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How to reduce the paper trail in your business

Does it seem like there is a never ending stream of paper bills coming into your business?  Processing paper is time consuming and costly.  It can also be error-prone when documents are mis-laid or even lost on the mail.

In the last few years many businesses have moved on from posting paper invoices to each other to sending them by email.  This has already had a big impact on the bottom line.  It wasn’t unusual for a business to spend thousands of dollars each year on paper, printing, envelope stuffing and postage, just to get their invoices into their customers hands.

Although we have reduced the transmission costs,  I still see businesses perpetuating the paper trail by printing out the emailed invoices so they can be read and checked before being entered into the accounts system.  While reviewing bills is an important step, do we really need to look at piece of paper to do this?

Many accounting systems have introduced the functionality to import suppliers bills in electronic form directly into the software.  This is much more efficient, as the document is stored within the accounting system.  This has two benefits: it is available to the approver to approve within the system and the document will always be available for future reference (e.g. external accountant).  Some systems will even read the document using artificial intelligence so the content of the invoice is automatically entered.

Take a look at your bill processing and see if you are using the readily available functionality in your accounting system to reduce your processing costs.  You may be surprised how much you could save!

Author: Trevor Huett