ROI of Document Management, Part 1: The price of paper

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So you’re considering transitioning to a paperless office, but are a little wary about the huge investment it takes to start the process. The task may seem daunting, but do you know what the costs associated with paper in your office currently are? They are often hidden and add up fast, sometimes without you even realizing it.

These costs include:

  • Cost of storage: A typical four-drawer filing cabinet takes up about six square feet of office space. Additionally, it costs a company $25,000 to fill a filing cabinet, on average, and about $2,100 per year to maintain it. Odds are your company has more than one filing cabinet. According to an article by Que Publishing, 50-75 percent of office space is dedicated to filing and document storage, and 45 percent of the documents stored contain duplicate information, and 80 percent are never accessed after they are filed.
  • Cost of office supplies: According to, the cheapest ink is about $13 per ounce, and the most expensive at about $75 per ounce. Toner can cost anywhere between $75 and $200. Another hidden office product cost that you may not realize is postage stamps. The price of a stamp is up to 49 cents. Any piece of mail that weighs more than one ounce is charged 22 cents per additional ounce (USPS) on top of the price of the stamp. What about other office supplies, including staplers and staples, paper clips, tape, manila folders, rubber bands, binders, correction fluid and anything else you may find in your office drawers? The average cost of office supplies per employee per year, according to LAC Group, can range from $200 to more than $1000.
  • Cost of labor: According to research done by AccountingWEB, the average staff member or accountant makes 60 trips to a photocopier per week, and spends 15 hours per month printing documents. This adds up for companies, especially when you factor in that the average hourly rate of a working adult in the U.S. is around $25 per hour. Also bear in mind the fact that executives spend 150 hours per year looking for misplaced documents.
  • Cost of increased payment times: How long does it take your financial departments to process payments? According to research by the Aberdeen Group, companies without a document management solution averaged 14.4 days to process an invoice. Some companies took as long as 34.4 days. You may be paying excess fees due to late payments that continue to accrue interest. You may also be missing out on early payment discounts by not knowing the optimal time to pay.

How can you start minimizing your paper costs now that you’ve seen some of the numbers? Part 2 of "The ROI of Document Management" will examine how a document management solution paired with your ERP can help get you on track toward a paperless office and generate ROI while you eliminate pricey paper.

by MetaViewer Paperless ERP

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