Is your small business paperwork important? One word, YES! Your small business paperwork is important! They need to be accessible, at a moment’s notice. The IRS may need them if you were audited. Your accountant may need them if she is doing your taxes. You may need them if you have to reference client information. Having a good filing system in place for all your different types of paper will make your office run more efficiently.
Just like the brain, we need to be able to retrieve information from some type of system. The small business paperwork systems you use depends on you and what works best for you.
First, change your viewpoint on the collecting paper. Consider it to be an important part of your business. Look at it this way, every business has to do what you are doing when it comes to paper. So, grin and bear it. OK?
Each piece of paper should have a system associated with it. Here are seven examples of systems that associate to different pieces of paper.
- A Bill pay system for your bills that need to be paid.
- An Invoicing system for your invoices to the client.
- An Accounting system for your receipts for purchases.
- A Client file system for your client correspondences.
- An Office supply system for your paper and other office supplies.
- A Current projects system for your current client activities.
- An Old projects system for your old (closed) client activities.
- A Reference system for your reference pages to look at in the future.
Here is a “Systems Each Small Business Must Have” image you can share.
If you decide you do not want to store physical paper, that is OK. However, you still need systems in your computer to be able to retrieve files when you need them.
For digital systems, you will need to have your folders organized by the category or type of system, like “Bills paid 2018” would be one folder. “Client files” organized by client name would be another system.
The way to remember these digital folders is to write down the locations on a piece of paper as a reference and post it near your computer. Here are some examples of what to write to remind you of your system:
Where to store this digital file?
To file bills in c:\document\2018billspaid folder
To file receipts in c:\document\2018taxreceipts folder
Whichever system you use, make sure there is a clear path from beginning to end. Each paper should have steps it needs to go through to get to its destination. =) It could be one step or 10 steps, whichever works for you. Write the steps down for either system to remind you of the process. This will help you clear your office of paper piles and make it clearer in your mind where everything is stored. Hopefully, nothing will be lost ever again.
Revisit even more tips and tricks for paper management by clicking here.
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