Spend green to save green: the ROI of document management

Metafile’s Alyssa Putzer explains the benefits of transitioning to a paperless office with a document management or accounts payable automation solution

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By Guest on 05 May 2016
Spend green to save green: the ROI of document management

Transitioning to a paperless office can be exciting, rewarding, motivating – and expensive. And while this may seem daunting, it’s clear that the benefits far outweigh the cost when you consider the price connected with paper in your office.

If your office is still using paper-based processes, you may be incurring unnecessary costs that could be eliminated by going paperless with a document management or accounts payable (AP) automation solution. There are several costs associated with paper-based processes, including:

1. Storage
A four-drawer filing cabinet not only costs up to US$1,000, but it also takes up about 15.7 sqft of office space. In addition, it costs the average company US$25,000 to fill a filing cabinet and about US$2,100 per year to maintain it. The odds are that your company has more than one filing cabinet. According to an article by Que Publishing, 50-75% of office space is dedicated to filing and document storage, and 45% of the stored documents contain duplicated information, while 80% are never accessed again after they have been filed. PwC found that the average company spends about US$20 in labour costs to file each paper document.

2. Office Supplies
You likely have drawers, cupboards, boxes and closets packed full of miscellaneous office supplies. This probably includes pens, pencils, notepads, extra paper, ink, staples, paperclips, binders, sticky notes and so much more. The cheapest ink is about US$13 per ounce, and the most expensive is US$75 per ounce, while toner can cost anywhere between US$75 and US$200. Another hidden office product cost is postage stamps, which costs up to 49 US cents each. Any mail that weighs more than one ounce is charged at 22 US cents per additional ounce on top of the price of the stamp. The average cost of office supplies per employee per year, according to LAC Group, can range from US$200 to more than US$1000. Think about the money that could be saved if you eliminated the need for office supplies associated with paper.

3. Labour
According to research by AccountingWEB, the average staff member or accountant makes 60 trips to a photocopier per week, spending 15 hours per month printing documents. This adds up for companies, especially when you factor in that the average hourly rate of a working adult in the US is around US$25 per hour. Also bear in mind the fact that executives spend 150 hours per year looking for misplaced documents. When you implement a document management solution, your employees can reallocate their time to more crucial tasks rather than spending their time at a copier or searching aimlessly through filing cabinets for old documents.

4. Increased payment times
Research from the Aberdeen Group found that companies without a document management solution averaged 14.4 days to process an invoice and some took as long as 34.4 days. You may be paying excess fees due to late payments that continue to accrue interest. It’s also possible that you are missing out on early payment discounts by not knowing the optimal time to pay. Streamlining your business processes with AP automaton can lead to faster payment collection, or faster payment depending on the department because you no longer have to worry about printing, scanning and mailing invoices and other documents.

The return on investment (ROI) of a document management/AP automation solution is substantial, especially when you factor in the costs of paper storage, office supplies, labor and inefficient payment times. By eliminating these costs, your company can save money and increase productivity.

Paper and inefficient processes is a major hindrance in many organisations, both in terms of efficiency and cost. MetaViewer document management solution streamlines business processes through paperless capture of and access to invoices, purchase orders and other documents, integration with current ERP platforms, elimination of manual data entry and more. Integrating MetaViewer into your financial departments gets you on the right track toward eliminating paper from your office and increasing your ROI.

Alyssa Putzer is the marketing communications specialist at Metafile Information Systems

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