Toss the Manila Folder: The Real Cost of Inefficient Paper Processes

    Visit Starbucks for a caramel macchiato and it will cost you somewhere between $3 and $5 – without a tip. But as an interesting Yahoo! story pointed out, the habit of picking up that cup of Joe can cost spenders well beyond the original amount. In one year, a missed opportunity to invest those dollars elsewhere can cost a coffee-drinker as much a car. And in 30 years? They’re walking away from a fairly substantial house.

    Likewise, the cost of becoming stuck in inefficient paper processes is having far more negative impact on companies than the upfront data shows:



    Automated vs. Paper Processing: Today’s Numbers

    • $3.34 per digital invoice vs. $22.75 for paper.
    • 6.1 hours processing time per digital invoice vs. 16.3 hours for paper.
    • 47% early payment discounts vs. 16% for paper


    Automated vs. Paper Processing: Additional Costs to You Long-Term

    Like a person passing on that Subaru or two-story home, companies mired in paper process inefficiencies are simply too focused on the matters at hand to see how not making the digital leap will cost them long term.  The following are just a few unseen costs of remaining in the paper pile:

    • The others guys are getting ahead. After running the numbers and giving it good thought, you’ve decided you’re okay with your paper/automation mix – until the other guys begin making gains in ways you never considered. The fact is, end-to-end automation is leaving accounts payable clerks with more time to research vendors, get better pricing, set up convenient, late-fee-preventing auto-payments and get more done in the mad rush of month-end. This Supply Chain Demand Executive article calls automated AP processes “agents of change,” offering that “companies that ditch their manual ways for automated solutions will see less paper… they will uncover and resolve disputes faster, monitor on-going payments better and lower their processing costs and fraud risk.”
    • Lack of visibility could be hitting your pocketbook. Visibility is a very big thing. When it comes to AP automation, the ability to understand quickly what’s going out, what’s coming in and where there may be problems saves companies lost time and may help recover profit. Imagine a sales team in the field racking up wins left and right while bad news is brewing at home. Without AP automation, all the wins may not cancel out undetected losses – losses that can be prevented by automated visibility. Having a system that allows you to fix things before they become a problem is critical today, especially for high-growth companies that can’t afford to look behind to be sure the rest of the company is keeping up.
    • Your bottom line improvement isn’t what it could be. Not only are paper processes inefficient in themselves, you’re paying employees to do the mundane. Businesses with automated processes are getting more value from their hires because these employees are able to actively find ways to make improvements and apply them quickly instead of being simple paper pushers. The ability to realize early payment discounts, quickly detect fraud, eliminate late settlement fees and avoid duplicate payments are bottom-line benefiting and are helping businesses kick competitive strategies into high gear.

    Not everyone needs or wants to break a pricey coffee habit. Java is still considered by many to be liquid gold. The daily paper habit, however, is costing more than many companies realize. At the end of the day, it’s just pulp. And the necessity of this spend is truly worth reconsidering.

    To find out how DocuPhase can help you kick your paper habit, simplify and grow your business, contact us for a custom demo.

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