If you've ever worked at a job where you speak to customers regularly, chances are you've had a call that went horribly wrong - likely because you weren't able to find an important document quickly. You may have placed them on hold or had to call back an hour later, but the result was probably the same - the client wasn't too happy by the end of it.
And putting together audits? Forget about doing that in a timely manner.
Finding documents can be more challenging at times than finding a needle in a haystack. That's because at the average American company, file cabinets take up more than half of the entire office's real estate - yet 45 percent of documents stashed away are duplicates and 80 percent are unnecessary.
Eliminating wasted time, money with paperless systems
Employees spend about 20 percent of their day searching for information in files, according to an IDC study, and half of the time they can't even locate the data they need. Over the course of a year, that means the average worker wastes 21 days total reviewing documents alone.
Businesses invest between 10 and 15 percent of their revenue on document-related costs, the IDC report found, so wouldn't it make sense that those expenditures went toward something that promoted more efficient practices?
This was the issue for BCFS, a nonprofit that serves hundreds of thousands of children and families worldwide. With 14 branches internationally and more than 700 employees to manage, the organization decided to implement a paperless document management system - and it's made an enormous difference so far.
"My favorite feature is the automatic filing," said Cynthia Price, a member of BCFS' accounts payable department. "Without a doubt it saves me a lot of back and forth to the file room, and it's easier to find exactly what I need."
Benefits of paperless document management
In addition to making filing easier, paperless systems can help organizations improve a number of processes, including:
- Enhancing employee access to important documents
- Increasing compliance with audit requests
- Boosting the relationship between companies and their customer bases
For Mitchell Gibbs, vice president of advancement services at Advocate Charitable Foundation (ACF), paperless document management has dramatically improved his organization's relationship with clients. With its previous system, sharing and accessing documents across different locations was extremely difficult.
"Information would either be in our central filing room or at one of our sites, so no one could see everything relevant for most of our constituents," Gibbs said.
But after deploying PaperSave software, he said ACF employees can answer donor questions in a more timely manner, which "has helped our donors feel more confident in their decision to give."
From saving time and money to meeting customer demands and audit requests, paperless systems make document management substantially better.
"I don't see how we did it in the past," Price said. "We don't get the bulk of paperwork like we used to. We don't get hundreds of loose papers stapled, getting caught to the paper clips.
"With anything new there's always apprehension. But it is so worth it."