Research: Over Half Of Small Businesses Can’t Let Go Of Paper Invoices

Research: Over Half Of Small Businesses Can’t Let Go Of Paper Invoices

Going digital is in vogue these days and we’ve talked about how to transition to a paperless office. But it appears Australian small businesses still have a love affair with paper invoices and receipts, according to a survey by cloud accounting vendor Xero.

Paper on fire picture from Shutterstock

In a survey of 402 Australian small businesses, Xero found 65.2 per cent of respondents store at least some of their printed invoices in boxes. Roughly 28.9 per cent store all of their receipts in paper form. It’s predominantly the older businesses, and we’re talking those that have been in operation for over a decade, that are stuck on paper (40.2 per cent) .

It’s not cheap to keep paper. Around 12.7 per cent of respondents admitting that they spend more than $1000 per week on paper administration costs. That encompasses printer ink, paper and storage. About three per cent spend over $5000. That doesn’t even include cost of man hours spent managing and process all the paper.

If you don’t care about the cost of dealing with paper, at least think of the environment. If you’re considering going paperless for your small business you can find more advice on this topic here.


  • No surprise there. The company I work for sends out paper invoices via mail. Clients constantly ask for email invoices but IT won’t do it as it won’t work with our accounts system.

    Couple this with the fact that the company refuses to recycle and it makes it not very environmentally sound.

    • I work in the automotive industry and it’s slowly changing. I actually work in a panel shop where you least expect a business having a complete paperless operation.

      I love the delivery drivers reaction when we say “we longer pay with CHQS, it’s EFT or CC”.

      For customers: I usually say “we no longer print out copies of invoices” as some customers are just used to print out copies.
      A common trend from customers do not expect businesses to email an invoice. When I ask a customer if they like an invoice emailed to them they walk out the door happier and or surprised.

      Sometimes you just have to force change….

      • The email invoice option can say to some people “can we email the invoice and forward your address to an advertising company” I’ve opted for email invoices to them be sent weekly or monthly newsletters from those businesses.

  • No surprises with any of this. Paperless administration is a real time saver and can save most small businesses a lot of money. Mistrust, lack of confidence and fear of change all conspire to stop many small firms going digital. Fact remains, however, if you want to save money and improve your office paperless is a no brainier.

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