How to Go Paperless: almost everything you need to know
How to Go Paperless: almost everything you need to know
Do you want to know how to go paperless in your organisation? Going paperless can bring enormous advantages to your business. Reducing the use of paper can save money and resources, improve transparency, and help the environment at a time when deforestation is very much in the news.
Why do businesses still use paper?
According to Quocirca.com – a provider of market insight and intelligence to print industry businesses and technology leaders – many businesses remain reliant on print to some extent. Quocirca’s Global Print 2025 study shows that 65 per cent of IT decision-makers believe that printing will be necessary to their daily business in six years. There are several reasons why companies are still using paper, and industries like finance, insurance, mortgages, and healthcare can still be heavily reliant on paper and paper-based processes. Paper is often used in business workflows for onboarding new customers and employees, invoicing or printing and filing documents in those industries. However, it is possible to review existing practices and plan to reduce paper use in your organisation going forward by going digital. Organisations need to embrace change and adopt new ways of working to reduce their paper use.
The business advantages of going paperless
Do you want to eliminate paper in your organisation? While it’s clear that not every business has the ability or desire to ditch paper immediately, there are clear business advantages to reducing paper waste from your daily work life. So what are the advantages of going paperless?
- Going paperless can increase the speed of working. For example, Santander reduced the time it took for new customers to open a new account by 83% by reducing manual and paper-based processes and forms. Salesforce reduced the time it takes to complete an employee offer letter to an average of just one day.
- Organisations can maintain a better degree of control over the various business workflows within their business. For example, establishing a clear audit trail of agreements in the cloud brings both legal and productivity benefits. Going paperless can boost transparency and provide business insights. For example, DocuSign eSignature enables stakeholders to see who has a contract and whether they have signed it or not.
- Going fully digital saves time, which frees staff from administrative chores like printing, scanning and tracking documents. It enables them to focus on higher-value tasks, helping them reduce time-wasting at work.
Aside from direct impacts on your business, a paperless office can also provide indirect benefits, such as improved customer experiences. The Forrester Consulting State of Systems of Agreement Report 2021, commissioned by DocuSign, demonstrates that 57% of businesses said better customer experiences were one of the benefits of implementing digital agreement processes, and 54% said they experience faster deal cycles. It can also contribute to your in-house environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) targets and play a role in your corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme too.
How businesses can go paperless
Just how easy is it to go paperless? Technology is a crucial enabler and can make it relatively easy to start going paperless straight away. Here are three easy steps to going paperless. It’s a good idea to pick one or two areas to digitally transform, create a paperless workflow and then roll these out across your organisation.
- Embrace the Cloud - Create paperless document management. Storing documents in the cloud using Google Drive, DropBox, or Microsoft’s One Drive allows users to share documents effortlessly.
- Use Paperless Signatures - using electronic signature software like DocuSign eSignature eliminates the need to print, sign, scan or post contracts and documents. Instead of using paper documentation, documentation management software and systems can help you to digitise processes.
- Create digital receipts - send receipts via an app or email to cut back on paper usage; this is particularly relevant for retailers.
- Make all of your contract and agreement workflows digital. Streamline onboarding and other agreements with contract lifecycle management technology.
Going paperless and sustainability
Deforestation is out of control, and a report showed that the Brazilian rainforest had hit the highest levels of deforestation since 2012. Going paperless can have a clear impact in helping to save forests and contribute to environmental sustainability. DocuSign has helped hundreds of millions of people around the world to replace over 38 billion sheets of paper with digital processes that do not require paper.
What should I know about going paperless?
Going paperless in your organisation has advantages for the environment and your employees. It also drives speed and efficiency. Going digital with your business processes can help you. Technology is available that is simple to implement and use, like e-signature tools and online document storage solutions such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
How can I start going paperless?
You can start going paperless by embracing technology. Start new good habits by not printing out documents and using an electronic signature tool like DocuSign eSignature to get documents signed online. Start storing your documents in the cloud using Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox. Once you have started with these easy-to-implement solutions, you can start to identify other workflows that can be digitised. For example, you may want to streamline your HR processes for recruitment and onboarding or use contract management software.
What should I do to avoid wasting paper and going paperless?
Some simple ways to reduce paper from your daily work life include taking paperless notes and avoiding printing out documents. Using electronic signature software eliminates the need to print, sign, and post documents. You can also inspire teams to save paper by tracking the environmental impacts of your paper usage with an online calculator.
Going paperless gives businesses the option to benefit from streamlined processes, cost savings and better security of essential documents. It can also play a role in addressing broader ethical and moral responsibilities that are important to consumers, such as deforestation. While it can be a challenge to go paperless, it should surely be a consideration for any forward-looking business in the digital age. Go paperless today and start a free trial with DocuSign eSignature.