Quite literally printing money

How much could your business save by going paperless?

The mythical land of the ‘paperless office’ has long been eulogised in our increasingly digital world. Yet surprisingly few businesses have truly embraced the concept — a recent report shows that only 17% of offices are described as paper free. However, this reluctance to finally put paper in the bin might be costing your business in more areas than you think.

Papering over the cracks

We’ve all been there. You can’t find the document you printed off yesterday so you print it off again — all 10 pages in colour. Then you make a few scribbles on the first page, before throwing the whole stack straight in the (recycling)bin. This scene of waste is being repeated in offices up and down the country day in, day out.

Unsurprisingly this extra printing is costing your business more than just a an unsightly desk. A report published by Oki Systems UK showed that 44% of SMEs who are aware of their printing overheads spend over £10,000 a year, with a staggering 47% of them printing more than a standard size box of paper per week. Once you add the cost of the printer itself, maintenance, ink and paper, losing all those documents suddenly becomes a costly mistake.

Stamping down

The cost of our love affair with paper doesn’t stop at the printing press. Sending documents out using a postal service also costs huge sums of money. An InformIT study in USA suggests that for every $1 a company spent on printing, a further $6 is spent on handling and distribution. Netflix famously spent $700m on postage in 2010. Whilst the savings for SMEs will be more modest, postage bills for companies in the UK are still regularly in the £1000s each year.

These estimates do not take into account the time-cost attributed to waiting for documents to be sent and returned, or further delays caused by lost items.

Space invader

Once you’ve printed your beloved document, sent it out, and finally have it returned — you now need to store it. This is the third unintended cost of a paper laden office. One of the biggest expenditures any business has is its office space, and far too many square meters are being taken up with files and documents that could all be stored digitally.

To put some of this into perspective, an average 4-draw filing cabinet costs about £100 and takes up approximately 0.16 square meter at a cost of over £90 a month (based on an average London rent of £55 per square foot). According to PWC, it then takes an employee around 15 minutes to properly file a document in a physical file. If an administrative agent is being paid £10 an hour, and only spends one hour a day filing documents, that still equates to over £2000 a year wasted on filing documents. When these figures are taken and multiplied by the volume of documents that businesses have, it’s easy to see how the costs involved can soon spiral.

Avvoka platform

Avvoka is a platform allowing businesses to contract in the cloud. Stop printing money and visit www.avvoka.com to start automating your business’s standard-form contracts and keep the paper off your desk.