Accounting Automation & Beyond

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How Can Document Management Solutions Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?


Going paperless has many benefits – from saving time and money, to saving the earth. As you can imagine, eliminating paper can save you money on ink, printing, and other waste. In fact, Yale’s School of Medicine saved a whopping $92,000 when they switched from printing paper course packets to iPads. And that’s just one item that was replaced. Imagine how much they could multiply that savings by making other materials electronic.

How does it all work? Let’s start by looking at what it means to go paperless with a Document Management System.

What Is Document Management?

There are so many ways to describe going paperless. It can get kind of confusing. Here are some of the terms you may have heard:

  • Document management system
  • Electronic document management
  • Electronic content management
  • File storage
  • Document imaging
  • Records management

All of these phrases boil down to the same thing: making your workplace paperless.

Having a paperless solution in place can reduce the level of effort required of you every day. This is simply because your paper has been converted into one centralized location, it’s easily accessible by all, and it’s secure.

For anyone looking to go paperless, Document Management is the basis from which all other workplace systems can grow. In its simplest form, good Document Management makes the work of searching for, retrieving, and sending documents to the right place effortless. No more running around the office trying to track down a file or find a manager for an approval.

Additionally, a DMS (Document Management System) should also be able to link your scanned documents to the data that exists within your company. This level of communication keeps all of your systems synchronized and up-to-date.

Here’s what you get with a DMS:

  • Paperless storage – When your files are stored in a secure online repository, you can access them from anywhere with an internet connection
  • Document linking – You can find associated documents quickly and easily.
  • Version control – Document revisions can be tracked, and you can be sure that you’re working on the most recent version of a file.
  • Connected data and documents – Your existing software applications are supported with related files stored in your DMS.
  • Sharing and routing – Files can be electronically routed to your coworkers.

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on how Document Management works, let’s talk about how it can reduce your carbon footprint.

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Plain and simple – paper is wasteful! Everything that goes into the process of creating paper is wasteful. From forest to office, paper contributes to problems like air pollution, deforestation, and water pollution, and it squanders our precious resources, like oil, energy, and clean water. What’s more, the wood pulping process involved in making paper requires chlorine and produces dioxins. Never heard of dioxins? They’re among the most toxic byproduct pollutants generated by humans.

This is paper, people! It’s a disaster!

According to the American Forest and Paper Association, paper manufacturing accounts for the 3rd largest use of fossil fuels worldwide.

Consider these stats:

  • 1 ream of paper (500 sheets) uses 6% of a tree
  • Each wasted piece of paper costs around $0.06
  • On average, every office employee prints 6 wasted sheets of paper per day. That adds up to 1,410 wasted pages annually, and over $93 of the budget being burned on unnecessary printing costs
  • The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year
  • Americans discard 4 million tons of office paper every year (this is enough to build a 12-foot wall of paper from New York to California)
  • For every 12 filing cabinets, businesses spend $1,500 in maintenance and operations costs
  • A document is lost about every 12 seconds in a large U.S. organization
  • 70% of businesses would fail in 3 weeks if a natural disaster hit them and eliminated their paper records and files
  • The amount of printer ink needed to fill up your car’s gas tank would cost $100,000

Between these facts, and the crazy prices of printers, copiers, ink, and paper reams, there are plenty of reasons to cut down on the amount of paper you’re using.

Are you concerned yet about how much paper we’re producing and using? We are!

We can all do our part to cut back on paper consumption, and save money and land in the process.

Ready to make the paperless leap and starting lowering your carbon footprint? Check out our guide to going paperless for more info on how to select a DMS that will work well for your organization.

 Going Paperless eBook

Steve Allen

Steve Allen is the founder and former CEO of DocuPhase, a best-in-class, browser-based software that delivers unmatched efficiency to companies around the world by automating core accounting processes. He drives the innovation and product vision of DocuPhase to develop solutions to simplify the workplace.