By Claire West

The findings of a survey by document management software company, Version One (www.versionone.co.uk), highlight that 90% of senior finance professionals admit that they are reliant on paper records with 66% of these stating that they are VERY reliant. Just 2% of respondents state that they hardly ever refer to paper documents whilst the remaining 8% concede that they are “occasionally” reliant on paper records. Version One carried out the research with 139 senior finance professionals (finance directors and managers) across a range of UK and Irish public and private sector organisations.

29% of the respondents admit that they would be prepared to move away from paper records to electronic document management (EDM) software if they could be convinced that EDM would improve service levels. 11% of those surveyed state that they would be more likely to reduce their dependency on paper if they could receive assurance that electronic documents are legally permissible (such as with HM Revenue and Customs).

The remaining 60% indicate that they would be persuaded to move away from paper records if they were assured of all the following in relation to electronic document management: document security, legislative admissibility, customer service benefits and environmental benefits.

Julian Buck, Managing Director of Version One, says, “It is worrying that so many financial professionals are still heavily reliant on paper documents, which is demonstrative of labour-intensive and inefficient financial processes.”

Buck continues, “The electronic storage and circulation of documents is a legally accepted practice, removing the need to handle and store paper.

Electronic document management also streamlines financial processes and removes the risk of documents getting lost or misfiled, making a strong case for eliminating paper records.”

The environmental benefits of going paperless are also clear with EDM systems cutting both paper waste and CO2 emissions, thereby supporting organisations’ environmental policies.

Buck comments, “It is only a matter of time before all UK organisations will be forced by the Government to measure, report on and actively reduce their carbon emissions. Software systems, such as Version One’s electronic document management are key to sustainable working and will prove vital to ‘green’ regulatory compliance moving forward.”