After years of hearing about the paperless office and how it will revolutionize the business world, it finally appears to be coming to fruition.
A recent Adobe study found that nearly 90 percent of organizations have mostly digital offices in place, according to PCWorld. More than 60 percent of respondents said that having an electronic workflow has improved their business, and more than half believe paperless document management has made filing processes easier.
Those numbers might seem modest, but they have been on a continuous upward slope. What has stood in the way for many companies is a hesitancy to adopt full-scale paperless systems, feeling as though they don't have the time nor resources for such an investment.
The good news for those organizations is that they don't need to make all their processes paperless just yet. In a blog post for Enterprise Irregulars, systems architect and independent analyst Sandy Kemsley suggested first going paperless on a small scale, automating only mission-critical functions like accounts payable processes.
Brown University recently took that advice by integrating hour logs and payroll tracking into the electronic workflow.
"Many paper-driven, labor-intensive business processes [will be automated], making it easier and faster to submit and track payroll information," Elizabeth Warner, director of compensation and organizational services, told The Brown Daily Herald in an email.
Not only has this provided students and faculty alike with greater visibility - important files can be viewed 24/7, according to the news source - but Warner said it reduces the risk of frustrating delays and misplaced files.
"It's also a much easier way to see the process through, from submitting our hours, to getting them approved and eventually being paid," Jennifer Reis, a human resources student office assistant, told the newspaper.
Another benefit of paperless AP processes is invoice automation. As Kemsley noted, this enables workers to access invoices from anywhere with an internet connection and send it through email far more easily.