As accountants, we love our paper. We find comfort in knowing that once it is printed nothing can change it. We know that when we give that paper to an auditor it is undeniable proof of our position. And we know how happy we make customers when we can provide them with replacements.
To that end, we revere our paper and are reluctant to give it up. So when we started talking about reducing or eliminating paper, we knew deep down inside that we would be fighting an uphill battle.
Those days are gone. While we will probably never become completely paperless, we in Financial Management have embarked on multiple projects intended to reduce our impact on the environment by holding long-held beliefs and practices up to the light to see where we can change and reduce our paper consumption.
We are automating paper-laden, form-intense processes. We have initiated several projects to automate processes and reduce paper consumption. They include the Automated Contract Encumbrance System, commonly referred to as ACES; the Invoice Payments Status Inquiry; and the expense claim and work boot reimbursement systems. Also, we previously implemented an award-winning Cell Phone reimbursement system that eliminated printing 50,000 sheets of paper per year.
Many of our vendors and customers have asked for paper-free alternatives, and we are challenging ourselves to explore and engage them and seek new ways of conducting business. In the end we will reduce our paper usage to the lowest point possible and continue to push it downward.