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jbenson2

paperless Interesting Trivia: financial implications of a cabinet full of paper

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Why the push to paperless? Consider this:

Question: How much does it cost to fill and maintain a 4-drawer filing cabinet?

Answer: A standard office 4-drawer filing cabinet costs about $25,000 to fill and $2,000 per year to maintain.

Source: Marketing Manager at Fujitsu

http://scansnapcommu...iling-cabinets/

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I'd like to have seen a cost comparison involving the paperless office equivalent.

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Those are fun statistics, but I really have to take them with a large grain of salt.

I suspect the $2,000/year figure for maintaining a full file cabinet comes mostly from the salary of a file clerk -- perhaps with a tiny pro-rated share of rent/utilities/etc, based on the size of the file cabinet as a fraction of the size of the building. And the key word is "maintain" -- for which I read "constantly fuss with." It seems clear that they're talking about active files, constantly consulted.

Dead storage, a file cabinet in the basement that someone looks in once or twice in five years, would surely be much cheaper to maintain. Salary costs: five minutes per year, maybe. Electricity: a few batteries for a flashlight. Extra a/c, heat, etc might come to dozens of dollars a year, especially if there's a dehumidifier in the room (but you'd have to average that over the total number of file cabinets). Likewise, the cost of the file cabinet itself, amortized over however many years it's in service. Total cost: maybe $100/year, generously.

It's not that I'm against going paperless or in favor of retaining dead files...it's just that my knee-jerk reaction to fun statistics of this sort is skepticism.

I think the decision to go paperless isn't primarily an economic one, but one of convenience.

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I think the decision to go paperless isn't primarily an economic one, but one of convenience.

Personally, I agree with your comments. After posting the message, I sent a request to ScanSnap for a comparison study using ScanSnap equipment in a similar sized operation.

It is hard to bring together common sense with financial accounting.

Over the years, I have had several disagreements discussions with our corporate accountants on the actual cost of our products. I was the Sales & Marketing Manager, so I was responsible for setting the selling price. Even though the product used relatively inexpensive components, and was assembled with a fully-automated machine, I had to factor in the original cost of the multi-million machine, the daily output, the corporate overhead, plus the number of square feet it took up on the manufacturing floor. The final figure was astounding.

Here's a photo of the "Screaming Yellow Zonker" (no longer yellow)

http://www.flickr.co...son2/106176927/

.

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I often have this same argument with people about how absolutely amazing what Jonas Salk did was (give a vaccine that took a crazy amount of research to the population of the planet, for free, forever), and how that's simply not possible today. It can take millions, sometimes billions of dollars of money in research and testing for a corporation to develop innovations, and they simply need to get a return on that investment, so we end up with $400 for a single pill, or $1000 for one toggle switch. (Or $750,000 for one Maserati ;) )

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