Paper-based Systems – 5 Shortcomings To Consider

paper-based shortcomings you should know

My grandfather used to say; there’s nothing as loyal as paper. I am not sure where he got this weird quote from, but from it, you can gather misplaced trust on a piece of paper. He’s not alone. Our trust is still easily won every time someone presents a well-typed piece of paper. I’m not sure if it is the smell of paper or the content that wins our trust. Truth is, paper can still lull our logic to hibernation. This explains why we still find ourselves signing papers on impulse. A strange type of paper-based trust.

During the industrial era, paper-based transactions were considered valuable. Every hand bearing a check book commanded some respect. No one imagined that banks will one day invent cell phone banking.

Today there are numerous reports on nonprofits scammed by criminals masquerading as donors. Like a San Antonio NPO, Wings, which helps patients find treatment, support, and hope. The organization relies on the generosity of donors who donate from small to large sums of money.  

Wings’ executive director was surprised by an email from a stranger pledging to donate money. She shared her experience with Ksat: The donor was interested in making a donation in memory of his wife. He wanted to donate $12,000.” It only came to light later that this generous man was a scammer using a fake check.

The donation delivered by FedEx was a lot more than the donor promised. A cashier’s check bearing a Chase Bank logo and a handwritten note was made out for more than $23,000. After an exchange of emails with the bank, Wings established that the check was fraudulent.

This can happen to any non-profit still relying on paper-based systems. The system renders you a simple target to both internal and external crime. My grandfather wouldn’t agree more that his loyal piece of paper has shortcomings.

Reasons why the paper has shortcomings:

1.Limited collaborations

To survive in today’s tough economic times, you’ll need to tackle non-profit activities as a team. Using paper-based systems doesn’t allow collaborating on activities.

An advantage of using technology is, you’ll no longer need to wait for a registered letter of approval from overseas. Feedback can be sent via email. Another benefit is, you receive quick feedback when you use software that collaborates with donors.

That’s why it’s important that your team should assimilate themselves well to technological changes. Technophobes have nothing to worry about as expense management software like is super easy to use, although free training is offered away.

2.The cost factor vs saving

A non-profit running on a thin budget will not be able to cover the indirect costs that come with filing. It may take time to store those documents. You’ll also have to worry about creating space to file them.

Money spent on buying filing cabinets can go towards paying for more program activities.

If you really want to save, then consider using the cloud. Most nonprofits have moved to the cloud because it provides a secure, cheaper, highly available and less cumbersome environment.

3.Poor environmental credentials

Scientists have proven numerous times that the use of paper has adverse effects on the environment. Any non-profit still using paper is also seen as contributing towards pollution and killing off ecosystems.

It doesn’t matter which cause your nonprofit pursues when you pollute the environment your good credentials will take a toll. Every time you print those PO forms you are reversing tree planting initiative.

4. Lack of transparency

Paper-based systems are most suitable for clandestine illegal activities, hence any non-profit still using them looks suspicious to donors.

Transparency has become a must when you’re serving community needs. It’s your responsibility to cultivate transparency across all aspects of your organization.

The first point to do this is, ditch your once loyal piece of paper and replace it with an electronic system.

5.Lack of straightforwardness

One undeniable fact is: both corporate and non-profits operate under dire constraints of time and money. To function effectively, your team should get immediate approval from you and any delays should be avoided.

To illustrate this let’s use this award-winning  PO system trusted by CFOs. This is what users have to say:“This PO software is much more user-friendly than prior PO management options I have used in the past. There was little to no ‘learning curve’ to understanding how to use it effectively and it is great to be able to go and back easily see historical POs. Efficient and reliable software.”

Loren Churness

Staff Accountant

Buechal Stone Corp

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