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Cut The Paper Out of Your Operations, Save Millions

<p>A new report from JP Morgan outlines the steps to transition to a paperless financial system, and finds that companies can save roughly $1 for every sheet of paper not used.</p>

Companies have looked forward to the "paperless office" for years, if not decades, but despite ever-wider use of computers and electronic documents for daily operations, corporate treasury departments are still by and large paper-based, and wasting significant money and resources as a result.

But a new report released by J.P. Morgan outlines how companies can cut the paper from their treasury departments, saving millions of dollars and reducing tons of waste in the process.

The report, "Sustainable Treasury Management: It’s Easier Than You Think," looks at every element of treasury, including collection of cash and receivables, processing disbursements, and storing the reports and other data, and lays out best practices for reducing or eliminating paper in responsible and beneficial ways.

The savings can be significant: The report states that large treasury departments can generate more than five tons of paper per year, equivalent to 143 trees and responsible for the creation of 106 tons of greenhouse gases.

"These paper documents are also expensive to handle," the report's authors write. "On average, to file and maintain 500,000 pieces of paper, companies spend an estimated $250,000 in workflow management, another $115,000 to research lost files and approximately $150,000 in storage and disposal costs."

{related_content}Cutting out the costs of using 500,000 pieces of paper per year can save a company $515,000 per year -- more than $1 saved per sheet conserved.

The best practices the report offers to companies looking to move to a more paper-free system include converting to electronic documents for receivables and invoices, a shift that can save time in processing the documents as well as money and paper. Moving to electronic documents for disbursements, statements, and reports can also lead to greater security, the report says, as well as help meet regulatory requirements.

J.P. Morgan has developed a number of free online Eco Analysis Worksheets to help companies determine how much money they can save by shifting to paper-free treasury operations.

Shifting to digital documents is one of the ways that companies are greening their paper supplies. Other firms are developing comprehensive recycling plans, as these case studies show, as well as requiring purchasing of 100 percent post-consumer-recycled content paper, as the state of Washington did last year.

More information about the report, as well as a link to download, is available from

Photos CC-licensed by Flickr users tanakawho and bionicteaching.

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