Reality check: the world of business is not going paperless any time soon. Try (and want) as we might to cut down on printing costs and eliminate paper communications, still the printers continue to hum. In the world of SMBs, invoices are one of the most frequently printed documents, sometimes at great cost to business.
Granted, some scenarios call for the traditional printed invoice: a small shop or solo entrepreneur just getting off the ground, for example; or the specific request of a customer. For SMBs looking to grow more efficient and scale, though, the printing of certain invoices can be eliminated altogether.
With the right tools in place, that is.
What Printing Invoices Can Cost
Though the numbers will vary depending on the size and scope of the shop, “for every $1 spent on print, another $3+ is spent on the process and related services,” according to Mimeo. This can add up in a traditional invoicing cycle, which usually goes something like this:
Invoice sent/received by mail
Invoices sorted by AP
Matched invoices entered into accounting software
Invoices routed for approval
Final approval granted, checks printed and sent
Even one of these steps, repeated many times a quarter, can create significant printing costs. And it’s not just the cost of the printer and requisite materials themselves; it’s the time and resources that go along with repeatedly printing and sending invoices.
How to Reduce Printed Invoices
Okay, so we’re not saying go 100% paperless invoicing right now. If you can do that, great. Accounting automation software can certainly help. In the meantime, consider some easy go-paperless wins that can make the typical SMB invoicing function that much more cost efficient over time. Hiding in the following areas might be some opportunities to eliminate printing:
Saving to your records
How you send bills to approvers
Go through that list and consider which of the items still require printed printing of any kind. Then consider how often that step is triggered in your day-to-day invoicing process. It’s easy to see how going paperless in even one of these areas can help shave cost.
How to Move to Paperless Invoicing
For most of the functions above, “going paperless” is as simple as scanning, saving to a hard drive or the cloud, and sending by email instead of post. For busier operations—for SMBs hoping to someday scale—there are more comprehensive solutions that not only allow for paperless invoicing, but automates the process altogether.
Automating your invoice flow with Roger
By using Roger to manage your Accounts Payables, you will save a lot of paper and a lot of time. Take a picture of a bill when it comes in the mail, or forward invoices straight from your inbox to Roger, and the scanning is done in a matter of seconds. You can setup advanced rules for approval flows, so you never need to print an invoice for approval again. Roger even handles the payment, and the manual data entry is completely removed with direct integrations to your accounting system such as Quickbooks or Xero.