Wednesday, October 04, 2006

No Need to Start Pixel-Hugging, Yet

Consumption of paper for printing in 2006 was at 29 million short tons, a number similar to the 2000 amount. Among reasons given for a slower conversion to the electronic office than expected include the corporate accounting scandals, such as Enron and WorldCom from earlier in this decade and a sense that users feel more comfortable reading printed copies rather than monitors when it comes to longer documents.
One place where e-transmission has had a real impact is tax preparation--over 50% of tax returns were filed electronically in 2006 vs. less than 4% in 1990. Some CPA firms, including Wisconsin-based Wipfli, ARE consciously trying to develop a paperless office.

For the foreseeable future, I envision electronic documents complementing rather than supplanting paper documents, both for the comfort reasons given here and for comparatively easier recovery in case of a natural disaster a la Katrina.


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