Filing system, be it physical or digital, is a backbone of your business and you need to keep it strong and flexible.
I realize that for most people filing is not fun at all, but it doesn't have to be painful. There is a few things to remember when setting up a filing system.
Keep Your Active and Reference Files Close
If your files are at arm's reach you're more likely to file the piece of paper away than to stack it on your desk. Keep the files you need to access on a daily basis on your desk in a file sorter of hanging files holder. Files that you access frequently, but not on a daily basis, can go to your desk file drawer.
Choose File Names that Mean Something to You
People often stay away from setting up a filing system, because they don't know which file name to choose. Go with the first name that pops into your head. I might file papers related to my car under "A" for automobile, someone else will file them under "V" for vehicle and you might file them under "H" for Honda, if that's the car you happen to have. The file names have to make sense to you or whomever will be using the system.
Date Your Files and Folders
It is a good habit to date your files and folders.
- Include the year if the files are tax related in any way (bank statements, invoices, receipts)
- Add an expiry date for Associations or Loyalty Club memberships
- For digital files, add the date the file was created to make sure you always know which version is the most current one
It's Important to Start Somewhere
You might be afraid of setting up a filing system because you think it won't be perfect or that you will miss something. Break that fear, you need to start somewhere. Your business will be growing and evolving, and your filing system will change with it. Set up a simple filing system with broad categories and make changes as you need.