Electronic workflow becoming a necessity?

Electronic workflow becoming a necessity?

There are two reasons why companies should make an effort to invest in paperless document management. Firstly, paper is made out of these wonderful things called trees that happen to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. You know, that gaseous chemical that helps humans survive. The depletion of these organisms directly results in climate change, global food shortages and acid rain.

Secondly, partaking in manual processes supported by tangible transactions hinders economic production rates. Employees need to spend more time conducting tedious, time-consuming tasks that can be completed in a matter of seconds through electronic workflow. Aside from increased productivity, digital practices can lead to a happier workforce, fostering a healthy environment that people want to actively participate in.

Automate everything
One market that's particularly heavy on paper usage is the finance industry. According to CPA Practice Advisor Isaac O'Bannon, invoice automation could greatly help this market reduce its carbon footprint and expedite the flow of information traffic.  Worldwide accounts payable departments process hundreds of billions of itemized bills on an annual basis, with the majority of these transactions being physically handled. 

"By switching to e-invoicing and automating financial processes, companies can gain greater visibility and control over spend and working capital and improve their supplier relationships," said Bob Cohen, vice president of software developer Basware, in an interview with O'Bannon.

O'Bannon cited statistics from e-billing organization Billentis, stating that of the 350 billion invoices delivered globally each year, about 94 percent of them are physically sent, resulting in the destruction of 138.6 million trees and usage of 143 billion liters of water. These environmental factors don't account for the energy spent printing, scanning and mailing the physical documents. The electricity used to run the printers in addition to the fuel required to distribute deliver tangible bills all contribute to the global carbon footprint.

Lead by example
Unfortunately, some public authorities have yet to fully capitalize on the environmental and operational benefits associated with document management software. According to The Olympian, Washington State Archivist Steve Excell is expected to convene a work group of the eight state entities that produce the most tangible records. The goal of the meeting is to figure out how files can be retained for shorter periods of time and be stored in electronic format.

The news source stated that Secretary of State Kim Wyman sponsored the initiative due to the fact that the amount of paper documents is growing faster than her office can handle them. Storage is space is running low, and the environmental effects associated with these practices are beginning to weigh on the officials' conscious. Constituents are more mindful of climate change and deforestation then they were a couple of decades ago, quickly identifying the causes of such detrimental factors.

In addition, electronic workflow will enable Washington leaders to conduct transactions more fluidly than with manual processes. Citizens often demand incredible service from their representatives, and digital document management could help legislators deliver it.