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Digital service provider says survey finds that paper documents remain a challenge for small businesses

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Digital service provider says survey finds that paper documents remain a challenge for small businesses

September 28, 2011 - 12:07

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 28, 2011 (PRNewswire) -The Neat Company, the leader in digital filing cabinet solutions for the home and small business, today released research detailing how small businesses are managing the paper that is associated with running their operations. Despite adoption of digital business strategies, over half of small business owners report dissatisfaction with the time and costs associated with managing paper documents. The primary concerns identified by the survey include the time required to file and retrieve paper documents and frustration with the amount of space dedicated to paper management and storage.

"Every day we work to make small businesses more successful through the use of digital document management solutions," said Kevin Garton, chief marketing officer of The Neat Company. "Managing paper is a reality of doing business. It's not enough for owners to make sure documents are properly filed. Rather, they must create better ways to handle paper, so precious time is not stolen from core business functions."

More than 200 small businesses responded to questions pertaining to their paper-based document management procedures.

The Filing and Retrieval Process for Documents

Participants responded to a series of questions that specifically dealt with the amount of time spent dealing with paper.

  • Over 30 percent of respondents said that it takes up to four weeks to get paper-based business documents filed;
  • 40 percent estimated spending between 8 to 12 hours per month filing current business documents and business related paper;
  • Finally, 33 percent of respondents said it takes up to one hour to find and retrieve a file from paper storage.

Small Business Paper Storage Systems

This survey indicates that despite the advances in data storage, small business owners continue to rely on cumbersome paper filing cabinets for storage of business documents. In addition, to slowing office processes, paper systems also cost small businesses in terms of the physical space they occupy.

  • 60 percent of those who utilize filing cabinets and/or paper storage said up to 15 percent of their office or work space is currently occupied by filing cabinets;
  • 20 percent of those who utilize filing cabinet and/or paper storage said that close to one quarter of their office or work space is currently occupied by general paper storage.

The survey also revealed that 21 percent of respondents still keep between 11 and 30 boxes of archived paper in less accessible document storage areas.

Small Business Strategy Suggestions from our Experts

Many small businesses have adopted strategies to ease the burden of managing paper. The Neat Fleet, a team of the country's top professional organizers and business consultants, recommends the following:

  • "Implement a digital filing system that enables you to easily capture paper and digital documents. Locally organized information not only provides centralized data storage- it actively works to speed reporting and decision-making." -Kevin Garton, chief marketing officer for The Neat Company
  • "Access to information is key for producing results in any company. Information is central to project management, decision-making and strategic analysis. A small company that can easily access important information has a strategic and competitive advantage over any company that does not." Orna Drawas, coach, business trainer and member of the Neat Fleet.
  • "Small business owners and self-employed individuals treasure time savers because they must wear many hats just to survive. A cost effective way to out-pace competition is through the use of practical business tools for managing receipts and other tax-related documents. For instance, adopting a digital filing cabinet solution frees up time from accounting to devote to business growth and management."-Lou Hutt, tax expert, CPA, business coach, entrepreneur and member of the Neat Fleet.

About The Neat Company: The Neat® Company has created a new way for small businesses and consumers to transform paper documents into digital information. We manufacture and market a unique combination of software and hardware scanning solutions. These solutions employ optical character recognition (OCR) and patented parsing technology to read information on receipts, business cards and documents - extracting data from paper so it can be used to easily create expense reports, complete tax forms, populate contact databases and track spending.

The Neat Company also enables our customers to build their own digital filing cabinet. This creates one centralized location where they can go to organize, find and share all of their important paper documents and electronic files.

Founded in 2002, The Neat Company is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa. For more information, please visit