This is Why Your Business Needs a Better Filing System (Plus a Few Ways to Get Organized)
Do you love filing? Didn’t think so. Filing is one of those tedious tasks that every business owner knows they should do, but that very few actually do.
Do right, that is. It’s one thing to stuff a bunch of papers in a cabinet and call it day, but it’s a whole other thing to do it in a way that actually helps your business. The fact is, if you want your business to be successful, you need to set up a filing system that works.
Your staff will love it: Your employees have better things to do than spend an entire day looking for a single document. Having access to a well-organized filing system will cut down on the frustration and give them more time to focus on what really matters to the business.
Your customers will love it: If a customer needs clarification on an invoice, or wants to know something specific about an order, you’ll be able to give them the information they need in an instant. This kind of organization makes you look professional and ready for business (which you are!).
Your accountant will love it: When your documents are in order, your accountant won’t have as many questions for you and they won’t have to waste time organizing all the information. That saves you both time and money.
The government will love it: Come tax time, you’ll need quick and easy access to your financial records. And if you’re ever faced with an audit, you’ll need all of paperwork in line.
But most of all, you will love it!
With a proper filing system in place, you’ll save time and money, and your business will run more smoothly, In other words, you’ll be one step closer to reaching your long-term business goals. What’s not to like?
Every business is different, so your filing system will be one that works for you, and only you. But there are a few essential filing rules every business needs to follow:
Back it up
Computers fail. Businesses flood. Expect the unexpected!
Backing up your files is one of the most important things you can do. If disaster strikes, you can relax knowing your files—the heart of your business—are safe and sound. You can back up paper files digitally by investing in a scanner, then store everything on your computer either on a secondary hard drive or in the cloud, using an online service.
Once you start backing up on a regular basis, it won’t seem like such a big deal. It’ll just become part of your everyday filing routine.
Create a central “To-File” location
If you don’t have a system in place for paper as it comes into your business, your filing system won’t do you any good. That’s why you need to set up a central place for store papers before they’re filed. Nothing will get lost this way, and it’ll make it easier to file a lot of paperwork in one go (a big time-saver).
Schedule filing time
Filing isn’t fun. There are probably a million things you’d rather do than sort through a mountain of paperwork. But it’s got to be done, and the more you do it, the less painful it’ll be.
That’s why it’s so important to make filing a non-negotiable part of your day. Aim for filing once a day, at the end of the day, so you’ll have a clean start every morning.
Sort files at least once a year
Every year (or even better, every 6 months), go through all of your files and move old documents to an inactive storage box. The CRA requires documents to be retained for six years, and filing is a lot easier when your system isn’t cluttered with unnecessary paperwork. If there are any documents you (or the government) no longer needs, be sure to shred them before you get rid of them.
Reevaluate your system regularly
Your filing system needs to evolve with your business. So, take the time to look it over regularly to make sure it’s still the best fit for your business.
Lost in a sea of paperwork? From bookkeeping and accounting to strategic advice, we’re here to help your business succeed. Ask us how.