A Quick Guide To Organizing Your Business’ Documents

Friday, January 22, 2021, 6:00 PM | Leave Comment

When you are a business owner, you have to deal with a lot of paperwork day-in and day-out.

Keeping all of your paperwork organized and stored safely is incredibly important.

You need to be able to find documents at any time.

Whether your work is strictly digital, printed hard copies, or a mix of both, trying to keep everything organized can be difficult.

Importance of Organization in the Workplace

Keeping up with document organization can completely change how your business is run. It can also provide you with the freedom needed to locate and properly archive relevant documentation like digital photos and invoices you’re searching for.

Structure saves you and your employees from unnecessary stress and allows the workday to run more smoothly. There’s a lowered risk of losing data, and if an employee is ever absent for whatever reason, you will be able to find anything that they managed.

Another important reason you need your documents to be properly organized is to help make tax season easier. Being able to present your accountant with all the proper receipts, invoices, and documentation will help to file your business’ taxes much simpler for both of you.

Goals for Creating Your Own Organizational System

When creating an organizational system for your business there are some important goals to strive for.

  • Easy to Implement – Your systems should be simple and easy to implement. You want to ensure anyone can use it, no matter how long your employees have been with you.

  • Easy to Use – Systems that are easy to use are more likely to be used in day-to-day operations, even during your business’ busiest times.

  • Efficient and Reusable – It is also important that your system is reusable and efficient. It can’t take up a lot of time during the day to keep things organized. Create templates and naming conventions that are easy to use and recall that can be reusable for all of your documents.

How to Organize Your Digital Documentation

Digital documentation is incredibly useful. With just a few quick clicks you can recall nearly any document you need, the one problem is that it can get just as cluttered as old-school paperwork.

When you don’t have the proper systems put in place you can easily lose important documents, invoices, and correspondence. Taking the time to put a system into place is crucial to keeping your job running smoothly, saving you both stress and time that could be spent doing more important tasks.

The first step in organizing your digital documentation you need to know where the information is going to be stored. If you have multiple computers and hard drives it’s a good idea to find a cloud storage option that works for your business and provides that safety they need.

Next, it’s important to figure out how your storage system will work. Depending on the type of work your business does you may need to organize by date or by project/category/topic. Many people use a combination of these systems. When deciding what your system will look like, take the time to consider how you would look up a specific file.

  • Use the date system if you would search based on when the work was done.

  • Use the project/category/topic system if you would search based on what the work is related to.

  • If it depends on what you’re actually looking for, use a hybrid system. This works if your job deals with a variety of different types of documents.

Next, take the time to review all of your documents that you’re planning to organize. Search your hard drive and email for all the files you need to organize. And remember- if you don’t need it, delete it. There is absolutely no reason for you to keep unnecessary documents that will clutter up your new system. As you go through everything, create a folder for all the necessary files and put them in there so you don’t lose them.

Once you’ve decluttered everything, set to work on implementing the new systems you created. Move the folders around and create something that is easy for you to follow and explain to your employees and colleagues.

How to Organize Your Hard-Copy Documentation

Nowadays everyone is trying to make the move to digital, but there are some things that just haven’t gotten there quite yet. So how do you keep your hard-copy paperwork organized properly for your business?

  • Create a system similar to the aforementioned digital systems.

  • Invest in file cabinets and purchase file folders and labels to keep things organized in an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow way.

  • Decluttering is crucial when you are dealing with hard-copy documentation. Unnecessary papers can take up unwanted space and make it difficult to find things quickly.

  • As time goes on, remember to remove old paperwork and files that are no longer needed for your business or taxes. Keep them archived in a separate location. You can do this either onsite in a separate filing cabinet or boxed up, or by storing them offsite in a secure location like a storage warehouse.

  • Digitize as much as you possibly can. There may be some documents you don’t need a hard copy of that can be scanned and stored in your digital filing system. This simple step will help minimize your hardcopy files.

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