Isn’t Paper Supposed to be Dying?
Posted on October 1, 2015 by Liang McIntosh-Yee
Paper is Dead
For the past ten years, you’ve been hearing that paper is dead. Not just in the accounting world, but books, newspapers, and magazines were supposed to be gone by now. Checks were going to be a thing of the past. Bills and snail mail? Never again. Yet here we are in 2015, and we still see all of this paper all around. So we decided to look at our data to find out how much paper is still really used by businesses.
We looked at how our customers were receiving their documents since the beginning of 2014. We found that our payables customers still have about 44% of their documents come in via scan of a paper document. Email, the way of the future, makes up about 55% of the documents that our customers receive. Fax, however prominent it used to be, is below 1% of our customer’s documents, getting closer and closer to 0 every month. While email is much more prominent than it was ten years ago, there is still a significant amount of paper invoices that accounts payables professionals have to deal with on a daily basis. And though email appears to be replacing paper, does that matter?
Is Email Better?
So what does this mean? It means that companies still manage a lot of paper in their accounts payable department. Businesses still have to deal with opening mail, scanning, data entry, and routing of invoices for approval for 44% of their invoices.
The rise of email has been a benefit to the vendor, as they eliminate the print and postage costs associated with sending out paper invoices. But for AP departments, now accepting emails, have the added task of opening emails, data entry, and the routing and storage of invoices, there are just more things to manage. Many AP professionals still treat emails as paper documents, as they will still print and process them as they would a paper invoice.
So is Paper Dying or Not?
We realize that paper will not completely go away any time soon, but there are ways that you can avoid the tedious process of routing paper invoices to multiple locations, multiple approvers, and getting payment out on time. Because vendors prefer to send electronic invoices, the additional processes that accounts payable departments have to handle reduces their efficiency.
You can alleviate the pain that comes along with these paper documents and emails by looking at technology solutions that eliminates the manual tasks associated with processing paper and email invoices. This allows organizations to view, approve, and process invoices and related documents on a single platform.
Do you notice these trends in your workplace? Let us know in the comments below.