Environment Not Only Factor Pointing to Paperless Office

Mary Ellen Power, March 24, 2014
paperless office

The idea of the paperless office is so old and surrounded by so much hype that some businesses may not know what claims they should take seriously. However, a few things have become clear in the sector, and one of them is that environmental gains are not the only reason to turn to paperless office strategies.

A recent Director of Finance Online report explained that many companies do end up emphasizing the environment when transitioning to paperless office concepts, and rightfully so. But some do so while neglecting the business case for paperless operations, an oversight that can cause innovation to stagnate.

The news source explained that paperless office principles can create considerable fiscal gains for a business through a combination of operational and technical innovation. This creates an environment in which strategies to get paper out of the work place, such as electronic signatures, are incredibly valuable.

Looking at the problem of paper

According to the report, some research indicates that the idea of moving to a paperless office has been around since the 1980s, a long time for an idea to exist with so little progress. In fact, innovation toward paperless offices has been so slow that waste-focused research firm WRAP found that just 24 percent of organizations in the United Kingdom actually have a dedicated paperless office strategy. This represents a major problem for businesses because, WRAP found, the average worker in the U.K. handles approximately 45 sheets of paper daily. Half of that paper can be considered waste.

Citing a variety of studies, including work from WRAP, Gartner and various technology and records management firms, the news source explained that paper creates considerable financial costs in terms of printing, mailing, storage and disposal. These costs can be staggering, creating incredibly problematic fiscal conditions for many companies.

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Considering finances in the paperless office sphere

The report said that one of the core problems in the paperless office initiative may be that many businesses consider electronic records as a secondary initiative that is focused on environmental gains. If businesses instead focus on the fiscal implications of the paperless office they may find themselves much more motivated to accelerate the pace of innovation.

E-signature solutions can play a vital role in positioning businesses to take full advantage of paperless initiatives. Electronic signature software enables companies in all sectors to create secure, legally-valid contract and agreement processes that eliminate the cost and operational challenges associated with paper-based operations and records management. Monetizing e-signature investments is easier when organizations understand how other organizations are taking advantage of the technology.