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Save a Tree, Pay an Invoice

earth_day2Did you know that April 22 is Earth Day? In honor of the holiday, we wanted to share some food for thought about the real cost of paper checks. Issuing paper checks has a significant impact not just from a cost perspective (although it is quite expensive) but on the environment as well.

Think about the number of checks that just businesses in the U.S. write each year — billions. If we can reduce the amount of paper checks that businesses process, we can save a lot of trees.

The reality is that most companies still follow manual processes and use paper checks to approve and pay invoices, which can add up quickly. Let’s take a look at the math:

According to a 2013 Fed payments study, 8 billion business payments are made by check every year. When you throw in the cost of the check stock, stamps, and envelopes, it adds up to about $1.50 per check. All told, that racks up a $12 billion bill.

Now factor in things like the gas it takes to drive these stamps to their final destination and the energy that processing facilities consume, and you have a pretty good idea of the impact that paper checks could be having on our planet.

Since it’s Earth Day, we’ll stick to the cost of the paper and energy that’s consumed. We’ll talk about the money that’s wasted manually processing invoices some other time — that’s about $75 billion.

Big & Rich may “walk into the room passing out hundred dollar bills” but that doesn’t mean your accounting department has to. In addition to saving some cash, AP and payment automation is also good for the environment. Happy Earth Day!

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