E-Statements vs Paper Statements (Comparison Guide)
Like most business owners, you probably realize statement printing and mailing is a part of the business cycle that is both tedious and time consuming. In order to minimize the amount of time and administrative expenses diverted from the rest of your business, you are looking for ways to make this process as efficient and smooth as you possibly can. By investing in outsourced document/statement printing & mailing solutions, you will reduce the risk of data breaches, while saving time, money, and resources.
As long as statements remain a crucial component of running your business, it will be in your best interest to look for as many competitive advantages as you possibly can. By making just a few small changes to the way your business operates, you can access significantly more free time and also improve your bottom line.
Over the past decade, a large number of businesses have made their various statement processes as paperless as possible. Considering the increasingly digital nature of our world and the rise of online banking, this trend is unsurprising. However, in order to know whether paperless or paper statements make the most sense for your business, it will be crucial for you to take a closer, business-specific look.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of both paperless and paper statement services. We will also discuss the potential benefits of implementing a “hybrid” statement printing and mailing system. By carefully examining each of the options that are currently available, you will be able to effectively make the decision that’s right for you.
The Benefits of Paperless Statements (e-Statements)
- As time has gone on, digital technologies have played an increasingly important role in the world of business and customer service. This has especially been true for businesses operating in the e-Commerce space and may not even have a formal mailing address. Accessing statements online helps businesses of all sizes accomplish a flexibility that paper statements prevent.
- Reducing waste and saving trees: according to the United States Postal Service (USPS), Americans sent more than 146 billion pieces of mail through the post office in the year 2018 alone. The Washington Post further elaborated upon this figure and discovered that this amounts to more than 41 pounds of mail per person. As you would probably expect, many people consider this figure to be astonishingly wasteful, especially considering the digital nature of modern society. Although, in 2012, more than 65% of paper in the U.S. was recycled and is the nation’s most recycled product. This makes both e-statements and paper printing & mailing solutions great options.
- Decreased risk of mail fraud (or mail theft) and identity theft: the USPS opens about 10,000 criminal mail cases per year. Considering the sheer size of the country (about 330 million people), these figures are comparatively small. However, by sticking with an electronic delivery system for your checking accounts, some of these cases can be easily avoided.
- This is especially desirable for individuals delivering statements with confidential information (finances, personal checks, business checks, account numbers, contribution margin statements, medical statement printing, etc.)
Offering special benefits for online bill payments: because creating a digital copy of a statement has no marginal costs, this creates a situation that is beneficial for both those sending and receiving mail. Senders can offer “paperless discounts” which will help create more positive relationships with their customers. Consumers, on the other hand, will be able to save a small amount of money on a regular basis.
- Immediate delivery: if you are delivering valuable information, you want that delivery to go as smoothly as possible. While standard mail can take up to two weeks to be delivered, digital mail is able to be delivered instantly, no matter the size of your mailing list or mailing campaigns. This may help accelerate the process of turning accounts receivable into actual cash.
While paper statements still have their share of benefits (mentioned below), it is clear why the massive 146 billion figure cited earlier is slowly decreasing over time.
The Benefits of Paper (Traditional) Statements
- Many business owners are committed to using a paper printing and mailing service, regardless of whatever trends are currently unfolding. This decision is usually supported by at least one underlying justification.
- Decreased risk of digital security breaches: while paper mailing presents the risk of mail fraud, digital mailing presents the risk of having information stolen while online. Contrary to the shoebox under your bed where you keep important documents, digital mail is a bit more difficult to hide from the outside world.
- Fewer problems with passwords and logistics: instead of needing a username and password to access your statements, physical statement mailing simply requires you to have a name and an address. For people who are tired of dealing with passwords they’re always forgetting, direct mail may be the more appealing option.
- Easier to save tangible statements: many people prefer to keep their bills and statements in order to help advance their record keeping practices. Planning for your financial future and completing your taxes will be much easier for anyone who has tangible papers on hand.
- Offering a formal and professional touch: depending on what industry you may operate in, your customers likely have very rigid expectations. Paper statements make it possible to create a formal, clear, and professional relationship with your clients that is difficult to form online. You may also have the opportunity to further reinforce your brand (including your logo, slogan, special offers, etc.).
With pros and cons for both options, it will be careful to conduct a careful analysis before making any major operating decisions.
Developing a Hybrid Printing and Mailing System
As you can see, both digital check delivery and physical check delivery have their fair share of pros and cons. The system that makes the most sense for each check will depend largely on what your clients each personally prefer. As a consequence, businesses across all industries have been trying to find unique methods of blending digital and paper statements.
Benefits of using a hybrid system include:
- Customer choice: asking your customers which delivery method they personally prefer will improve your relationships and offer you greater flexibility.
- Immediate backup: having a tangible copy for your records of all transactions, such as deposit slips, along with a digital copy online can help prevent valuable information from being lost.
- Increased communication: by communicating with your customers on multiple different platforms, you will be more likely to maintain a healthy relationship over time.
- Inclusive customer base: many people are hesitant to hire a company that is entirely based online. Appealing to both the slow adapters and digitally minded individuals will allow you to have a notably more inclusive customer base.
The best statement printing and mailing services are readily willing to create a personalized system that works for you. These companies will typically ask about the systems you currently have in place along with your long-term operating objectives.
With seemingly every aspect of your business, you will need to make several important choices. The way that your business delivers statements and other information to your clients is a valuable decision that will need to be made carefully. By considering all of these pros and cons—along with the possibility of using a hybrid system—your business can create an immediate advantage.
For more information about outsourced statement printing & mailing solutions, contact SmartPayables at (720) 287-0030 or toll free at 1-844-CO-SMART.
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