In our current economic environment, it is essential to find ways to cut costs and become more efficient. With the release of Sage MAS 90 ERP Version 4.3 in 2008, customers received a significant new tool that can save literally thousands of dollars annually—Paperless Office. In this article, we offer you examples of the enormous cost savings a company can realize by implementing Paperless Office, and follow it with a review of Paperless Office features and functions.

The Cost Of The Paper Trail

MAS90 MAS200 Paperless OfficeDid you know that according to published studies, the average U.S. office worker uses about 12,000 sheets of printing and copying paper per year, or one sheet every 12 minutes? But even with this staggering statistic, the cost of the physical paper may actually be the smallest cost associated with maintaining your accounting records on paper. There is the cost of office space and equipment to store the files. There’s the cost of postage for mailing quotes, orders, and invoices. And last but not least, there’s the time your staff spends filing and retrieving paper copies.

Here are some statistics:

  • 40 to 60 percent of an office worker’s time is spent handling paper, which translates to 20-45 percent of an organization’s labor costs and 12-15 percent of an organization’s expenses.
  • In the average office, filing or retrieving a single document costs $20 in labor. It costs $120 in labor to find a single misfiled document—and a staggering $250 to recreate a single lost document.
  • 7.5% of all documents are lost, 3% of the remainder are misfiled. An average of 13 hours a year per worker is spent searching for paper that has been misfiled, mislabeled, or lost.
  • Here’s an example of what this was costing one company annually: » Two new filing cabinets at $600 each =
  • $1,200. » Paper, 6 cases a year, at $50 a case = $300. » Postage at $.42, 1,000 quotes, orders and invoices per month = $5,040.
  • Storage at $1.45 per square foot, per month, 2 additional square feet needed each year = $200.
  • Three employees spent about 35% of their time filing or looking for paper copies = $45,000.

This added up to more than $50,000 per year for the company. As you can imagine, the organization quickly recouped the cost of implementing Paperless Office by eliminating this annual expenditure. Try plugging in some reasonable estimates for your company to see how much you could save.

Paperless Office Components

At the core of Paperless Office is the ability to save and securely store journals, registers, reports, and forms as a PDF (portable document format) file. This capability is then used by the Journals and Registers, Electronic Forms Delivery, and Paperless Period-End Processing components.

Journals And Registers

The Paperless Office Journals and Registers feature allows you to archive your audit reports electronically. You can specify the location in advance so that the document is saved automatically when you perform the print and post function. The View Paperless Journals and Registers option makes it easy to find a document if you need it. A grid displays all of the documents with columns for company code, module, journal name, and print date and time. A simple click on any column sorts the files by that column. You can then view them on screen, attach them to an e-mail, or print a hard copy.

Electronic Forms Delivery

Electronic Forms Delivery provides the capability to deliver selected forms by way of fax and e-mail. The electronic forms included with Sage MAS 90 Version 4.3 are: » Payroll Direct Deposit Stubs » Purchase Orders » Vendor Returns » Sales Orders » Sales Order Invoices » Return Merchandise Authorizations » Accounts Receivable Invoices » Job Cost Invoices

You have a lot of flexibility in how forms are delivered and to whom. For each customer, you can specify whether to print a hard copy and send by mail, send via e-mail, or send by fax. You can send forms to up to four e-mail addresses or fax numbers. For example, you might want a statement to be sent by fax to accounts payable, and sent by e-mail to the primary contact and the salesperson on the account. Similar choices are available for the delivery of forms to vendors and employees.

Quick Access To Documents

For customer-related forms, new screens in Customer Maintenance provide you with access to each type of form saved for a customer. The list shows you if the document was sent electronically to the customer. You then can view the document on screen or resend it electronically with the click of a button. This can be a great time-saver when making collection calls or answering customer inquires.

Paperless Period-End Processing

The Paperless Period-End Processing component allows you to select the period-end reports you need and automatically save them as PDF files instead of hard copies. It is available in all modules that have a period-end processing option. The reports can easily be recalled and viewed on screen. If you then need to make further entries before closing the period, an option allows you to choose whether to over-write the original report or save as a separate report. With Paperless Period End, you also gain the ability to print all standard reports generated by the system, including reports created in Business Insights Reporter, to a PDF file. PDF reports created from the Reports menu will automatically display in the PDF viewer with a different file naming convention so you can easily distinguish them from period-end reports.

Employee Self Service

If your company utilizes the Sage MAS 90 Payroll module, the Paperless Office Employee Self Service functionality allows employees to securely access their historical payroll information and conveniently view and print their own payroll pay stubs.

Tailored Security

Several security options ensure only the right people have access to documents you have saved using Paperless Office. The Paperless Office Viewer respects the security rights assigned to the Sage MAS 90 user. So if a user does not have the right to print a particular report from the menu, they will not be able to view it or print it from the Viewer.

Period End Processing and Journals and Registers include a setup option to restrict access by user ID. A user only will be able to see the reports they created. A separate Security Event can be set in Role Maintenance for a specific user, such as the Controller, to view all reports. Another option allows you to password protect your documents. You can set a default password, require the user to select a unique password each time they save a journal or report, or use no passwords at all. You also can control who has the right to delete the PDF reports.

You will want to create regular backups of the drives that hold your electronic report files and store them in a secure location. There also is an option to move a group of the PDF reports to a separate location to archive them. Give us a call with your questions or for assistance implementing Paperless Office.