To get yourself and your business on the right track, follow five steps to make sure papers are easily accessible and easily identifiable. For example, you can make one folder for “Medical Records” and create subfolders within that category by month or year to keep your system orderly and uncluttered. Check out our roundup of the best document management software on the market to decide which specific system is right for your business. Choosing different folder or label colors can also help different types of files to stand out visually, so you can find things more quickly. Creating an onboarding process for your new clients will allow for an easy transition to your business process. A questionnaire for the new client and for when the project ends.
I particularly like having a stack of bins, one for each client, stored away in a locked cabinet to protect my client’s information. I pull out only that client’s paperwork when I work with the client. A good filing system for all your paper types will make your office run more efficiently. Here’s everything you should know about computerized filing systems and how to create one for your business. This list is handy for new staff so they can learn your business’s digital filing structure immediately. While this system can be digital or physical, you most like have references that you use for your business or your career.
What Is a Computerized Filing System?
Get or free book The Best Practices for Digital and Physical Filing Systems for a deep dive into the process of filing systems. Now that we discussed the administrative things in your business, it’s important to discuss a system that would work well for clients. An established system is important whether you have physical or virtual clients. The next section is about establishing a well-organized invoicing system. This system could be through an online service like QuickBooks Online or a version of your Quicken (affiliate) desktop.
- Creating an onboarding process for your new clients will allow for an easy transition to your business process.
- Office filing systems come in all forms, from the simple cabinet drawer, to complex assortments of digital servers.
- However, you still need systems in your computer to be able to retrieve files when you need them.
- Using a spreadsheet app, you can add all this information above to help you get organized.
Using a spreadsheet app, you can add all this information above to help you get organized. Include the app links so you can immediately click through and pay bills without searching for different websites. Start by writing down where all your apps and websites are used to pay bills.
How to Organize Your Bills in a Three-Ring Binder
With online, cloud-based storage systems, and digital transactions replacing cash, paperless may be the new normal. Seth Odam invented the first FreedomFiler in 2001, setting a goal that no one should have to clean out a filing cabinet again. Today FreedomFiler® USA provides self-purging filing systems for Home, Self-Employed, and Business settings. Old documents can be purged when filing the new, without review. Systems are available in multiple filing styles, including 1/5 Tab, 1/3 Tab, and Binders.
Depending on your industry, you may need to keep records to be compliant with state or federal regulations, sometimes for years. Accountants and tax prep businesses need to keep tax returns on record for seven years. Construction companies, medical offices, schools, and more all have hefty record-keeping responsibilities. You may choose to file all your city licenses together for multiple years or all your different licenses from the same year together. Create broad categories such as receipts, invoices and purchase orders, and organize each one further by date or by client.
How to Organize an Office Filing System
If you have to, separate certain files from others so you can keep them near the department or desk(s) of the people who need to access them often. Unless you’re a solopreneur, you’re probably not the only one in your business who will be using your filing system. If you want your system to actually make an impact, you need to make sure that it makes sense to everyone and that it will be easy to maintain once it’s set up. I recently wrote a post about How to Make a Digital Bookkeeping Binder. Feel free to check it out or fill out the form below and pick up the FREE file structure ebook to help you make up your organized digital system.
This term is used to refer disparagingly to an approach to filing in which everything simply goes in the same box until you have time to deal with it. Above all else, be consistent with file naming throughout your organization. While the conventions that work best vary from business to business, it would be challenging if different departments used different naming conventions. Try to use one style across your entire business so everyone and everything is in sync. I hope this post helps you get your small business paperwork systems in place so you will never have to revamp them again.
Choose a Cabinet You Can Grow Into
Small Business Trends is an award-winning online publication for small business owners, entrepreneurs and the people who interact with them. Our mission is to bring you “Small business success … delivered daily.” Usually, these applications have accounts (categories) already set up when you started the app. Check out my post about Simple Tips to Organize Your Start Up’s Invoice Process.
Computerized systems also offer greater options for securing your files and sharing them, making collaboration on shared documents easier for team members. They also make it possible to easily exchange documents with clients — document management statistics even indicate that using e-signatures on digital files can improve close rates. Learn more about the benefits of computerized filing systems below. Broad subject categories will allow you to easily add new files as you grow and will eliminate the need to upgrade or reorganize your filing system regularly. Keeping it simple also will make it easier to integrate your paper and digital files as part of your overall document management system.
Then, each month write on that month the date you paid the bill. If not, the IRS may demand to see the original paper documents during an audit or routine request for documentation. To better serve our visitors, our site collects visitors’ activities on our site. We only use this data for making our content better and more relevant to our visitors. If you wish to opt-out of us collecting your information, please click on this link. Please leave a comment or question below so we can expand this article in the future.
How to Start a Filing System for a Small Business
To begin, understand that there are two types of files you’ll be storing — the ones you create and the ones you collect. Create a system that differentiates these two file types in a way that makes sense, whether that’s marking it in the file name or dictating where the file is stored. Naming your files is a vital part of the filing organization process. Proper and consistent naming makes it simple for anyone in your company to quickly find a document. Once you set up your filing system, make sure your team knows exactly how to file new items or maintain existing files.
A Reference system for your reference pages to look at in the future.
A computerized or electronic filing system organizes and stores your business’s files on a hard drive or network space. This digital system can be software- or internet-based, or a simple folder/file system on a computer. Document management is an important, yet time-consuming, process — especially if you’re not using an electronic system to help you. A computerized filing system can assist with creating, storing, managing and sharing documents and files across your organization. These systems also protect your documents from potential breaches and other security risks. For paper filing systems, documents should be under lock and key, with personnel controls.