Business Technology

I tried: We removed all paper from our finance office

6 min read

28 September 2018

Duologi, which provides bespoke finance solutions for retailers, went fully-digital for a week.

We are big fans of technology. We spend every day helping our retail partners reach their full potential by offering their customers a range of flexible finance options.

We accomplish this through integrating our innovative technology-based platform with the retailer’s existing systems to make the consumer lending process painless for vendor and customer alike – thus increasing sales and brand loyalty.

As a result, we are always looking for ways that we can implement new technology to improve our own business too.

So, when we heard about WorkMobile’s Paperless Challenge, we were intrigued to see what kind of impact going paperless could have for us.

The Paperless Challenge was launched earlier this year to encourage businesses to reduce paper usage, after research revealed that each worker in the UK uses an average of 45 pieces of paper a day. Two-thirds of that is considered waste.

The challenge asked participants to undertake a one-month stint of being completely paper-free, to discover what efficiencies can be made by replacing paper in the workplace with digital versions.

To aid the process, WorkMobile was offering £500 worth of digital data capture products, along with £500 of expert consultancy to the businesses that agreed to take part.

Why were we interested in becoming a paperless office?

As cloud computing has become increasingly commonplace, it has brought with it the possibility for businesses to move away from traditional paper-based filing systems.

Consequently, over the past few years, we have been hearing more about the reasons to consider ditching paper and instead become a paperless office. The benefits of such digital transformation are said to be significant and wide-ranging, including decreased costs and increased productivity, and greater sustainability, amongst many others.

Yet despite all these alleged benefits, we still had our reservations about the feasibility and practicality of making the switch, and so until now had been reluctant to try.

With WorkMobile’s Paperless Challenge offering the ideal no strings attached opportunity to test the trend, we decided we had nothing to lose, and potentially a lot to gain.

What happened in the first week?

Our biggest concern about becoming a paperless office was that the process itself would be complicated and time-consuming, making it altogether more hassle than it was worth.

We were really pleased to discover that this wasn’t the case. The consultancy offered by WorkMobile was extremely comprehensive and meant the changeover was actually very smooth.

Its mobile data capture app is designed to enable staff working out of the office to record information in real-time, providing a more accurate and efficient alternative to paper forms. Stored securely in the cloud, the information can then be accessed and shared when necessary, with a clear electronic audit trail to ensure compliance.

To get us started, WorkMobile set up and helped us to manage a pilot so that our sales team could test the app while visiting potential clients.

Once we were happy with the new bespoke forms, they then carried out the appropriate business analysis to help integrate the app with our existing computer systems.

This was invaluable as it meant that the data captured in the forms could be automatically inputted into our CRM.

After some further time was spent ensuring the solution was fully adapted to our particular needs, each of our users was then given detailed online training.

Armed with a personalised user guide, we were ready to establish just how beneficial paperless working would be for our business.

What were the results?

We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but the results have been very impressive. Since beginning the challenge, we’ve seen significant cost savings, and much greater productivity reported by our sales team.

Previously, the team was reliant on paper-based systems to keep track of sales and new business appointments and record information at client meetings, but thanks to the app our internal processes have been streamlined.

This has resulted in a 40% reduction in admin costs, as there is no need for staff to return to the office and transcribe data from hand-written notes. It’s also reduced the scope for human error, and the time saved means that the sales team has been able to fulfil more appointments in a day.

We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the Paperless Challenge, and only wish we’d adopted a paperless approach sooner.

John Wark is a manager at Duologi, a leading consumer finance specialist.