Want to lower your overhead by 30 to 40 percent? Switch from paper to electronic documents, advises Matt Peterson, president and CEO of eFileCabinet.

“Going paperless allows you to [be more efficient], and efficiency equals money,” Peterson says. “Responding to customers quickly is your edge as a small business, and being efficient and paperless gives [you] that edge.”

ILM Corporation estimates that searching through paper files can take up as much as 30% of employee work time. The opportunity cost of floor space occupied by filing cabinets adds up as well. The company offers a Document Conversion ROI Calculator to give business owners a better idea of how much they might be able to save by converting to digital format.

“going paperless” can evoke images of endless scanning of paper files, it is best to simply start by scanning all new incoming material. Only then, after that has become habitual, should one work backward over stored files. The ILM calculator includes a section for tabulating how much it might cost to have employees do so.

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