Today I challenge you to clean up your business files. You know that file cabinet, where you put things that you don’t want ever see again?
Step One: Open the file cabinet drawers. Is there anything that shouldn’t be there? Say an old art project,
Step Two: Is there anything in the file cabinet that is over seven years old? Do you really need it in the current year file? Or is just a convenience? Move it to cold storage or consider if you should dispose of it. Seven years is beyond most audit periods.
Step Three: Any filing cabinets bursting at the seams, while other drawers are half empty? Rebalance the file folders. You should be able to fit a hand between the file folders in historical files.
Step Four: Now that you can see what’s in each file folder; carefully look through each drawer. Is there any paperwork in the incorrect place? Filed incorrectly, no file folder, or in the incorrect file folder?
Step Five: Whew. Go get some lunch or take a break.
Step Six: Are there any labels that need to be replaced? Or is filing cabinet in good physical condition. Replace as needed.
Scanning documents is a great way to cut down on filing cabinet space. However, it can be a pile of work to go back and scan past records. One filing cabinet drawer usually takes an afternoon to scan, for instance. It can drastically cut down on filing space. However, I suggest it only for current files! Unless, you like that sort of thing. Then proceed.
If you are going to scan documents, it’s helpful not to staple them while processing them. All the staples will need to come off during the scanning process. Use clips instead.
Label each document with the function name (ie. AP or AR) the type, Invoice, Company Name, Date paid or billed. If you do those simple naming things, it will be easier to find them later. Doc1, Doc2, Doc3 are not sufficient if you are going to use an electronic filing cabinet.