Why going paperless can make you more money - and save some too

By Jeremy Waterman, Managing Director, Sage Northern Africa & Middle East

Johannesburg, 06 Jul 2016
Read time 3min 20sec

The environment and saving costs when moving a business to a paperless office are the two most popular benefits. While these two are important, there are many hidden positives that tossing paper can do to help small businesses reinvent and simplify their endeavour - leading to increased profitability.

Despite these benefits, businesses seem hesitant to digitise the contents of their filing cabinets and change the way they do business, says Jeremy Waterman, Managing Director, Sage Northern Africa & Middle East.

So, if a business is still sitting on the fence, here are nine benefits that a paperless office can provide:

1. Reduce costs and save space
It isn't simply cutting the spend on paper that is a benefit, but also saving on the purchasing cost of filing cabinets, paper and folders, the cost of the office space to store the filing cabinets, and paying staff to maintain the often cumbersome system. This also includes no longer needing to purchase as many copiers, fax machines, printers and time wasted looking for paperwork that has been misfiled.

2. Accurate financial data
The frustration of manually looking through debtor files, ledgers and credit notes can now be replaced with a less time-consuming cloud-based accounting solution. This will give the staff in the finance department and the business decision-makers an accurate view of the various aspects of the business's accounts in real-time.

3. Document security
The costs of storing documentation are incredibly high. Additional concerns regarding large volumes of documentation is also the physical security of the information compromised by potential threats such as theft, fire, water damage and vandalism. A digitised version of the data in the cloud improves security and reduces the cost of storing and insuring the documentation.

4. Quick and efficient business processes
A digital workflow allows several users to work on the same data simultaneously, and also allows users from various departments access to the information as and when it is needed. Duplication of data is avoided and data integrity is also improved.

5. Facilitates company growth
The efficiency created by a digitised process is that departments will be able to manage an increase in the volume of tasks created by company growth. As an example, the HR and payroll department will be able to manage a spike of additional colleagues, and doing so digitally and not manually.

6. Workforce mobility
Colleagues that do not need to be office-bound, such as a business sales force, can spend more time in the field securing new business and contributing to revenue growth.

7. Automatic audit trail
Especially with regards to a business's financials, but also applicable to other departments such as sales pipelines, an electronic audit trail is created as and when each document, program and application is being edited, updated or altered. This will create an opportunity for a business to track processes and identify inefficiencies or inaccuracies as they arise.

8. Business development
In the UK, a small business survey showed that 31% of respondents would spend more time on business development if they weren't looking for that ever-elusive document.

9. ROI
The cost of software applications and cloud storage are incredibly competitive and come with an additional ability for businesses to reduce the spend on their IT departments. It is estimated that a business will start realising the return on investment in six months or less.

By replacing the reliance on paper with the smartest technology, business decision-makers can reinvent and simplify their processes. We connect our customers to accountants and partners with real-time and intuitive information about their business. This contributes towards additional revenue and profitability for a business.


Sage is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world's entrepreneurs. Sage began as a small business in the UK 30 years ago, and over 13 000 colleagues now support millions of entrepreneurs across 23 countries as they power the global economy. Sage reinvents and simplifies business accounting through brilliant technology, working with a thriving community of entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners and developers. And as a FTSE 100 business, Sage is active in supporting its local communities and invest in making a real difference through the philanthropy of the Sage Foundation.

Sage - the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world's entrepreneurs. For more information, visit

Editorial contacts
IdeaEngineers Ashmika Panday (+27) 011 803 0030
See also