By Mohan Mailvaganam
Few departments appreciate the burden of excessive paper than finance and human resources — usually in that order. Typically, these are the best places to begin when you’re ready to create digital workflows, and cut down your company’s paper consumption.
Analytics from our managed print services offerings tell us a lot of things, not the least of which is how to help paper-heavy departments like finance and HR embrace efficient digital worflows.
Companies that have been around for decades must play catch up with digitally native start-ups, because the new-comers built their processes with the latest technology and software. Where to begin?
The HR workflow
HR departments generate vast piles of paper every year, and the problem typically begins with recruiting. Requests to fill a new position move up the chain. Even if this process begins as a web form, it is typically printed and signed before it is scanned and continues its electronic journey for approval.
More paper-based workflows support employees throughout their time with a company — offer sheets, onboarding documents, benefit forms, changes of address, changes of marital status, training certificates, off-boarding documents, and on and on. Each of these papers are neatly gathered and organized in filing cabinets, where they sit for years at a time. More than just an unnecessary use of paper and storage space, the problem quickly becomes one of inefficiency, information security threats, compliance risks and obstacles that may prevent a good employee experience.
Digital HR processes can bring enormous benefits that are more efficient, reduce costs, mitigate risk, and improve employee satisfaction and retention. They also give managers and HR professionals the tools they need to get the right candidates into position as quickly as possible, shrinking the hiring period.
A digital onboarding workflow, for instance, is more convenient, easy and seamless. The more satisfied employees are early on — particularly during that first several weeks — the more likely they’ll stick with your company.
Managed print services: The next leap forward
Download this guide and learn how next-generation MPS can kick-start six top business digital workflows.
Finance workflows and the cost of paper
Reams of data demonstrate savings and efficiencies when you switch to automated workflows, yet – ironically — finance departments remain burdened with paper.
- Digital workflows can shave 40 percent from the $13 cost to process each paper invoice.
- Vendors receive payment in 14 days with paper invoices – about four days with digital.
- Ninety percent of digital invoices are paid on-time versus 65 percent for paper.
- Seventy percent of digital invoices are paid early – nine percent for paper.
Paper-based finance transactions add up to higher costs for labor, data entry, filing and various manual tasks, storage and more. Moreover, hard copies can be difficult to locate, which increases your risk with audits and compliance.
Three steps to move workflows from paper to digital
Xerox, the company that is synonymous with photocopying, is committed to helping customers break their ties with paper.
La Presse.ca reported that the City of Montreal will implement a Xerox solution to digitize the 370,000 invoices it receives each year. This will eliminate a large portion of the handling and validation process, and the city estimates it will save approximately $4.40 per processed invoice by scanning them. That’s $1.6 million annually.
Xerox’s proven model can deliver sustainable benefits. We begin by getting our arms around the printed pages within the organization with our managed print services (MPS) solution.
Analytics and consulting are next. This step identifies high paper-consuming departments and users. We discover why documents are printed, where they end up, and which ones are ripe for digital worflows.
Third, we get a baseline understanding of document-intensive processes. This allows us to recommend software and services that will digitize and automate your processes, and assure it’s a part of your overall digital transformation strategy.
Learn more about managed print services your workflow
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The benefits of digital transformation
While the idea of cutting ties with paper can be daunting, MPS can act as a springboard to begin the journey to digital transformation for day-to-day document workflows that touch your printers and other devices. This approach makes it easier to break digitization into bite-sized chunks, and implement solutions based on the data from your workflows. A measured pace of change lets you transform at a manageable rate.
Portions of this article were originally published in Office Today by the Canadian Office Products Association; as well as Canadian Accountant, an independent news source for the accounting profession.