By Christina Bowe, Regional Director UK & Ireland, Perceptive Software

Paper-intensive accounts payable and accounts receivable processes present a considerable burden in the form of time-consuming manual keying, line item matching and routing documents for approval. These slow routines increase operating costs and create inefficiencies within any organisation.

The paperless office may seem like a pipe dream, but enterprises can take action to make it a reality. By having a clear methodology with accountability in place, businesses can continually improve on their march towards their paperless objectives.

Here are 10 reasons the paperless office is a goal worth pursuing:

  • Easy storage: All documents entering the organisation can be scanned and electronically stored within a centralised, configurable content management system, minimising costs associated with physical storage.
  • Automatic audit trail: With strict guidelines in place regarding document retention policy, maintaining documents electronically makes them immediately accessible for later inquiries.
  • Time savings: Digging through file cabinets becomes a thing of the past. Content can be located within seconds via intelligent search functionality.
  • Simplicity: Authorised users can perform many business processes with a touch of a button.
  • Accessibility: Multiple people can view a document at the same document across multiple sites.
  • Business development: With digital content management making key routines more efficient, management can focus more resources continual improvements and cultivating new business
  • Security: With documents stored on secured servers, only authorised users are able to retrieve them. This is more secure than paper, which can be easy misplaced or mishandled.
  • Better customer service: A document management system enables users to access all customer data quickly, supporting a faster, improved customer experience.
  • Email efficiency: An effective document management system can communicate with internal server-based email systems to present emails like documents, saving time in digging up emails.
  • ROI: Organisations typically observe a rapid return on investment with document management systems, often achieving ROI within one year of implementation.

Are you there yet?

Christina Bowe, Regional Director UK & Ireland, Perceptive Software
Christina Bowe, Regional Director UK & Ireland, Perceptive Software

Paperless Office Maturity Models (POMMs) are diagnostic tools that help organisations measure their progress toward true automation in AP and Developed jointly by the Institute of Financial Operations (IFO) and Perceptive Software, they assess current processes and offer useful strategies for achieving the next level of automation, based on key questions about those processes.

Since Perceptive Software and the Institute of Financial Operations (IFO) created these models, there have been 204 such evaluations, encompassing businesses in industries including, Education, Retail and Banking, and from locales around the world, including Europe, Australia and the United States.

On a scale from completely paper-based (Level 1) to completely paperless (Level 5), the vast majority of these businesses fared no better than Level 3, with Level 2 (primarily paper-based, with most processes involving considerable manual labour) being roughly the norm. The full breakdown is seen below.

Paperless Office Maturity Models provide a starting point for pinpointing opportunities to improve key business operations. The paperless office may be a pipe dream for some, but in just five minutes you can take the first step to begin the profitable quest toward efficient, accountable, paperless routines. Measure your progress toward AP and AR automation and find out where your department scores compared to businesses around the world. After completing your submission, you will receive a personalised summary of your results and recommendations on how to get closer to a true paper-free environment.

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