrict data. Depending on the requirement, you could choose to hide data fields, make them read-only, or even editable as you deem appropriate.
3. Ease of regulatory compliance
Auditing your processes is a lot easier when you are not trying to scramble into heaps of paperwork digging into them last minute. Important documents and client contracts should never just be another file lying around to get lost.
Automation ensures that you have timely access to confidential information kept securely in digital files and folders. Not to forget that there could be industry-specific regulations like HIPPA, ISO, or SOX which one might have to comply with, and digital forms can significantly help with easier versioning and effective storage. This goes a long way in ensuring that you can simplify complying with government and industry regulations and ensure apt documentation which meets compliance specifications.
4. Massive cost savings
From just a cost standpoint, a paperless office with a digital automation platform has a massive return on investment. Understandably, in business districts, space is premium and storage costs in the office could be massive. This does not include the cost of paper, office supplies, printers, hardware, shipping, and mailing. There’s no wonder this could well be the only reason why companies would want to put a paperless office software to immediate use.
Having an electronic storage system could eliminate the need for excessive storage space and keep your files securely over the cloud. Not to mention, going paperless would help you do your bit in protecting the environment. In fact, a report by the US Environmental Protection agency** estimates getting rid of paper could save as much as USD 80 per employee.
5. Better security
One might ask which is the safest place a document could be kept in- perhaps a desk drawer under a lock. If one considers the various risks of theft or fire or any natural calamity, a safer bet might probably be to go paperless. With a cloud-based paperless system in place, one can be guaranteed of improved security with data effectively backed up and recovery options in case of a potential disaster.
QuickReach your way to a paperless office
Integrating existing legacy systems could be one of the major obstacles your office might face in its journey to go paperless. An intelligent business process automation suite like QuickReach could help you to integrate paperless workflows into your legacy systems, be it in finance, HR, office admin, or IT. Its built-in templates and easy-to-configure drag-and-drop visual interface allow you to deploy the first digital process in a matter of minutes!