As we move towards a cashless environment, the initial frenzy and confusion have given way to a paper-free work environment. With global-tech firms like Google, Amazon are paving the way for digital payments, this has reduced the dependency on cash and pushed us towards the use of digital solutions. These initiatives have captured the imagination of a cashless economy thereby reducing our dependency on paper. In the corporate world, this could signal the beginning of a paperless culture. Let’s start by looking at some trends which show how imperative it is to build a paper-free work environment:
The amount of paper used in organizations towards printing documents in a single day is astounding. According to the paperlessproject.com, globally, an average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper annually. These numbers can be changed drastically by integrating paperless solutions to avoid the needless printing of documents. One way for organizations to reduce costs and better manage discretionary spending is to automate invoice processing and disbursements. Automation delivers an average of 29 per cent reduction in invoice processing costs. Also, manual expense reporting involving paper receipts and tedious expense report assembly are a burden on business travelers. Employees find collecting receipts and filling reimbursement forms very cumbersome. At the office, the finance department cringes at the thought of deciphering receipts copied manically onto sheets of paper, and everyone, especially CFOs keeping their eyes on cash flow, hates waiting to be paid. Further, if data is scattered across the business in paper form, it is impossible to get the full picture, let along insights that are accurate and timely.
The massive paper piles, tedious tasks, and inefficiency of paper-based processes are some of the things that employees detest. One key solution is digital payments. Compared to manual payment systems, it’s faster, more accurate, and rich in data that can improve decision-making and reporting.
CFOs look for a more integrated and automated payments approach with several benefits— most importantly, less manual labor and lower costs, freeing up resources for more strategic uses. Many of them also expect more accurate reporting, improved payment processing speed, visibility, control, data security, and compliance.
Companies that have adopted electronic expense reporting have experienced a whopping 58% reduction in processing costs and greater ROI. The automated system enables employees to book travel plans that are compliant and cost-efficient, manage expenses without having to keep track of paper receipts or fill out spreadsheets and gain approvals more quickly. No more collecting paper receipts, filling out paper expense forms and trying to get reimbursed.
In a study by the Aberdeen Group, 48% of businesses indicate they want to improve their travel and expense processes and thereby, their visibility on spending. This enables them to see monthly spends to be able to close the business’s books.
With an automated system, there is more benefit in terms of heightened productivity, minimal need for manual input of T&E spend data, and optimal use of data mining and insight to flag out-of-policy spend. Plus, the benefits to the environment are immense – forgoing 55,000 receipts can spare as much as an entire tree!
To succeed in the digital age, organizations need lean, integrated — and most of all digital processes to support their business. Finance and procurement decision makers who prioritize fast, connected, and insight-led payments processes will surpass those who continue to rely on inflexible, disconnected, paper-based systems. Solutions that integrate systems with automated payment tools can generate important operational efficiencies, such as reduced manual labor and costs as well as greater visibility and control over payments.