As a Document Imaging company, it is probably no surprise that we are big advocates for electronic document storage but the fact remains that physical paper storage of documents is still the norm. For organizations still storing paper documents, it’s a big shift in the process to go paperless, and then there are all the backfile archives to deal with. If you’re on the fence about making the paperless plunge with your records, here are a few factors to consider as you think about what those hard copies really cost your company.

Paper’s Costs Extend Beyond The Price of Paper

Unless you’re among the smallest of small businesses, your hard copy costs extend far beyond the price of your printer, paper, and ink. Other expenses include:

  • Space rental for the duration of your corporate retention policies.
  • Third-party storage fees including: retrieval fees, copying fees, refiling fees.
  • On-site storage fees including: capinets/racks, time for employees, loss of office space.
  • Copying, in-person sharing, and mailing.
  • Security and shredding services for sensitive documents.
  • Printer and copier maintenance and repairs.

Going paperless eliminates all of these fees. Sure, there will be some costs associated with electronic storage, but those fees end up being a lot more palatable when compared to the ever-growing fees associated with paper storage.

Time Spent Searching and Returning Documents

Electronic information is easy to search and access, and more readily accessible via a well-organized document management system. Documents that have been converted can be accessed through the cloud or system using any device that has internet, anywhere or anytime. It also allows increased productivity by enabling employees to find the information they need quickly.

In 2012, McKinsey reported that employees spend roughly 20-30% of the workday (1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average) searching and gathering information. Transitioning to a digital environment can reduce the time to locate a file and enhance the ability to quickly share, collaborate, exchange, and access documents, reducing the turnaround time and further increasing the efficiency for your business.

Security Compromises With Physical Documents

Security is – and will remain – a big concern when it comes to both paper and electronic documents. Certainly, there are security pros and cons to both, but the risks that come with paper documents outweigh the risks associated with electronic documents.

Electronic documents have an inherent vulnerability to hacks and data breaches, but paper documents are vulnerable to other types of physical catastrophic events, including theft, fire, water damage, and natural paper decomposition. Just like with the audit trail, it’s difficult to track who handles paper documents along the way, opening up risks for unauthorized access. Electronic documents have built-in digital records, and electronic content management systems can provide secure authorized access.

Environmental Impact of Going Paperless

Given we now live in an age where customers really do see a company’s green credentials as important, there has never been a better time to consider digitizing your paper records. With more and more people taking an interest in environmental issues and the impact we are having on the natural world, many customers now make choices based on how environmentally friendly a company is, how ethical and sustainable its products and services are, and the steps it is taking to reduce the harm it causes the planet.

Going paperless can be a fantastic way for an organization to demonstrate to customers that it takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and is taking active steps to reduce its carbon footprint and the harm it does to the environment.

TierFive Can Help

In an effort to go ‘paperless’ or at least ‘paper-lite’, many places of work are looking to move their processes to computer-based systems, reducing the need to keep physical records and speeding up day to day operations. That still leaves the question of what to do with the vast back-catalogs of records many organizations have.

If you want to digitize their records, seeing them transferred quickly and safely into an easy-access online system TierFive can help with a simple online quote or a call to +1 (888) 547-2267 for a free consultation and learn about how we can help you digitize your documents.

Rick Arlen