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Paper-based filing disorganised and costly

Staff reporter
Staff reporter
10 May 2016 1 minute readShare
A number of coloured files are being picked throw

A new survey by Xero suggests more than half of SMEs are getting bogged down in paper-based accounting systems, with shoeboxes still the dominant source of filing.

According to the survey by the prominent accounting platform, 51 per cent of Australian SMEs still use disorganised paper-based systems to manage receipts and invoices, and more than three quarters (77.6 per cent) use shoeboxes to store at least some of these documents.

This is despite the average small business churning through as many as 100 invoices and receipts each week – amounting to 5,200 annually. Around 15 per cent of the businesses surveyed said they manage double this number.


Surprisingly, a small number (3.7 per cent) admitted to having no storage system at all.

As well as the lost time and productivity in managing these disorganised files, the financial burden of such invoice and receipt storage is also clearly apparent.


More than one in 10 SMEs (12.7 per cent) are spending upwards of $1,000 each week on paper administration costs, with 3 per cent spending more than $5,000 each week – equating to a massive $260,000 annually.

“The data shows us there are still many Australian small business owners who aren’t using technology to find day-to-day efficiencies within their business and cut down on time-consuming manual processes,” said Trent Innes, managing director of Xero Australia.

“Aside from making it incredibly difficult to keep track of business expenses and cash flow, paper-based receipt/invoice systems become very costly and time consuming.”




Paper-based filing disorganised and costly
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Staff reporter
Staff reporter

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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