There’s nothing easy about the times we are living in. The economy is locked in a downward spiral that threatens our very way of life, and the stock market continues to spike erratically from all-time highs to all-time lows leaving even the most acclaimed marketing gurus with little idea as to how long (or how serious) this burgeoning recession will be. As a result, every decision faced is magnified by the potential impact it could have on your business, employees, and customers. As a leader, you must be acutely aware of how perilous this journey forward is, not just in terms of how you manage business assets and human capital today but also in the uncertain future.
If your company has been affected by severe business interruptions, it’s time to cut your costly reliance on paper! When you go paperless and embrace business process automation, you can lessen the impact of business interruptions and continue to thrive during times of uncertainty.
Save Assets, Eliminate Liabilities
How do you define an “asset?” For many, an asset is any resource that helps improve their business, such as hard-working employees, intelligent software, industry partnerships, and virtually anything else that positively influences the success of their business. Assets should be protected at all costs because they typically yield a positive ROI for your business; otherwise, they wouldn’t be assets!
On the other side of the spectrum, there are liabilities that you should eliminate to benefit your business. This can be tricky as some liabilities disguise themselves as assets. In fact, one such liability is paper, which has been masquerading as an asset for far too long. What’s wrong with using paper to do business? For starters:
- Inconvenient to store and retrieve
- Easily lost, misplaced, or destroyed
- Long processing times
- Heavily reliant on repetitive manual work
- Not scalable
- Incompatible with key components of digital transformation
- Slows business growth
When you go paperless, you can cut costs without cutting employees. Let’s face it, paper only serves one function: storing information. On the other hand, your employees have unlimited potential to assist your business in any number of ways. And with business process automation, they can work faster and more accurately without having to rely on old, inundated processes that prevent your business from reaching peak operational efficiency. When you make the commitment to support a paperless office today, you are fortifying your business infrastructure for whatever lies ahead in the future.
Layoffs Come With Hidden Costs
Unfortunately, when the economy is in the gutter and morale is low, many businesses are forced to rely on layoffs as a short-term solution to cut costs and keep a business viable while the markets work themselves out. No employer wants to find themselves in a position where this strategy has to be used; after all, employees are a company’s most valuable asset. Plus, layoffs can do more harm than good if you don’t consider the hidden financial and cultural costs:
- Financial Costs: accrued paid time off, severance pay, continuation coverage, vacancy, replacement, and other miscellaneous expenses that could cost you up to tens of thousands of dollars or more. Keep in mind that the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129 per SHRM.
- Cultural Costs: low morale, lost productivity, negative employee perceptions, missing tribal knowledge, and other people-based issues that are difficult to account for and even harder to assign a hard dollar value. Remember, if morale gets too low it can be difficult to retain new workers once economic conditions have recovered.
Support Business Continuity
When a company relies on paper-based processes or is undergoing a period of restructuring, it’s going to have a negative impact on business continuity. With a full team, everyone understands and acknowledges their role. They perform the same (or similar) tasks each day until they have been mastered. Many of these processes, such as Accounts Payable, rely on other employees to perform their own specialized tasks, too. Needless to say, when a portion of these employees is suddenly missing, it becomes nearly impossible to keep the entire operation running at 100 percent efficiency. This is another problem that can be easily solved when you go paperless.
A paperless office isn’t constrained to the same limitations as a physical office, and with business process automation, continuity is never an issue. Your processes become hardwired into the very framework of your business, which means employees don’t have to memorize complex filing rules or possess tribal knowledge to perform their jobs at a high level. If you need to cut costs but can’t afford to miss a step, you should consider how you can automate your company to ensure that business continuity is never interrupted again.
Embrace Long-Term Business Solutions
Speaking of business continuity, when you focus on eliminating paper, you are essentially reaffirming your commitment to a long-term business strategy. A paperless future is on the horizon, why not be one of the early adopters of this game-changing shift? If you go paperless today and automate your company, you’re equipping your business with the tools to work faster and more accurately than your competitors. Best of all, with all your documents stored digitally in an enterprise content management (ECM) system, your employees can keep working whether they’re in the office or working from home. When supported by business process automation, you can even process up to 90% or more of your documents without any human intervention at all. Companies that have already taken the leap are posting 40 – 75 percent cost savings as a result. Now that you’ve readjusted your projections for 2020 to align with the ongoing crisis, factor in 40 – 75 percent cost savings and see where your business stands.
Automate Your Company
When a company invests in a paperless office, all documents are filed and stored in a secure digital repository where they can be accessed at will. An ECM system expands on this functionality by allowing these documents to be processed via workflows that connect users with varying levels of authority within the company. Eliminating paper yields several basic yet potentially significant cost savings, including:
- Reduced paper use
- Eliminate filing cabinets and on-site storage
- Fewer office supplies
- Eliminate off-site storage
- Faster processing times
- Fewer errors
Consider this: it costs approximately $20 in labor to file a document, $120 to find misfiled documents, and $240 to reproduce a lost document. Just think, a document costs $20 to file, but if it’s misfiled the cost goes up to $140. If it gets lost altogether, that price goes up to $240. $240 is a high price to pay for one single document. At that price, an Accounts Payable professional earning a salary of $50,000 would only be expected to process around 200 documents per year to break even for the employer. That’s not very efficient or cost-effective, especially considering the average employee processes 700 invoices per month. This further goes to show that employees are assets with a high potential for positive ROI. As for paper…get rid of it!
Go Paperless Today to Avoid Future Business Interruptions
Help has already arrived in the form of a $2 trillion stimulus package, but this a one-time deal and shouldn’t be viewed as a long-term solution. As an employer, it’s important to understand that the true costs of laying off people rather than paper are vastly different. If you want to avoid future business interruptions and keep your business running when America goes remote, the first step is to go paperless. Then, once you have eliminated your reliance on paper, you can automate your company to realize massive cost savings that allow you to keep your valued employees and liberate them from repetitive, manual tasks. In the end, you will have retained a large portion of your assets and future-proofed your business for the next crisis, allowing you to focus on growing your business alongside the employees who helped pave the way.