By and large, ink and paper have been replaced by bits and bytes. While some functions of a business will undoubtedly still require physical paper copies, much of a business’s day to day operations have now been moved to the digital realm.
If your business still relies heavily on paper files and documents, though, there’s no better time than now to make the switch to digital. To help illustrate why, we’ve put together a list of the top five benefits of running a completely paperless business.
The cost of the equipment needed to run a paper-reliant business can add up quickly. Printers, fax machines, copiers, scanners, and the like can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars a piece. Depending on the size of your business, the number of these machines necessary for your company to run smoothly can lead to a staggering expense. In addition to this, even expendable supplies such as the paper and ink can become quite costly over time.
With a digital-reliant business, these expenses can be greatly reduced. Storing, sending, and receiving digital files rather than physicals ones can drastically cut the number of supplies you use and can reduce the number of machines you need to buy. Even if you already own all the copiers, printers, and other machines that running a paper-based business requires, going digital can reduce the wear and tear on them, lengthening their life-cycle.
Increase Office Space
Physical files take up a lot of room. If your office space feels crowded, take a look around at how many filing cabinets full of documents you are having to store. For paper-reliant businesses, the answer is often quite a few.
By transferring these files into a digital storage space, though, you can clear out a lot of space in your office, making for a more efficient work environment and possibly allowing you to acquire a smaller, less expensive space.
Run a More Agile Business
In the digital age, businesses move at the speed of light. Deals are made and documents are transferred with a click of the mouse. Businesses still heavily reliant on paper documents, though, are far less agile.
Transitioning to digital makes your business more agile in a number of ways. For one, it reduces the time that employees have to spend searching for files, as a computer’s “search” function is always going to be faster than thumbing through a stack of documents. Digital files can also be accessed from anywhere. This means that if you are away from the office on a trip or trying to catch up on a little work from home you can easily access the documents you need. Lastly, digital files can be sent instantaneously, allowing you to work with your partners, customers, and suppliers in a much swifter, more agile manner.
From an environmental standpoint as well as a business standpoint, going green makes sense for modern businesses, especially in recent years where positive sentiment towards companies with a green initiative has largely increased. With that said, there’s little denying the impact that the paper industry has on the environment.
For example, the impact of 10 million sheets of paper is:
- 2,500 trees
- 56,000 gallons of oil
- 450 cubic yards of landfill space
- 595,000 KW (kilowatts) of energy
On average, one office worker will print 10,000 pages of paper for a year. This means that even small businesses can end up having a considerable impact on the environment if they are too paper-reliant.
Digital file storage and transfers, though, have almost no environmental impact by comparison. By transitioning from paper to digital, you can bill your company as eco-friendly, helping shape your image into one that may attract more customers while at the same time doing your part to preserve the environment.
To be fair, no matter how you store your documents, you’re going to expose them to some degree of risk. Physical documents are exposed to the risk of theft and destruction by natural disasters, meanwhile, digital documents are prone to hacking.
While a lot of attention is given to cyber crime, causing some businesses to be wary about storing their documents in the cloud, the truth is that digital storage, when done right, is still more secure than physical storage.
For one, digital copies allow you to back up your documents as many times as you wish and store these copies in different locations. If you do this -which it is highly recommended that you do – you can ensure that you will always have access to your documents even if one copy of them is compromised.
Backing up physical copies without converting them to digital, though, is not a viable option, as it would double the amount you spend on ink and paper while at the same time doubling the amount of storage space that you need. This means that businesses who are completely reliant on paper documents often have no backup for them, leaving them completely unprepared for disasters such as flooding and fire.
While digital documents must be carefully secured in order to prevent hackers from stealing them or otherwise compromising them, backing up and securing digital documents is much more effective and affordable than backing up and securing paper documents.
There are a wide range of reasons why a business may want to decrease their reliance on paper documents and transition to digital storage. If you would like to learn more about how to transition to digital storage or how to secure your digital files, we invite you to contact us today.