By Lisa Lang, SVP Marketing
They’re texting now instead of sending email. SnapChatting instead of tweeting or posting on Facebook. Some of them have never owned a CD or DVD. Many have never addressed an envelope or written a check – and never will. And by the way, there are 76 million of them in the U.S. alone, with $200 billion in spending power. What does all this mean for your business?
Demographers call them the Millennials, or Generation-Y (as in “y r u still writing checks?”). Planet-wide, there are about a billion of them. The oldest of them turned 30 just last year. Soon they’ll be running everything.
They’re wired 24/7 (wirelessly, of course). And one of their greatest impacts on business of all kinds is their continuing, unstoppable shift away from paper-based, manual processes, to the most recent digital technology.
“Remember how impatient you felt the last time you were forced to wait in line while someone ahead of you took forever writing a check?” asked one young finance manager recently. “That’s how we feel when you bog us down at the office with paperwork or send us a form we can’t fill out online.”
No wonder the Federal Reserve Bank reports that check use is steadily declining. Over the last decade, the average daily volume of commercial checks fell from 67.0 million in 2000 to just 26.4 million in 2012 – a drop of 60.5%.
Of course, Generation-Y is just one reason for the rapid demise of the check in favor of electronic payments. Business owners of all ages benefit from an automated cash flow system that allows the business to pay and get paid electronically – all from a mobile device.
Companies that convert to paperless, cloud-based systems such as Bill.com experience streamlined internal processes and substantial cost savings. Management gets mobile access to documents and data from anywhere at any time, enabling more immediate insight into business performance and better decision making. Executives gain more time to focus on strategic priorities.
And going digital isn’t just for payments. While you’re at it, why not digitize all your documents from now on, and store them in the cloud? Eliminate the time spent filing paper (and the time spent searching for misfiled paper) with one-click access from wherever you need to be. Employ the space now taken up by filing cabinets more usefully. Employ your employees more productively. More and more companies are updating their processes in all these ways now.
For all these reasons, going paperless would be a smart decision in any case. But now there’s an added incentive: As more and more of these mobile, digitally active young people become your customers, vendors and peers, their world view is becoming the dominant paradigm. It’s just good business to fit in.