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UK SMEs waste more than £42.2 million per day in revenues looking for documents

Pierre Perrin-Monlouis Dernière mise à jour: 20 octobre 2021

• 92% of managers and directors surveyed waste time searching for paperwork each working day, with 80% losing up to an hour per day
• Less than 1 in 4 companies have a document management system in their company
• A mere 7% of SMEs have a predominantly paperless office
• 80% of managers and directors surveyed waste up to an hour a day looking for documents

Blisworth, 10th July, 2008 – Searching for documents is costing SMEs a staggering £42.2million per day in lost revenue, according to independent research released today. The survey, which was commissioned by Invu and conducted by YouGov, revealed that managers and directors are wasting valuable time trying to locate documents that may have been mis-filed, moved to another location or simply lost, costing businesses dearly. Yet despite this, according to the managers/directors questioned, less than one in four UK SMEs have replaced their paper filing with digital document management, making it no surprise that only 7% of companies operate a predominantly paperless office.

With more than 4.5 million SMEs in the UK, and the survey finding that 80% of managers and directors waste up to one hour (worth £88 on average*) of their time per day looking for documents, it is little wonder that this wasted time is costing businesses £42.2 million. But this is really just the tip of the iceberg, if the number of director and managers in each company is considered; for example, for a company of 120 people with 10 directors and managers, the cost to that business could be up to £4400 per week.

The root cause of this inefficiency is paper; just 7% of SMEs have 91% or more of their documents saved electronically, even though paper documents can easily be lost or mis-filed due to human error. With only 6% of survey respondents stating that their organisation doesn’t have a digital document management system because there’s no point in creating a paperless office, the question of why more companies have not yet taken the plunge and become paperless leaps to the fore, particularly considering the growing need to efficiently store and retrieve documents for compliance and audit purposes.

Spending time on business development was the top response (31%) to the question of what managers and directors would do if they had additional time during their working day. This was followed by completing admin tasks (26%) and going home on time (21%).

“It’s shocking to think that managers and directors in SMEs are wasting valuable time that could be spent developing their business,” commented David Morgan, CEO, Invu. “Document management is now very accessible to even the smallest business. For as little as £1 per day per user this problem can be eradicated.”

George Derbyshire, Chief Executive of The National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA), says, “This research is quite frightening and is an example of how everyday inefficiencies can have a very damaging effect on small businesses. It’s vital to prioritise on a daily basis, but it is also important to take time out from time to time and review your processes and systems to ensure that they are supporting you – not holding you back.”

On the plus side, 23% of respondents have already implemented a digital document management system, with nearly two thirds of SMEs (64%) agreeing that this solution enabled them to look for or search through archive documents more quickly and easily. 16% cited decreasing the amount of storage space paid for as a major benefit, with one in 10 implementing a solution in order to meet regulations, such as the Data Protection Act.

For those SMEs that don’t yet have a document management system, one third were apprehensive about high upfront expenditure; a worry that may be unfounded as it has been shown that ROI can be achieved within six months with this kind of system.

[* value established from survey questions]



Invu [LSE, AIM, Symbol: INVU] develops, markets and sells software (under the brand name of Invu) for the electronic management of all types of information and documents, such as forms, correspondence, literature, faxes, e-mail, technical drawings, electronic files and web pages. Invu targets the small-to-medium size enterprise (‘SME’) market and individual departments of larger organisations with a range of products which the Directors believe strongly adhere to Invu’s brand values of ease of use, high quality and price performance.

Founded in 1997 and based in Northampton, Invu has 68 employees and operates in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, South East Asia, Australia, the United States of America and Nigeria. Invu’s products have been sold to over 4,000 customers, representing more than75,000 licensed users. Invu has a proven reseller business model and has established a network of more than 166 Value Added Resellers, 14 of which are in Benelux.

Invu is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and a member of the Business Application Software Developers Association (BASDA). Its version 5.4 and Series 6 software have been accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). In January 2006 Invu became the first DDM ISV to join SAP’s portfolio and is certified for integration with SAP Business One. In September 2006, the Invu Series 6 product was selected by Sage to be marketed by them into the Professional Adviser market in the UK.

In January 2008, Invu announced a partnership agreement with IRIS, to integrate its Invu technology into the award winning IRIS Practice Management system, extending the IRIS systems’ existing document functionality.

Invu achieved the ISO 9001 compliance, in March 2008. Used by over ¾ million organizations the accreditation sets the standard for quality and management systems, by helping companies to succeed through improved customer satisfaction, staff motivation and continual improvement.

For further information on how Invu can benefit your business, please contact us on +44(0)1604 859893, or email us at [email protected] Alternatively visit our website at

Media contacts:
Sarah-Anne Bray / Laurie Glimmerveen
Wildfire PR
0208 339 4420
[email protected]

Pierre Perrin-Monlouis
Pierre Perrin-Monlouis
Fondateur de Rente et Patrimoine (cabinet de gestion de patrimoine), Pierre Perrin-Monlouis est un analyste et trader pour compte propre. Il vous fait profiter de son expérience en trading grâce à ses analyses financières et décrypte pour vous les actualités des marchés. Son approche globale des marchés combine à la fois l'analyse technique et l'analyse fondamentale sur l'ensemble des marchés : crypto, forex, actions et matières premières.