Five Reasons to Become Paper “Less”

While the workplace will never go completely paperless, it is definitely becoming paper-less. In other words, paper isn’t going away, but there are some real advantages to convert hard copies to digital data. Here are five important reasons for becoming paper-less.

1. You Can Free Up Office Space

Office space is valuable and regardless if you rent or own, you’re paying for each and every square foot. If you’re keeping paper-files in a tank-like file cabinet or boxes in a basement, do you think you would you get more return on your investment by using that space for something else? Perhaps there would be more work for a workstation or a special piece of equipment or technology. You get the picture.

Dollars and Sense: A standard four-drawer file cabinet and room for an employee to open and close the cabinet occupies 17 square feet of office space. In Indianapolis, the market rate of a square foot of office space is $18-22. That comes to $340 per file cabinet per year.


2. You Can Make Your Business Information More Accessible

Are you still bringing paper files home on evenings and weekends? Have you ever visited a client and needed to access an important document and have to contact somebody back at the office to scan or (gasp) fax it to you? In the increasingly mobile, 24/7 work environment where we have powerful computers that fit in our hands and lightweight laptops our bags, make your data accessible from wherever you need to be. And if you need a hard copy on demand, you can print it from where you are.

Dollars and Sense: The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) indicates that employee productivity improves by approximately 30% when employees are able to easily and quickly access data through technology. Research also shows that employees search for document for 30 minutes per day on average. If you cut out 25 minutes of that search time for an employee making approximately $25/hr, that saves $2,500/year per employee (25/60 x 5 days per week x 48 weeks per year).

3. You Can Integrate Your Data with Other Business Processes

Rarely do we have the luxury of using one system to handle all of our business processes. When your information on is only available on paper, it must be re-entered into other programs, which in turn, allows opportunity for user-entry error. It’s also time-consuming. Storing data digitally increases efficiency and provides a way to pull necessary information into other relevant aspects of running your business and serving your customers.

Dollars and Sense: The cost of manual data entry not only includes the time to do the data entry, but the time to access the information for other businesses processes, plus the cost when data is entered incorrectly. There also needs to be considered the cost of unhappiness by employees doing repetitive tasks. The exact costs vary by industry.

4. You Can Mitigate the Risk of Data Loss

There is an Albanian proverb that goes, “Fire, water, and government know nothing of mercy.” When your data is on paper, on-site, and not backed up, you are running the risk of losing that data in the event of a fire, devastating storm, or other acts of nature. By converting to digital data you diminish the risk of losing valuable information. Going paper-less won’t lessen the mercy of the taxman, but it can protect you from unexpected disaster.

Dollars and Sense: Lost data can lead to costly downtime, lost productivity, and long-term reputational damage as if the economic losses weren’t significant enough. A 2013 Ponemon Institute survey of 277 data loss incidents reports that the average data loss incident for a U.S. corporation costs $5.4 million.

5. You Can Increase Data Security

Proper governance of sensitive and private information is imperative in today’s business climate, especially in fields such as healthcare. With encryption, passwords, and firewalls, digital data is far more secure than paper storage. Digital data storage better ensures a “for your eyes only” approach that your customers and partners expect.

Dollars and Sense: A 2018 study by Ponemon Institute reports the global average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. The average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information is $148.


If you want to strengthen your business by relying less on paper, let Van Ausdall & Farrar identify where you are most vulnerable. Our Technology Strength Assessment only takes 10-15 minutes and can help prioritize your information technology needs and provide recommendations. The assessment also reveals how you compare with others in your industry. Find your Technology Strength Score today.