Senior Research Executive Digital, Media and Technology

New YouGov research on behalf of ARX Inc. shows that despite increasing pressure to ‘go paperless’, the vast majority of UK businesses still print documents just to get ink-based signatures.

The survey amongst business leaders, which investigates British business practices regarding the use of paper, printing and signatures in the workplace, finds that 84% of UK businesses print documents just to get them signed while 62% print additional copies just for the purpose of obtaining “wet” signatures.

The issue of printing documents just to get them signed is even worse for larger organisations – 89% of medium-sized and 83% of large organisations admit to this. Printing is also greater in some specific market sectors with the worst culprits being the public sector (83%) and financial services (82%).   

Almost three quarters (72%) of UK businesses who print documents say processes are delayed because of the need to collect signatures, with this number rising to 77% of medium-sized businesses and 83% of large organisations. 

Almost a quarter (24%) of large organisations who print documents lose more than one day per transaction just to collect signatures, rising to 31% of large organisations.

ARX’s UK Country Manager, Ronan Lavelle, says: “Of course there can be other reasons for printing out documents, but this research backs up anecdotal evidence that most businesses still print out documents because ink-based signatures are perceived as more secure and legally compliant. This completely undermines paperless office strategies and reduces return-on-investment on document and content management systems that were designed to automate end-to-end paperless processes.”

He continues: “However, an increasing number of organisations are turning to digital signatures, because they help reduce paper-related costs, improve staff efficiency, significantly shorten the signature collection process, ensure document security, and conform to a raft of internationally-recognised legislation, regulations and audit requirements.” 

See the full survey results

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