It’s a fact of life that offices use vast quantities of paper. Just add recycling bins, and an office is environmentally friendly, some would say. However, a paperless office is possible, according to a recently released report by JP Morgan. The report, titled Sustainable Treasury Management: It’s Easier Than You Think, mentions JP Morgan’s Go Green Campaign, launched in 2007, which reached out to over 25,000 clients to help them transition to a paperless office. The campaign already has reduced over 101 million documents, 50 million pounds of greenhouse gases (GHG) and preserved 33,000 trees, which would cover an area roughly three times the size of New York City. The campaign wants to reduce the amount of paper sent to clients by an additional 77 million documents.
Every year large paper-based treasury operations generate 5.5 tons of paper, the equivalent of 143 trees and 106 tons of GHGs. Using that amount of paper is costly, according to the report. In order to file and maintain 500,000 pieces of paper, companies spend an estimated $250,000 in workflow management, $115,000 to research lost files, and about $150,000 in storage and disposal.
The report lists “several powerful trends” leading treasury operations to adopt a paperless office:
- Economic pressures
- Growing transaction volume, expanding global networks, accelerating the speed of business, limiting resources, expanding responsibilities and increasing collaboration with other internal departments
- Payments fraud and business continuity
- Stakeholders are reexamining their own environmental performance
The report suggests how companies can reengineer receivables:
- Use an online bill presentment and payment solution
- Use a desktop remote capture solution for payments received at company offices
- Use an onsite Smart Safe solution for cash payments received at retail or office locations to protect against theft
- Encourage customers to submit payments electronically
- Use the kind of image capture and retention tools which banks use to copy receivables information
- Review the process for routing receivables information to such departments as credit, accounts receivable and customer service
- Utilize an online repository for all receivables-related transactions and image information
- Automate the process of sharing internal reports by circulating them electronically
JP Morgan created the Eco Analysis Worksheet to show how companies can save money by removing paper from the receivables process. The Worksheet helps companies identify how much money paper-based receivables cost. The report cited the example of a company with 3,000 paper-based lockbox transactions per month saving $2,255 per month or $0.75 per transaction.